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Coalescing the lean and circular economyGrowing population along with technological advancement to pace the production speed like never before has raised alarming concerns and attracted attention globally. Circular Economy, a fairly new concept has emerged to address such issues by proposing closed loop system in contrast to linear system. While the concept of Circular Economy presents a great potential, there yet remain the challenge for its adaptation in the existing manufacturing sector, especially at SMEs level. Many new techniques, methods and models are being developed, many of which require a complete change in the existing system, which not only have capital requirements but also upskilling labour. For SMEs it is challenging to have such transition due to higher capital and skills requirements. This research explores the possibility to combine the existing concept of Lean with Circular Economy for speedy and easy adaptation of Circular Economy principles within manufacturing sector, especially at SMEs level. A novel conceptually developed framework is proposed to merge the vitality of Lean and Circular Economy.
Improving the sustainability of food supply chains through circular economy practices – a qualitative mapping approachThe purpose of this paper is to present a methodological approach to support qualitative analysis of waste flows in food supply chains. The methodological framework introduced allows the identification of circular food waste flows that can maximise the sustainability of food supply chains. Following a qualitative approach, circular economy perspectives are combined with core industrial ecology concepts in the specification of a standardised analytical method to map food waste flows and industrial synergies across a supply chain. The mapped waste flows and industrial linkages depict two time-related scenarios: 1. Current scenarios showing the status quo of existing food waste flows, and 2. Future scenarios pointing out circular flows along the supply chain. The future scenarios inform potential alternatives to take waste flows up the food waste hierarchy. The qualitative approach do not allow generalisations of findings out of the scope of the study. The framework is intended for providing focused analysis, case by case. Future research involving mixedmethods where quantitative approaches complement the qualitative perspectives of the framework would expand the analytical perspective. The framework provides a relatively low cost and pragmatic method to identify alternatives to minimise landfill disposals and improve the sustainability of food supply chains. Its phased methodology and standardised outcomes serve as a referential basis to inform not only comparative analysis, but also policy making and strategic decisions aimed at transforming linear food supply chains into circular economy ecosystems.