IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 851: Is It Possible to Change from a Linear to a Circular Economy? An Overview of Opportunities and Barriers for European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Companies (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
The Circular Economy is a paradigm shift attempting to replace the end-of-life concept with reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering materials and to slow down, close and narrow material and power loops. This concept is much discussed in the academic literature, but limited progress has been accomplished so far regarding its empirical analysis. The objective of this work is to study circular economy practices and analyze in depth the circular economy behavior in European firms. We find that firms’ circular economy behavior is a gradual process where measures are implemented gradually, starting with activities involving control measures and ending with putting preventive practices in place. We discovered also that the most proactive companies in implementing circular economy measures generally come across certain common barriers such as administrative processes, regulations and a lack of human resources to perform these practices, while firms that have not implemented circular economy measures view financing, investment and cost–benefit barriers as the most significant. Significant efforts need to be undertaken by firms to accomplished circular economy. Also circular economy regulation should be improved to make it easier for companies to implement strategies that will make them more sustainable.