Circular Economy Framework


The circular economy is an approach to maximize value and eliminate waste by improving (and in some cases transforming) how goods and services are designed, manufactured and used. It touches on everything from material selection to business strategy to the configuration of regulatory frameworks, incentives and markets.

CEL’s Circular Economy Framework diagram presents a high-level map of how products and materials move through a circular economy. It is divided into three parts:

  1. The inner circles present the key stages in the lifecycle or value chain of paper and packaging products;
  2. The green loops present the various pathways for closing the cycle after first consumption or use; and
  3. The outer circle presents the broader market and policy context that shapes decision-making within the system (Product research, design and development; Purchasing, standards and certification; Sustainable consumption and demand-side management; and materials and resource management).

Additional information on CEL’s Framework is provided in the Rapid Lab Vision for Printed Paper and Packaging. For a more in-depth and technical approach, check out the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy System Diagram and related materials.