Circular economy courses

Lately, we have been hearing more and more about circular economy as a solution to the state of our planet, including the climate and environmental crisis we are currently experiencing. But what is the circular economy, and how can it become more widespread and entrenched in our society? Today, more than ever, it is essential for young people to deepen their understanding of this topic: to do this, there must be no lack of professional and reliable resources, and entities attentive to the topic that organize courses on the circular economy to bring citizens closer to these issues.


What is Circular Economy?

According to the European Parliament, circular economy is a production and consumption model that involves sharing, lending, reusing, repairing, reconditioning and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.


The transition from the linear to the circular economic model is essential to address the various environmental and social challenges of our time. Every circular economy course must highlight how the consequences of these human activities, disregarding the limits of the ecological system, are among the main causes of greenhouse gas pollution and climate change.


Circular Economy Courses

There are many different options for learning more about the circular economy: it is certainly essential to inform yourself through books, texts, publications and articles on the subject. In addition, attending events on the topic of the circular economy (such as the Re-think Circular Economy Forum) can be of great help. Lectures, seminars, meetings and presentations are indispensable for the proper understanding of such a multifaceted and broad phenomenon, as is the opportunity to discuss and networking together with other experts in the field.


But for even more in-depth knowledge, there is certainly no shortage of courses on the circular economy that explore these issues in detail. To date, there is a large number of courses, in Italian or in English, lasting a few meetings or annual courses of varying cost, which focus on a single aspect of the theme or which embrace several: with Tondo we have tried to draw up as complete a list as possible, notwithstanding the impossibility of listing them all.


Circular Economy: foundations

These circular economy courses, online and in English, focus on teaching its basics, such as the elimination of waste and pollution, the circulation of products and materials at their highest value, and the regeneration of nature.


Fundamentals of Circular Economy of Arizona State University
This circular economy course is part of a collection of free micro-courses for small businesses and professionals.
Cost: Free
Completion Time: 1 to 2 hours
Main topics covered: What is the circular economy; benefits and opportunities of the circular economy; the circular economy in the real world; how to start thinking circular; examples of companies taking circular economy actions.


Circular Economy: The Big Idea of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
This course provides a fundamental understanding of the origins of the circular economy, the limits of the linear economy and the three principles of the circular economy.
Cost: $99 for the individual course or included in the paid subscription to FutureLearn.
Completion time: 3 weeks, 4 hours per week
Main topics covered: Using system diagrams to manage material flows and their intrinsic value; designing a circular economy; circular business models and case studies; policies to accelerate the circular economy; communicating the circular economy.


Circular Economy: An Introduction from DelftX in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
This free course is led by TU Delft and was co-created with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability.
Cost: Free to audit; $99 to receive a certificate of completion
Time to complete: 7 weeks, 3 to 6 hours per week
Main topics covered: What is a circular economy; business value in a circular economy; longer lasting products; remanufacturing; waste equals food; thinking in systems


Sustainable Packaging for a Circular Economy from DelftX
This course is designed to teach learners how to improve packaging systems in order to recapture the estimated $80 billion of value lost when plastic packaging goes to landfill. The course is offered individually or as part of a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Packaging.
Cost: Free to audit, $149 to receive a certificate of completion
Time to complete: 6 weeks, 3 to 4 hours per week
Key topics covered: Sustainable packaging systems design, closed loop packaging systems; designing with renewable, bio-based materials; business strategies that support closed loop packaging


Circular Economy Management of the LIUC University
The course aims to introduce participants to the topic of the Circular Economy, through an alternation of theory, data, already applied business models, practical cases and application examples.
Cost: 990 euro + VAT
Completion time: two days
Main topics covered: theory, data and information applied to business models, practical cases and examples, role of new circular products and services, supply chain sustainability, end-of-waste management.


MOOC Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach of the Wageningen University and Research
The course takes a systems approach to the circular economy, considering different stakeholder perspectives, their incentive structures, and their impact on circular alternatives.
Cost: you can attend the lessons free of charge, while the certificate is chargeable
Completion time: six weeks
Main topics covered: learning the concept of circular economy, understanding how the circular economy deviates from a linear system, learning the use of LCA and AGB, learning to use and apply complex models


Circular Economy: Transition for Future Sustainability of the MIT
The course focuses on how circular economy can help organizations and simultaneously create a more sustainable world
Cost: $3,200
Completion time: two months
Main topics covered: Circular economy, waste management, moving beyond the linear model, identifying opportunities for a sustainable growth model


University Circular Economy Courses

In addition to these online resources, for young people who believe that the circular economy can be their career path, there are university courses that specialize in teaching and conveying the values and strategies associated with the circular economy.


Circular Economy Course of ALTIS, Graduate School of Sustainable Management, Catholic University
Course Duration: 3 months
The online course Strategic Management of the Circular Economy fosters an adequate understanding of how the circular economy can be applied in companies, starting from the definition of the strategic approach to the operational implementation through product design, the acquisition of key competences, the development of specific technologies and the measurement of circularity at company and product level.


Sustainable chemistry and technologies for circular economy by University of Padua

Course duration: 2 years

The Master’s degree provides an extensive and highly interdisciplinary training programme for professionals to be employed in companies or public bodies applying a circular economy model to production and services. Students will be trained on the whole value chain underlying a circular economy model, though a strong focus will be given chiefly to techno-scientific skills and competences.


Did you find what you were looking for?

We hope this article has helped you find new resources and courses to learn more about circular economy practices and principles. For more information and other articles related to the topic of the circular economy, circular cities, best practices and events related to the circular economy, visit Tondo’s blog!


Emma Salioni

WIth a degree in Digital content management for media, enterprises and cultural heritage, Emma Salioni has always had a strong interest in sustainability and circularity. After a period of time spent workin in The Netherlands, she started working with Tondo managing social media and communication, as well as supporting the organization of hackathons and events.