The timeline, which can be accessed here, presents the key ideas that influenced the current concept of circular economy, as well as ideas which build upon it and share its goals. It is based on extensive research carried out by the CRESTING project, which was published in the following open access article in the journal Resources Conservation & Recycling: A typology of circular economy discourses: Navigating the diverse visions of a contested paradigm.
To ensure conceptual diversity, plurality and breadth, the timeline includes ideas from the Global South and North and alike as well as concepts from both practitioners and academics. A total of 74 different circularity concepts can thus be explored in this interactive timeline.
The timeline helps better situate the concept of circular economy, both in its rich historical origins and in its complex theoretical diversity. This helps illustrate the manifold conceptualizations of circularity as well as the reformist vs transformational circularity schools of thought, which shape the current debate on the topic (Reike, Vermeulen, & Witjes, 2018). Moreover, it allows for a better recognition of the plurality of circularity ideas that exist and the manifold solutions and perspectives they have on the complex challenges of the 21st century.
The final objective of this interactive timeline is thus to help researchers and practitioners navigate the diversity and complexity of the concept and better understand its origins, breadth and plurality. This can open the imaginary regarding the circular economy and allow a cross-pollination of ideas from many different epistemological and ontological backgrounds.