Sustainability refers to optimum utilization of resources without compromising the needs of future generations; for example, use of renewable energy instead of a non-renewable source of energy. Recycling has a linear sense in a way that the focus is on recycling or managing waste at the end of linear cycle of the product. Circularity refers to the degree of effectiveness of a concept, product or service towards their progress from linear to circular trajectory; for example, manufacturing a product with waste as raw material with technological intervention. The practice of circularity is focuses on human intervention designed to support the conversion of raw materials into useful products. The intentional design of a system is what separates transition from sustainability to circularity wherein, circularity clearly defines a path on how to manage such a transition.
Resource efficiency is maximization of resource utilization with minimum cost and least possible wastage. The recent high economic growth along with consumerism has driven demand for various natural resources exerting pressures on our natural environment. Enhancing resource efficiency and promoting the use of secondary raw materials has emerged as a strategy for ensuring the potential trade-off between growth and environmental well-being. Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy uses the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle, refurbish, redesign and re-manufacture in order to minimize resource use and adverse impacts.
As per the draft of National Resource Efficiency Policy, 2019; Life cycle of any product covers all stages including raw material extraction, material processing, production, use and maintenance, disposal and end-of-life management. The Policy instruments for implementing resource efficiency at different life cycle stages are illustrated below (Source: NREP Draft, 2019).
NREP, 2019 aims to implement resource efficiency across all resources including both biotic and abiotic resources, sectors and life cycle stages. The policy draws inputs from available sectoral studies and initiates sections on selected sectors for early take-up. With formal establishment of NREA and expected participation of line ministries to grow, more resources including biotic resources in future.