The challenges of circular economy is a topic many people want to avoid. I mean who wants to be the sustainability party pooper? No-one. On the contrary: you want to be positive and hopeful: we need solutions to the climate and sustainability crisis! And circular economy is a solution! However, we cannot hide our heads in the sand. The problems need to be discussed.

This comic sums up key arguments from the upcoming book The Impossibilities of the Circular Economy – Separating Aspirations from Reality (Routledge). Its aim is to highlight key problems in the current discussion of circular economy – without taking away the hope (I hope!).

Problems of circular economy in cartoons

From an artist’s/storyteller’s point of view the challenge was that the comic is based on a collection of 25+ academic articles looking at circular economy discussion from wildly different angles: from materials science to sociology. My job was, with the help of the editor of the book Christoph Hinske, to condense some of these key ideas into an easy to understand comic. The aim was also to create a story where some of the images work as stand alone cartoons. That way people can just pick the relevant cartoons for their presentations or social media posts without having to share the whole comic.

Want to use the comic/cartoons in your work?

You can read more about the project (Factor X) of which the book is part of of on If you have questions about the book/themes in the book please contact the editor of the book Christoph Hinske directly: christoph (dot) hinske (at) theengagementcompany (dot) co

Hopefully these challenges of circular economy are not used as a way to give up on the idea, but as a call to examine our assumptions! Could it be that there are still industrial era thinking lurking behind the otherwise oh so perfect sounding concept?