The biological cycle of the butterfly diagram
This page will explain some of the concepts described in the biological cycle of the butterfly...
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Find out more about each side of the butterfly diagram – the biological cycle and the technical cycle. These pages focus on the different stages of the two cycles and explain the concepts used.
The circular economy system diagram, known as the butterfly diagram, illustrates the continuous flow of materials in a circular economyA systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. It is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature.. There are two main cycles – the technical cycleThe processes that products and materials flow through in order to maintain their highest possible value at all times. Materials suitable for these processes are those that are not consumed during use - such as metals, plastics and wood. and the biological cycleThe processes - such as composting and anaerobic digestion - that together help to regenerate natural capital. The only materials suitable for these processes are those that can be safely returned to the biosphere.. In the technical cycle, products and materials are kept in circulation through processes such as reuseThe repeated use of a product or component for its intended purpose without significant modification., repair, remanufactureRe-engineer products and components to as-new condition with the same, or improved, level of performance as a newly manufactured one. and recycling. In the biological cycle, the nutrients from biodegradable materials are returned to the Earth to regenerate nature.
A circular economy eliminates waste, circulates products and materials, and regenerates nature.
Our curated collection of case studies presents circular economy success stories from around the...
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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. We develop and promote the idea of a circular economy, and work with business, academia, policymakers, and institutions to mobilise systems solutions at scale, globally.
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