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