A new mindset for circular economy strategies: case studies of circularity in the use of water
In a circular economy (CE) environment, it is important to make good and efficient use of resources and consider that the waste generated in production processes can be a valuable resource. However, the tools and methodologies conventionally used to analyze and evaluate production systems are based on techniques focused on linear production management models, where the primary purpose is to reduce the treatment and management of waste as much as possible and where productive and environmental efficiency are not evaluated simultaneously. Changing the paradigm from a linear to a circular economy requires that a new strategy for production systems be defined, one that makes production processes simultaneously circular and efficient (in terms of quality and productivity). In this context, a holistic vision is needed when implementing CE strategies. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to provide evidence, through two real case studies in the use of water, that the management of this resource without considering systemic thinking may not be the most circular solution. Main results showed that improvements based on the traditional approach of reducing resource use cannot provide the best results if they are supported only by current process consumption without considering the circularity of resources.