A growing number of companies worldwide are attempting to reimagine their businesses to keep their products and components continuously in use. Prodded by shareholders, environmentalists and governments, they are signing on to the concept of a circular economy, in which goods are designed to be easily shared, reused, refurbished, harvested for parts and eventually recycled for their raw materials. The goal is to eliminate waste and reduce pollution and the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. China and the European Union are leading the way, investing money and creating new laws and regulations to accelerate a transition to a circular economy. In the United States, individual states are passing laws that require producers to finance and manage take-back programs for their products. But progress has ...

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