The COVID-19 outbreak has created critical challenges for humanity, the world economy and global trade with its many aspects. Before the outbreak, digitalization, climate change, green growth and green energy were all prominent "megatrends" that have marked the last 20 years both globally and economically.
It would not be wrong to place the "circular economy" among these main elements as another megatrend. This is because the pandemic's consequences and the struggle to cope with them – the solutions and approaches – directly require a circular economy.
The "absolute superiority approach" of the last 250 years – which was led by Scottish social philosopher and political economist Adam Smith in the economic literature and now one of the most accepted "comparative superiority approach" led by famous British economist David Ricardo – were both seriously tested.
In the face of a huge global crisis brought on by the outbreak, countries have once again realized that they are unlikely to fulfill their basic economic needs such as raw materials, intermediate products, final products or energy to the extent they want regardless of the approach they adopt.
This global situation and facts have all increased the value of the circular economy again.
When the pandemic begins to lose its hold on the world amid an effective vaccination process, the climate change issue, which was at the top of the global agenda until the pandemic, will support the onset of a circular economy.
The global conditions we face require all kinds of products for the needs of the 8 billion world population to be sustainable, to leave zero or very little waste behind, to be produced with a very low carbon footprint. To accomplish this aim every component of products and materials we design and manufacture should be recyclable so it can enter back into the global economic system.
The success of this process, starting with the economies, depends on the world's ability to create a wide-ranging awareness on the country, regional and global scale, among producers, intermediaries of trade and consumers.
The design, production and consumption of the products based on the basic principles of circular economy undoubtedly deserve all kinds of support from governments – especially via taxes and public and private sector funds – for investment and development in the field.
In this regard, the priorities for the circular economy are:
Within this scope, it is vital to actualize the new-generation recycling method that can minimize all kinds of waste. A pattern needs to be established in all spheres of life, from business to work spaces. Infrastructures and superstructures of cities should be designed in line with the circular economy. To sum up, the circular economy must a part of daily life. This is more than significant for the future of the global economy.
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