Circular Economy and Life Cycle Approach

As opposed to linear economy, circular economy is a model that aims to create a closed-loop system where materials and resources are kept in use for as long as possible, through strategies such as reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling. In a circular economy, products are designed to be easily disassembled, repaired, and recycled, and waste is minimized by using renewable and non-toxic materials. By adopting a circular economy approach, businesses and societies can reduce their reliance on finite resources, minimize waste and pollution, and promote sustainable economic growth.

“Circular economy is based on the principles of life cycle thinking.”

Life cycle thinking is an approach that considers the entire life cycle of a product, from the extraction of raw materials to its disposal, in order to minimize environmental impact and optimize resource use. It involves evaluating the environmental, social, and economic impacts of products and processes throughout their life cycle, and identifying opportunities to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and promote sustainability.

“Life cycle thinking seeks to optimize resource use and minimize waste by designing products and processes with their entire lifespan in mind.”


Indigenous Peoples and societies have demonstrated principles of circularity since time immemorial (Turning Point, 2021). Instead of a take-make-waste approach, traditional Indigenous practices emphasized respect and reciprocity between people and nature. For example, the concept of seventh-generation decision-making emerged from Indigenous ways of knowing. It specifies that decisions should be considered with the lens of how seven generations in the future (hundreds of years) will be affected. There are many Indigenous-led examples at the forefront of the circular economy movement in Canada.

A transition from the linear to circular economy demands that we incorporate Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. It is important to consider how this transition will affect Indigenous communities to ensure a successful and inclusive approach. Indigenous Peoples also hold important knowledge that inform more sustainable approaches to land and resource use.

Life cycle approach in the carpentry trade (and the construction sector in general) emphasizes sustainable practices in the entire lifespan of a building from design to demolition and disposal.

Examples of the life cycle approach in the carpentry trade include:







Greening and Indigenizing the Carpentry Trade Copyright © by adamothomas; Inci Sariz Bilge; and Tyler Ballam. All Rights Reserved.

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