Circles of Sustainability Approach

A method for understanding and assessing sustainability.

Circular design

Finding ways to reduce and eliminate waste and pollution and keeping products and materials in use rather than throwing them away.

Circular economy

A model of production and consumption which maintains the use of materials and products for as long as possible by reuse, repair and recycling.

Circular inflow

In a circular system, either renewable inflows that are used at a rate in line with natural cycles of renewability or non-virgin inflows.

Circular outflow

In a circular system, outflows that are designed and treated in a manner that ensures products and materials have a full recovery potential and extend their economic lifetime after their technical lifetime, and are demonstrably recovered.

Closed-loop system

The type of production system used in a Circular Economy.


A sustainability framework integrating design and science that eliminates the concept of waste.

Cradle-to-Gate Inventory

A partial life cycle of an intermediate product, from material acquisition through to when the product leaves the organisation’s gate.


A sustainability framework that considers a product’s impact throughout its lifespan as opposed to that of single use.

Design for Assembly and Disassembly

The practice of designing products in a way that will make them easy to assemble and disassemble.

Design for Environment

A design approach that aims to reduce and improve the impact of products and services on human health and environmental stability.

Design for Manufacturing

The practice of designing products in a way that will make them easy and cost-effective to manufacture.

Design for Sustainability

A design approach that aims to prioritise energy and resource conservation and minimise negative environmental impact.

Energy Recovery

The act of converting waste material (usually non- recyclable material) into usable heat, electricity, or fuel energy, usually via combustion or burning.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

A policy implemented by governments that places financial and/or physical responsibility on the producers of goods and products for the treatment and disposal of post-consumer waste.

Feedback Loop

Factors which increase or amplify (positive feedback) or decrease (negative feedback) the rate of a process.

Gate to Gate

A narrow Life Cycle Assessment, focusing on only one phase of the production process.

Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDSM)

A movement to empower destinations with the mindsets, strategies, and skill sets to create regenerative places to visit, meet, and live in.

Green chemistry

A chemical product design methodology that reduces waste, conserves energy, prevents pollution and reduces the negative environmental impacts of chemicals on the environment.

Industrial Ecology

A discipline that aims to study and reduce the negative environmental impacts of industry.

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