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Perspectives on Transforming the Bioeconomy Toward Circular Systems  Public Access

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of the ASABE. 66(3): 765-770. (doi: 10.13031/ja.15100) @2023
Authors:   Kati W. Migliaccio, James W. Jones, Brahm P. Verma
Keywords:   Bioeconomy, Circular economy, Circularity, Convergence, Food and agricultural systems, Systems thinking, Systems of systems.


ASABE has created a society initiative on transforming food and agricultural systems to achieve greater circularity.

A task force has been charged by ASABE with guiding the initiative effort.

Transforming to more circular bioeconomy systems will require multiple disciplines, policy makers, and inclusion of economics, societal, and environmental aspects.

The special collection topics include conversion of wastes into usable products, incorporation of sustainability objectives into production systems and supply chains, assessment of a system‘s circularity, and workforce education for achieving circularity in agricultural and food systems.

Abstract. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) launched a new initiative in 2020 – Transforming Food and Agriculture to Circular Systems (TFACS) – that calls for system-level solutions. Linear systems focus on creating a profitable yield while considering the financial costs of inputs (e.g., water, nutrients, energy) with little regard to resource use efficiencies and the broader impacts of losses and wastes. Circular systems consider a more holistic view for transforming systems using principles that: (1) design out waste and pollution; (2) keep products and materials in use, (reuse, share, repair, refurbish, remanufacture, recycle); (3) regenerate natural systems; (4) increase the productivity of resource use; and (5) provide economic benefits. This introduction to the Special Collection of articles provides an overview of ASABE‘s initiative to accelerate the growth of circular bioeconomy systems and introduces the articles in this ASABE Special Collection. Articles in this collection provide examples showing the benefits of combining circular economy and bioeconomy concepts to develop the cascading use of biomass from biological resources for economic development. The articles also identify the need for additional work to move society toward circular food and agricultural systems. Efforts to rethink and redesign future systems using circular bioeconomy concepts can rapidly create more sustainable, resilient, and equitable food and agricultural systems.

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