The Circularity Gap Report 2023
16 January 2023
The global economy is only 7.2% circular. Rising material extraction has shrunk global circularity: from 9.1% in 2018, to 8.6% 2020, and now 7.2% in 2023. This leaves a huge Circularity Gap: the globe almost exclusively relies on new (virgin) materials. This means more than 90% of materials are either wasted, lost or remain unavailable for reuse for years as they are locked into long-lasting buildings and machinery. Increasing material consumption does not always lead to better conditions for people, as it degrades the very systems we rely on to live. The take-make-waste economy saps natural resources, threatens the survival of species, fills soil and water with toxins and dangerously warms the Earth. Our analysis finds that circular solutions across four key systems can reverse the overshoot that we now have, allowing us to satisfy people’s needs within the safe limits of the planet.