ENVR E-158B: Introduction to the Circular Economy

Semester: 

Spring
  • Professor: Carrie Snyder
  • Term: Spring
  • Days: Th
  • Time: 7:20-9:20
  • School: Harvard Extension School
  • Course ID: 24785

Today, economic growth is primarily contingent on increased resource consumption. In this linear economic approach, organizations harvest or extract materials, use them to create products, and then sell those products to consumers who generally incinerate or send to landfill the materials that no longer serve their original purpose. As the population grows and the negative environmental impact of resource extraction continues, this "take, make, waste" model is quickly reaching its limits. The circular economy, by contrast, is one that is "restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times" (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2013). The circular economy philosophy is an emerging field of study, promoting a systemic, cross-disciplinary approach. This course explores how these various disciplines come together to promote a sustainable economic model.