The structure of the Handbook
This Handbook presents a variety of perspectives, views, case studies, and initiatives. We do not seek to take sides or to state that any one perspective is ‘better.’ Indeed, it is for you, the reader, to come to your own (hopefully more informed) conclusions based on what is presented.
It covers a range of views, sectors, and geographies. An introduction sets out the rationale, aims, and structure of the Handbook. It is organised into seven interrelated parts. Part I introduces the context, including the growth in materialism, resource consumption, and waste in Chapters 2 and 3. Socioeconomic and health risk factors and the Sustainable Development Goals are discussed in Chapters 4—7. And Chapters 8—10 call for a shift towards more sustainable and circular approaches. Part II then discusses some of the interpretations of the concept of circularity, including design tools and modularity in Chapters 11—13, and ends with critiques of the use of ‘systems approaches’in Chapters 14 and 15. The challenges of and dichotomies in the interpretation and implementation of the concept are highlighted in these initial chapters. Indeed, these issues form an underlying theme in several of the case study chapters in the final four sections of the handbook. Part III provides a brief evaluation of the policy and legislative context for a more circular approach. For example, challenges around the development and implementation of circularity within policies and trade agreements are discussed in Chapters 16—18, while Chapter 19 provides some international perspectives. Part IV is concerned with analysing how the circularity concept has been used to develop a ‘sharing economy’ in both the Global North (e.g., Chapters 20-22) and the Global South (Chapter 23), for example, within the informal sector (e.g.. Chapters 24 and 25). The discussion covers resources such as food and energy. Part V provides examples of recycling that are being employed in different sectors, primarily from Europe (Chapters 26—28) and Africa (Chapters 29 and 30). Part VI outlines case studies of the utilisation of reuse in Europe (Chapters 31—33) and India (Chapter 34). Finally, Part VII explores the use of technologies for circularity, for example, the use of energy and fourth industrial technologies (Chapters 35—37), and ends with the downstream implications of the use of technologies (Chapters 38 and 39). Chapter 40 provides an overall conclusion for the Handbook.
With global consumption trends rising to unsustainable levels, and the impacts this is having on the environment, health, and economies, the utilisation of the concept of a CE offers a mechanism to address these issues. Using a number of views and case studies from both the Global
South and Global North, this Handbook explores the contextual, policy, legislative, logistical, and behavioural issues faced in the effective utilisation of the concept. Without action, the impacts will be catastrophic. However, in the next ten years, key international milestones in global climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals, and agreements on environmental protection offer a unique opportunity. It is an opportunity that must be seized to integrate the CE concept into existing global political policies and agendas and individual practices to catalyse real change.