The Obstacles in Executing Circular Economy

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There’s a new term spreading around in the market, facing a few difficulties in its implementation.

The Ellen McArthur Foundation coined the term ‘Circular Economy.’ It was established in 2009 to regulate waste management and reflect its effects on the economy. Moreover, this foundation works in harmony with policymakers, academia, and businessmen to oversee the implementation of this concept globally.

Bring about a change isn’t limited to education and introduction. It requires all the stakeholders to come together and execute the necessary plans. However, like any idea that propagates sustainability, implementing circularity in an economy comes with obstacles.

According to the World Resources Institute, there are five challenges that you must speculate about while adopting economic circularity:

1. Disruption of Consumer Convenience 

One of the most typical examples of this obstacle is the use of disposable plastic. Due to the flexibility and impermeability of plastic, it isn’t easy to resort to an eco-friendly alternative.

For instance, when a mineral water manufacturer wishes to abandon plastic packaging. They might want to shift over to paper cartons. Although lightweight, they can easily break upon coming in contact with a liquid solution. On the other hand, resorting to elegant glass bottles ensures impermeability but falls short of keeping larger variants lightweight. 

As a result, for every benefit of plastic that manufacturers are willing to get rid of, there’s a risk that the consumer might find it too inconvenient. 

To tackle this issue, it’s necessary to conduct proper market research and educate consumers and manufacturers. 

2. Contradictory Local Regulations

Although the idea of economic circularity was introduced around 2009, it hit the Asian market in the late 2010s. 

Since 2016, the Green Foundation has held annual forums to discuss the ideas of circularity. The discussion revolves around topics such as the required prohibition of the producers from dumping waste in landfills and the need for a new environment-friendly business model. However, these revolutions can’t occur without the support of the government.

3. Inadequate Infrastructure 

Regulations are ineffective without the adequate facilities and human resources to execute them. These resources typically include energy, time, and money.

According to statistics, China is the largest producer of the world’s total plastic. If it doesn’t ensure the availability of an adequate number of treatment facilities that render the materials reusable, the plastic will be dumped in landfills or seas.

4. Lack of Recycling Technology

A few materials, including textiles and milk and juice-containing beverage cartons, require higher recycling technology. An option is to replace artificial textiles with natural cotton and beverage cartons with glass or metallic packaging. Nevertheless, it’s a temporary measure.

To oversee the success of circularity in an economy, industries need technologies that can recycle these materials. Additionally, they need this technology in adequate numbers to prevent a shortage.

5. Ineffective Business Model

Upon considering all the aforementioned obstacles, the need for a better business plan becomes more concrete. Nevertheless, creating and implementing a new business model from scratch has its own challenges. 

A few might wish to take the proper measures from the very beginning, while the rest have to rebuild by tearing the pre-existing systems.


The most vital step in the journey of accelerating the adoption of a circular economy is teaming up with the stakeholders. Whether it’s a new source of inexhaustible energy, effective waste management programs, or a better network to spread awareness, collaboration can register a crucial step towards circularity.


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