Schools of Thought

The circular economy concept has deep-rooted origins and cannot be traced back to one single date or author. Its practical applications to modern economic systems and industrial processes, however, have gained momentum since the late 1970s, led by a small number of academics, thought-leaders and businesses.

The generic concept has been refined and developed by the following schools of thought:

Regenerative Design

In the US, John T. Lyle started developing ideas on regenerative design that could be applied to all systems, i.e., beyond agriculture, for which the concept of regeneration had already been formulated earlier. Arguably, he laid the foundations of the circular economy framework, which notably developed and gained notoriety thanks to McDonough (who had studied with Lyle), Braungart and Stahel. Today, the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies offers courses on the subject.