Businesses can maximise value from the resources they already own by turning waste into wealth, and circulating products and materials in closed loops, first smaller (reuse), then larger (recycling). Hence the name – circular economy – for a new economic model that benefits businesses and citizens, while also regenerating natural resources so that this win-win-win cycle can be sustained.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the key enabler: IoT and circular economy are both about a complete system reinvention, and they are both about smart, informed management of assets. Pioneer companies used circular design already before the digital era but now with the use of IoT technology the game changes entirely: it creates the data- and feedback-rich systems that allow circular designs and business models to thrive.
DG CONNECT has expertise on the technologies to make circular manufacturing and recycling "Internet-ready". The special role that DG CONNECT can play in EU circular economy policy is based on our understanding of the central role of information flows in enabling the material flows throughout the economy. What is new – and proposed here – is to look beyond the narrow sectoral solution. The systemic "closed-loop" thinking, as a new idea, has to be integrated into the mainstream IoT understanding of the entire IoT value chain.
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