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Circular Economy Indicators and their relationship to Life Cycle Assessment: a Literature Review

CSS Publication Number
CSS20-25
Full Publication Date
August 11, 2020
Abstract

The promotion of circular economy activities presents a much-needed focus for engaging long-established industrial ecology principles. The goals of decoupling economic growth from natural resource consumption, reducing material inputs, and minimizing waste generation are necessary tenets of a sustainable future. This feature presents a set of observations that characterize the foundations of circular economy and its unique opportunities and challenges for advancing sustainability. Circularity – through closing material loops and extending product lifetimes – does not inherently equate to reductions in environmental impacts, however, and system-level assessment tools are required to support existing circular economy metrics and more comprehensively evaluate sustainability performance. Here, we also emphasize the need to explicitly include a transition to renewable energy in circular economy goals. Assessment of increasingly interconnected systems represents a new research frontier that must also strive to balance assessment capability with design and decision-making utility.

Research Areas
Materials
Urban Systems and Built Environment
Publication Type
Report
Full Citation
Heller, Martin C., and Gregory A. Keoleian. (2020) “Circular Economy Indicators and their relationship to Life Cycle Assessment: a Literature Review.” CSS Report (INTERNAL to Argonne National Lab), University of Michigan: Ann Arbor: 1-XX.