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5 books everyone should read to finally understand what a circular economy is

5 min


Endlessly recycle, lead a zero waste lifestyle, innovate taking inspiration from nature and devise business models that are both circular and profitable... all covered in five key books about the circular economy.


1. Cradle to cradle – remaking the way we make things

Authors: William McDonough and Michael Braungart
Publisher: Alternatives
Cradle to Cradle is a key book about the circular economy that has made a significant contribution to popularizing the idea of eco-design amongst not only the general public, but also industry and policy makers. The book advocates an industrial model that consists of designing products from the outset with a view to endlessly recycling them; a model based on a kind of composting that allows waste to return to the soil in the form of "organic nutrients" or to the industry as "technical nutrients".

2. Zero waste

Author: Béa Johnson
Publisher: Les Arènes
A French woman living in the United States with her husband and their two sons, Béa Johnson gained worldwide fame having embarked on an astonishing adventure (which she shares on her blog and at many conferences): simplify your life by reducing waste. The Johnson family only produces one liter a year! In her book, Béa reveals hundreds of ideas and practical tips for adopting a zero waste lifestyle.

3. Biomimicry – Innovation inspired by nature

Author: Janine M. Benyus
Publisher: Rue de L'Échiquier
In this fascinating book, Janine Benyus, the American scientist and creator of the Biomimicry Institute, talks about the efficient and sustainable applications developed by pioneering researchers in the field of agriculture, materials, computer science, industry, etc. She reveals the "genius of nature" and encourages us to observe it more closely so we can mimic it, drawing inspiration from the remarkable strategies developed by living organisms as they have evolved.

4. Waste to Wealth – The Circular Economy Advantage

Authors: Peter Lacy and Jakob Rutqvist
Publisher: Ma Editions
Written by two Accenture executives, the book presents the advantages of the circular economy as a powerful - and inevitable - model for tackling the current challenges against the backdrop of shrinking resources. The authors also suggest strategies to protect the environment while also generating profit by analyzing several examples of companies that have sought to extend the life of their products by taking a circular growth approach.

5. No impact man – Can you save the planet without sending your family crazy?

Author: Colin Beavan
Publisher: Fleuve Éditions
Colin Beavan’s challenge? Live for a year in the heart of Manhattan minimizing his environmental footprint. His adventures have traveled the world thanks to the success of his blog, voted one of the fifteen most influential ecological sites in the world by Time Magazine. In this inspirational book that recounts his experience, Colin shows us that we can lead a more sober way of life - even in one of the largest cities in the world.