Resource Title

Microsite: Introduction to the Circular Economy


The website uses a combination of tools from videos and short blog entries to guide users through the basics of the circular economy and how it is already being used in our world today. This resource is good for teachers and individuals looking to learn more about the circular economy.

Resource Details


Our current economic model is one of limitless growth and consumption. Endless growth comes at a cost to our planet by the destruction of biodiversity and pollution to our water and atmosphere.

Like most injustices, the effects of consumer culture are not proportionate. Countries in the global south are continually exploited for their natural resources and cheap labour; while also being used as a dumping ground for more prosperous countries’ excess waste. The circular economy is set to disrupt this system of unsustainability and equality by changing how we think about production.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundations Circular Economy introduction is divided into four main sections with various links to explore different topics within the circular economy:


  • The overview section contains a comprehensive introduction to the circular economy as a concept. Different mediums such as videos, diagrams, articles and flashcards appeal to different learning styles; and are easy to adapt and tailor to various audiences.
  • The interview with Ellen MacArthur gives an excellent explanation of the ‘‘butterfly’’ diagram and is the best place to start for a comprehensive overview of the circular economy.

Circular Economy examples

  • The next stage in the circular economy journey comes from real-world case studies showing examples of how businesses, governments and cities are working towards a more sustainable way of living.
  • There is lots of content here broken down into different industries ranging from fashion to biodiversity, so there is something for everyone. The Global South section or the various City case studies are great places to start.

Learning Pathways

  • The learning pathways are broken down by industry and go into more detail for anyone interested in how the circular economy is used in specific areas such as Food and Design.
  • This section also includes more practical tips on introducing the circular economy into your lives through learning pathways for business owners and employees looking to make their work more sustainable.

Transforming Business and Glossary.

  • To further establish a solid foundation in the Circular Economy, there are also a series of interviews with various industry experts speaking about the circular economy.
  • Also handy is the circular economy glossary that defines all the key terms and phrases you and your students need to understand the circular economy.

Available from:

Access the introduction to the circular economy section on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website, which is a good place to start.

Links to more specific industries and learning paths can also be found below: