Ellen Macarthur Foundation


Getting started with the circular economy


Since its inception in 2010, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been working in education to inspire a generation to re-think, re-design and build a positive future through the vision of a circular economy. The primary focus of our work with schools has been in resource development, we have worked with teachers, subject associations and education professionals to bring a range of teaching resources focused on the circular economy. Having developed, piloted and published these resources we are now moving into a dissemination phase through our Development/ Field Officer programme.

These resources provide teachers with ready-to-go classroom activities, case studies, lesson plans and illustrations. They aim to inspire the next generation of designers, scientists, architects and economists alike to realise the potential of the circular economy. The resources are STEM-focused and maintain a interdisciplinary approach to learning.

System Reset

This publication includes an overview of design in the circular economy, including an exploration of how pioneers have rethought design and why it has needed rethinking. It considers some common misconceptions regarding circular economy thinking, includes a glossary of terminology and a section highlighting the various schools of thought.

Offering examples in practice, companies that have adopted aspects of circular economy thinking are listed, along with explanations of what they are doing now and how they are doing it.

System Reset: Design and Technology for a circular economy – Teachers’ Guide has been created to offer teachers a comprehensive overview and guide to accompany the classroom activities that have been created to develop students’ understanding of the circular economy. Most importantly, the guide introduces the Design and Technology teaching activities and explains how they can be used and adapted.

Click here to visit the Teachers’ Guide

Made to be Made Again

These materials have been produced to support teaching and learning in chemistry classes for the 14-19 age range.
Made to Be Made Again includes:

  • A fast track teacher introduction to the circular economy.
  • Guidance notes on how the materials can be used in initial teacher training.
    These resources will link to the revised teaching standards for England.
  • Two pairs of lessons aimed at the 14-16 age range and the 16-19 age range.
  • Supporting notes, resources and comprehensive lesson plans. Each lesson plan is linked to appropriate specification or National Curriculum points.

Click here to visit the Teachers’ Guide

The Future of Energy

In conjunction with National Grid, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has developed a rich media resource to complement a number of our curriculum projects. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) within the context of a circular economy, the collection is designed for use in:

  • Integrated STEM and/or standalone maths, science and technology at age 11-14.
  • Level 2 science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as any new qualifications built around the circular economy
  • Level 3 physics, chemistry, engineering, design and technology and business studies
  • Selected Higher Education courses (mainly engineering)

Click here to view this resource

Reinventing Progress

These materials have been commissioned by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in order to support and stimulate EPQ students who are interested in exploring what might broadly be described as Development – for example, questions relating to natural resources, industry, design, and economics, and to decisions that must be made concerning the future.

Click here to view this resource

Education News

Re-thinking Progress, save the date: ...
12th January 2015 – The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is pleased to reveal the dates for our second Re-thinkin...
Schmidt-MacArthur Summer School 2014:...
1st July 2014 – Day 5 marked the last day of the Summer School and the time when Fellows would present ...
Schmidt-MacArthur Summer School 2014:...
27th June 2014 – Sessions included: Ask Ellen, learning from nature with Michael Pawlyn and discussing h...
Schmidt-MacArthur Summer School 2014:...
26th June 2014 – Fellows and Mentors travelled to London for the Circular Economy 100 Annual Summit.

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Resource downloads

Film clips, publications, colour graphics, presentations…raw material for a range of educational activities.


Global Partners of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Circular Economy 100 Members