Abstract

Circular economy aims to address limited resources through the continuous circulation of materials and energy. Recirculating low quality materials for reuse is a sustainability goal that is analogous to the primary function of Nature’s detritus species, a keystone for the proper functioning of ecosystems. Prior applications of ecosystem structure to human network design uncovered that even the most economically successful networks of industries demonstrate a lack of analogous detritus actors in the form of reuse and recycling. The recycling industry’s volatile nature, dependency on international factors, and financial difficulties prevent this strategy from becoming an efficient alternative. Creativity in design, inspired by ecosystems, is proposed here as a method to repurpose manufacturing byproducts that are otherwise seen as low quality waste materials. Realizing the reuse potential of these materials can create detrital-type feedback loops, an attribute that supports the characteristic resilience and efficiency of ecosystems. The work here analyzes existing methods of pursuing circular economy and investigates the potential benefits generated by purposefully adding connects that create detrital-feedback-loops at the consumer and producer levels.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.