Canada united in the achievement of zero waste, now and for future generations

Circular Economy Working Group

Positioning Canada as a leader by encouraging the wider adoption of circular approaches

The circular economy is an alternative to the predominant linear “take-make-dispose” economy of production and consumption – a system that relies on the availability of large quantities of relatively cheap materials and inputs in the production of goods and services, and that produces significant volumes of waste. Regenerative by design, the circular economy keeps products, components and materials at their highest utility and value, at all times. In practice this translates into:

  • preventing waste through new and innovative business models or through improved design – either for disassembly or for longevity;
  • maximizing the continuation of a product’s life through enhanced re-use, repair or remanufacture; and
  • improving end of life processing and resource recovery.

Unlocking value with benefits for businesses and communities

The circular economy is an opportunity for businesses and communities to more effectively compete in a resource constrained world and provides a systems-based approach to addressing waste in our economy. For example, by designing products and systems which can re-enter the biosphere or re-circulate into industrial production it is possible to reduce waste and resource dependency while creating new value and driving innovation.

The National Zero Waste Council Circular Economy Working is encouraging the broad adoption of circular economic approaches in Canada and supports knowledge sharing through webinars and other avenues. In 2015 the Working Group produced a series of case studies demonstrating the business and environmental benefits associated with five key circular business models identified by Accenture.


Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    • Brock MacDonald, Executive Director, RCBC (Co-lead)
    • Christina Seidel, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Alberta (Co-lead)
    • Meegan Armstrong, Acting Director, Waste Prevention, Environmental Standards Branch, BC Ministry of Environment
    • Ken Ingram Director of Technical and Environmental Services, West Coast Reduction
    • Fred Rabiner, Regional Vice-President, Shaw Industries Group Inc.    
    • Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario
    • Allison Boulton, International Trade Advisor, Small Business BC
    • Maury McCausland, Retail Operations Sustainability Specialist, London Drugs
    • Matthew Pattinson, National Account Manager, Recycling Alternative
    • Tony Shumpert, VP of Recycling and Reuse, Value Village
    • Elena Papakosta, Environmental Compliance Manager, Canada, Dell Inc.            


Circular Economy Business Toolkit 

This Toolkit is a practical, how-to guide for businesses wishing to tap into the fast-emerging circular economy.

Version française

 News release, July 15, 2016