Content of this unit
Identifying resources
A circular product or service, as any other “linear” one, and the business that goes with it, needs a specific set of resources (i.e. raw materials, labour, energy, etc.) to be manufactured and/or provided to the customer. There is already a lot of information available on how to identify and assess which resources you need, as such in this section we will only address those aspects which are different for the circular product or service. If you want to know more about identifying resources for your business idea, please check out the additional materials. You can also search for clusters or associations related to circular economy or business in your area, they can also support you in this venture.

Be aware that when you think about the resources and materials needed for the manufacturing of your product or the provision of your service, you need to bear in mind that they can only be considered circular or adhering to the principles of circularity if the materials used to make them or the resources used to provide them to your customers align with these principles. This comes with a cost.

If you are thinking of turning an existing product into a circular product, to be able to assess the extra resources, you need to calculate the difference with respect to:

  • Materials – you need to compare the material intensity of the existing non-circular version, with the intensity of the circular version. Different forms of circular options (e.g.  reuse, refurbishing, remanufacturing, recycling) will require different material intensity.
  • Labour – you need to compare the labour needed to make the circular loop (to refurbish, remanufacture, recycle, or otherwise reuse the product) with the current required labour.
  • Energy - the difference in energy required to make a new product versus a circular product.
  • Carbon emissions – the carbon footprint of the manufacturing of a new product against the one needed to make the circular loop.