Circular economy is a philosophy which can be applied to different areas, though it is mainly used in regards to society as well as industrial processes. The origins of these concepts are set in an article written by Keneth E. Boulding where ācircular economyā is not mentioned. What is in this work is a description of the situation during these days (1966), depicted as cowboyās economy. Society was extremely consumerist every lack of a resource was easily solved exploiting new sources. He compares this behaviour with how cowboys spoiled the far west (including indigenous inhabitants). Conversely, the economy of the spaceship is presented where considering the limitations of space trips it is capital to take the maximum advantage from resources. This article suggests transforming this model of society into a more efficient economy.
These ideas were followed by scientists, ecologists as well as politicians being converted into the current concept of circular economy. Close to recycling and reutilization, circular economy goes a step further. Not only is it necessary to reuse things, it is also important to valorise waste. Thus, it is possible to convert waste into materials or energy. When calculating costs production should not be the unique factor, environment must be taken into consideration. This philosophy refuses the reductionism of the economical point of view by adding new visions in order to create a more sustainable world.
Science plays a major role in this transformation. Natural products as well as valorisation of waste are recurrent topics for many research projects.