Materials to resources: innovating economic agency in a circular economy

Sami Rusthollkarhu, Jarmo Uusikartano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Understanding the circular economy (CE) is vital for sustainable innovation. By realizing cyclic material flows in a market context, CE can prevent environmentally harmful take-make-dispose market-outcomes. However, theoretical endeavors in CE have focused on conceptualizing material flows on a system level without the theoretical understanding of the link between materials and economic activity. This is a detrimental gap, as the CE literature explicitly expresses the aim of linking economic behavior to material flows and their environmental outcomes. We structure this link by theorizing why materials flow in the market by building on the literature in sociology, economics, and marketing. We explain the materials to flow with the process between human and non-human actors, leading to material-resource or material-waste conversions. Based on these conversions, we build a model for materials in economic agency and show why material conversions render the well-established dichotomy of linear and circular flows meaningless in a market context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ISPIM Connects Valencia
Subtitle of host publicationReconnect, Rediscover, Reimagine
PublisherLappeenrannan teknillinen yliopisto
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-335-691-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventISPIM Connects Conference - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 29 Nov 20211 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameLUT Scientific and Expertise Publications : Tutkimusraportit
ISSN (Print)2243-3376


ConferenceISPIM Connects Conference

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 0


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