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Your school as a circular economy

Schools as a Circular Economy

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Quick Facts: Did you know?


  • Our Linear Economy model flows in one direction and has created the global environment we live in, leading to depleting our planetary resources. This is no longer sustainable. 

  • The Linear Economy is based on - Production to consumption involving “Taking – Making – Using - Disposing”

  • Factory inputs come from natural resources, get processed into goods/products which are purchased and then discarded. Some items like plastic products are often disposed of after single use.

  • The Reuse Economy encourages us to recycle but we don’t always know how this is done or whether it continues to be dumped in landfills, waterways or in other countries for processing

  • Since natural resources are irreplaceable, industry, policy makers and consumers need urgent alternatives. The Circular Economy model promotes the following approach from production to consumption:

  • Reducing – Reusing – Recycling - Recovering materials

  • World economies need to move from Extraction to regeneration of the Earth’s resources and towards a Circular Economy. 

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What you can do as a school


  • Find out more and contribute to the Circular Economy in your school and community

  • The purpose of Circular Economy is to maximize the use and reuse of products and services that are already in use

  • Think before you make a purchase. Research the company you're buying from. You won't get it right each time, but make a start

  • Does the product have green credentials? Does the product have a long shelf-life? Is it responsibly sourced, recyclable, and reusable?

  • Check how the waste disposal companies are recycling your general waste, food waste, and electronic waste from your school

  • Ask how they are extracting and reusing valuable resources from waste and going zero waste

  • Use the 9R framework to check how your classroom and school can incorporate actions towards going zero waste, zero carbon and being part of circular economy

  • School spending decisions to purchase sustainably make a difference

Teaching and Learning resources about the Circular Economy


The Circular Classroom – a European initiative for older students to learn about systems thinking, sustainability creative thinking and innovation skills with the circular classroom tool kit.


Ellen Macarthur Foundation on circular economy

Changing Consumer habits


We all make choices about how we buy and consume things.  We are caught up with buying things think we need to make us feel better, but we end up throwing them away. This is having an impact on our planet.  Do we really need these things? What value do they fulfill?


Take a look at Global Action Plan to tackle excessive consumerism, stop the waste and improve our wellbeing. Check out the post – consumerism movement.

Find more learning resources and videos about applying Circular Economy, new innovations, creating Eco Cities and becoming net zero and limit our waste

Green growth and transitioning to a Circular Economy

Learn how the Circular Economy interlinks with production of goods and recovery of materials to reduce waste and zero carbon emissions. Study ways to integrate circular economy into the classroom.



This Changes Everything A free study guide accompanying the film and book by Naomi Klien. Aimed at older learners to look at how the global economy impacts the climate

Find out more information on Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) here


More learning resources - use the 9 R Framework to see how you can apply principles of Circular of Economy in your schools and classroom

Green Growth for the future is based on Environmental, Social and Governance indicators.

It encompasses the sustainability changes that are happening now; environmental economics, sustainable consumption, circular economies, recycling, use of resources, the environmental cost, social enterprises, and ethical practices.

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