ENVR E-158B: Introduction to the Circular Economy

The circular economy is a model that contrasts with the linear approach to production and consumption generally used today (where companies harvest and extract materials, use them to manufacture a product, and sell the product to a consumer—who then discards it when it no longer serves its purpose). It instead advocates a circular approach—one that is restorative and regenerative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times—for both biological and technical materials. Building on the discipline of industrial ecology—related to, but not synonymous with, the overall discipline of sustainability—the circular economy is an emerging field of study promoting a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary framework for change, including but not limited to a substantial focus on the initial design of products and processes to eliminate waste (engineering), changes in the way companies and customers interact to exchange materials and money (business), updated and new government policies and actions (government), and adjusted economic and financial measurements and incentives (economics and finance).


Carrie Snyder







Course ID: 


Research Areas: 

  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2017-2018 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

Connect with us

Follow HUCE to stay updated on energy and the environment at Harvard and beyond.

Subscribe to our mailing list