Characteristics of a circular economy

3.4.5 Thinking in cascades

In biology, materials have an opportunity to extract values in various parts of the material’s cycle. For example, a tree that is cleared to make space for agriculture and then disposed of by burning forgoes several stages of value creation. There could be value from the trees’ decomposition (as nutrients to the soil), or its use as timber or timber by-products, prior to decay and incineration.

By applying material recovery, refurbishment, and upcycling processes, the values of materials could be maximized.

Source: Kenneth Mikkelson (2014)
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