A wider circle?

There is growing optimism about the potential of the ‘circular economy’ (CE) as a new model for sustainable growth in developing countries. A CE is one in which products are recycled, repaired or reused rather than thrown away, and in which waste from one process becomes an input into other processes. In recent months there has been CE-related activity in countries as diverse as Laos, Rwanda and Colombia. A CE strategy could help lower-income countries ‘leapfrog’ to a more sustainable development pathway that avoids locking in resource-intensive practices and infrastructure. But a stronger evidence base is needed to show how the agenda can deliver opportunities for industrialization, as well as addressing environmental insecurity.

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