Grafström, J. & Aasma, S. (2020). Breaking Circular Economy Barriers. Ratio Working Paper No. 338. Stockholm: Ratio.
Despite high estimated economic gains the implementation of a circular economy (CE) in most areas is generally slow. The purpose of this paper is therefore to examine the potential causes to this sluggish implementation and to discuss and illustrate how different types of barriers (technological, market, institutional and cultural) can prevent the further implementation of a CE. We conduct a systematic literature review where academic articles and “grey literature” on the barriers to a CE transition are analysed and classified into technological, market/economic, institutional/regulatory, and cultural/social barriers. We approach the research problem in a twofold way. Firstly, we recognize the barriers that currently seem to hinder a CE from developing. Secondly, we map these barriers to better understand how they are interdependent and entangled. Our main conclusion is that even small barriers can stop the emergence of a CE.