The raw material is a primary material used to produce goods, finished products, energy or intermediate materials that are feedstock for future finished products. They are of two types, viz. Primary and secondary. Primary raw materials are naturally occurring substances that have not been subjected to chemical changes after being recovered. Secondary materials are waste materials that have been recycled and injected back into use as productive material. The concept of bringing the waste material back into the loop to create new products and goods is called a circular model.
The Ellen Macarthur Foundation defines a circular model as a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:
- Design out waste and pollution
- Keep products and materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems