Linear Economy to Circular Economy: Planned Obsolescence to Cradle-to-Cradle Product Perspective

Linear Economy to Circular Economy: Planned Obsolescence to Cradle-to-Cradle Product Perspective

Pınar Özkan, Ezgi Karataş Yücel
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5116-5.ch004
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The reflections of linear and circular economy models, which are completely separated from each other in the ways of evaluating resources and wastes, also differ completely in the production and consumption processes. The linear economy, which consists of production and consumption mechanisms, converts resources into waste after using one time and is supported by planned obsolescence practices and causes economic and environmental damages. The scarcity of resources and the pressure of environmental pollution have led to an industrial transformation in which production and consumption forms redesigned in a way that does not create waste. Because of this transformation, the circular economy model emerged, and its application direction evolved to cradle-to-cradle practices. In this study, firstly, the linear economy model and planned obsolescence are discussed, and then circular economy and cradle-to-cradle applications are explained with examples.
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In the economic systems consisting of consumption and production, the interaction between economy and environment takes place in terms of the use of resources, the way of disposal/utilization of wastes, the increase of population and consumption and the globalized consumption patterns. The management process and style of the economy change the environment, in return environmental characteristics steer the economy and lead it to success.

There are two different approaches in the economy that are completely separated from each other in the way they utilize resources and waste; linear economy and circular economy. Linear economic model starting with the industrial revolution consists of production and consumption mechanisms in which resources are returned into waste after a single-use. Those mechanisms ignore the environment and have to return processes. Due to the unidirectional flow and eventual depletion of resources, this structure has been considered to be linear. On the other hand, the circular economy model has realized the harm caused by the linear economy to the environment and refers to the mechanisms that focus on sustainability, redesigning the production processes and consumption patterns in a way that does not create waste and enables the continuous use of resources. In these models which have completely opposite points of view, this difference is clearly visible in the supply and production processes and strategies of the enterprises.

In the linear economy that continued throughout the 20th century, the operating activities in accordance with this economic model and, most especially, the marketing activities and practices caused economic, social and environmental devastation. This situation underlined the importance of business and marketing practices in achieving sustainability. Based on this fact, in this study firstly, “planned obsolescence strategy” which is among the marketing practices of the business manner imposed by the linear economic model and which is widely used product strategy, will be examined. Then, information about the circular economy model which aims to prevent ecocide and the product strategy, namely “cradle-to-cradle”, applied by this model, will be given.

Key Terms in this Chapter

R’s of Cradle to Cradle: A framework consisting of abbreviations of fields of activities of cradle to cradle applications that are starting with the letter R and called as how-to's of Cradle to Cradle.

Life Cycle Analysis: A concept used in environmental management and assumes that products have a beginning and end of life where the impacts of them on environment can be recorded.

Cradle to Cradle: A business strategy based on the idea of using biodegradable parts of a finished product as biodegradable and using non-soluble as technical nutrient as raw material to produce the same product or another product, thus obtaining endless use.

Take-Make-Dispose Model: A linear model of resource consumption that harvest and extract materials, use them to manufacture a product, and sell the product to a consumer, who then discards it as a waste.

Circular Economy: An economic model in which every waste generated in a production system is re-evaluated so that the cost of raw materials is kept at minimum and resource efficiency and environmental benefits at maximum.

Linear Economy Model: An economic model that can be defined taking resources from nature to make things, use them for a short time and when the end of the life cycle of a product is achieved, it is disposed and considered a waste that is without any concern to the pollution.

Planned Obsolescence: A business strategy that can be defined as planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so that instilling the desire in a buyer to own something a little better, a little sooner than is necessary in order to stimulate repetitive consumption.

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