Report Circular by design, summary

Consumenten en de lineaire of de circulaire economie

The European Environment Agency has paid attention to the perspective of consumers in its report Circular by design. The differences between a linear and circular economy are summarized here below.

Linear system mechanisms

Circular system mechanisms

Consumerism follows marketing

Consumers want new products that keep pace with fashion and technological advances. Consumers must match their needs with the product offerings available.

Customer satisfaction is an important driver

In a service relationship with a company, the customer experience feeds back more strongly to the service provider, raising consumer awareness about their actual needs. In other cases consumers become prosumers who co-create or coproduce the products and services they need.

International opportunities for cost reduction

Consumers seek the cheapest version of a product on international markets, enabled by e-commerce.

Local-first attitude

Accessibility to the service provider is part of the service experience, which leads to proximity as a customer choice criterion.

Ownership is the norm

Owning a product is regarded as the normal way to fulfil needs. Over time, previous luxury products become commodity goods due to decreasing production costs. Beyond legal warranty, product repair is considered too expensive compared to buying a new product.

Do-it-yourself repair is considered too difficult due to complex and protective product design.

Accessibility is the norm

Fulfilling needs is driven first and foremost by accessibility to a product and the satisfaction provided by its use. Different consumer segments can access products of their choice through customised services or by sharing products, for instance in peer-to-peer networks.
Service agreements provide an incentive for product care.

Low/no residual value of products

End-of-life products (broken or obsolete) are considered a burden, to be disposed of as cheaply as possible – by selling on the second-hand market, storing at home, or through regulated waste disposal systems or illegal incineration or dumping.

End-of-use incentives incorporated

If products are part of a service, there are incentives to return them to the provider after use, avoiding stocks of obsolete products in households, or illegal dumping.