According to WRAP UK (Waste and Resource Action Programme), a “circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.”
Source: WRAP UK
These two youtube videos present the concept in a really neat way. In the second video, Prof. Peter Hopkins from Bradford University which is one of the centres of excellence in circular business matters offers more fine details and innovative examples in the first half of the webinar.
Sharing / collaborative economy
According to a paper released in 2013 by the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders,
” The sharing economy is complementary to the circular economy. The circular economy refers to an industrial economy that is, by design or intention, restorative and which focuses on cradle-to-cradle principles and materials sustainability. Resources are used to enable high-quality design without contaminating the biosphere. Both the sharing economy and the circular economy focus on efficient and sustainable resource use by individuals, companies, and governments.”
The wikipedia page
on the sharing / collaborative economy states that the “sharing economy (also known as shareconomy or collaborative consumption) refers to peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services (coordinated through community-based online services). Sharing economy can take a variety of forms, including using information technology to provide individuals, corporations, non-profits and governments with information that enables the optimization of resources through the redistribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services. A common premise is that when information about goods is shared (typically via an online marketplace), the value of those goods may increase for the business, for individuals, for the community and for society in general.
Here’s nice TEDx video by an “environmentalist, entrepreneur and a little bit of a dreamer” on the collaborative economy, touching on community businesses such as co-operatives: