Importance of the Change from Linear Economy to Circular Economy in Latin America

The slowdown in economic growth in Latin America due to the COVID-19 pandemic could find a solution through the circular economy and thus reduce its environmental impact at the same time. Thus, the transformation from a linear industrial system to a restorative or regenerative one is proposed. Sectors such as agriculture, the manufacturing industry, electricity, gas and water, commerce, transport and communications, and financial and business services are potential items to initiate the change to the circular economy. To carry out this transition, investment and government policies that promote and sustain it will be necessary.

After a complex period worldwide as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, countries have presented problems in their economies due to slowdowns in their growth rates. As shown by (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, CEPAL, 2022), the economies of the region, although they have had quarterly growth during 2021 after the pandemic, in the last quarter there was a slowdown in that growth , which continued to be reflected throughout 2022 in the year-on-year growth of GDP:

Graph 1: Latin America: annual growth rate of GDP, 2019 to the first quarter of 2022. Source: (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, CEPAL, 2022)

This slowdown in the economic growth of the countries was reflected in various economic activities, having as a comparative index, the pre-pandemic economic growth (2019). All the economic analyzes carried out during the year 2022 made it possible to demonstrate that some economic activities increased the growth rates compared to the pre-pandemic growth:

Graph 2: Latin America: value added by sector of economic activity, 2019 to 2022. Source: (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, CEPAL, 2022)

These indices make it possible to track those activities that had growth throughout 2022, economic activities that can be a crucial objective for the implementation of circular economy projects, generating a new economic model that not only reduces environmental impacts, but also increases growth. economy that is so expected in Latin countries.

Sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, electricity, gas and water, commerce, transport and communications, financial and business services are potential items to start with the long-awaited change to the circular economy.

To a completely sustainable model that integrates flows of matter and energy:

The latter will allow minimizing the environmental impact, reducing costs and optimizing resources, taking into account the principles of a circular economy (Ellen Macarthur Foundation, 2014) :

Principle 1: Preserve and enhance natural capital by controlling finite reserves and balancing flows of renewable resources.

Principle 2: Optimize the yield of resources by distributing products, components and materials with their maximum utility at all times, both in technical and biological cycles

Principle 3: Promote the effectiveness of systems by detecting and eliminating negative external factors from the design.

Now, the economic activities that had high production rates during 2022, can adhere this new economy system to their processes by including life cycle analysis, and the use of vehicles to promote the circular economy:

Illustration 1: Life Cycle Analysis
Illustration 2: Vehicles to promote circular economy

Although it is an efficient way to improve not only the economy of Latin American countries, but also to reduce the impacts and generate greater added value to what is produced in each country, it is worth knowing that investment is required to modify an economy so immersed in the liberal economy, and policies that help and encourage industries to modify their processes. It is a joint issue, which through the mutual support of all unions and governments, will improve those economic potholes that hit Latin American countries so much.


Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe, CEPAL. (2022). Estudio Económico de America Latina y el Caribe. Publicación de las Nacione Unidas. Santiago de Chile: LC/PUB.2022/9-P/Rev.1. Recuperado el 25 de 03 de 2023, de

Ellen Macarthur Foundation. (2014). Hacia una economía circular. Hacia una economía circular. Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Recuperado el 26 de 03 de 2023, de

Gobierno de la República de Colombia. (2019). Estrategia nacional de economía circular. Cierre de ciclos de materiales,. Bogotá D.C.: Presidencia de la República. Recuperado el 27 de 03 de 2023, de

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