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Closed Loop System: What Does it Mean to Close the Loop?

11 December 2019

The Chasing Arrows - or more commonly referred to and recognised as the universal symbol of the three R’s; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

However, what you might not know is that the chasing arrows actually symbolise the ‘closed-loop system’.

So what is the closed loop system?

The closed loop system is a waste management model that refers to continuous process of collecting, manufacturing and purchasing of materials in a supply chain.

The three arrows help us visualise this concept. Rather than a material moving in a straight production line towards its final place of disposal, the three arrows are arranged in a circular composition to represent the never-ending life-cycle of a resource. 

Let’s simplify this even further, imagine you’re a demolisher and you have just demolished some concrete from an old driveway or footpath.

This concrete will be taken to a concrete recycler, where it will get processed and turned into road base which can be used to make new pavements. This is a simplified example of a closed loop system.


The closed loop system and the 'circular economy'

The closed loop system is often equated with the ‘circular economy’ concept. 

As per the World Economic Forum, the circular economy refers to an ‘industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design.’ (1) The circular economy concept challenges the end-of-life concept, whereby it emphasizes the restoration and re-use of industrial products and resources in the aims of eliminating waste and conserving energy. Overall, it aims to create a more sustainable industrial production model. 

Thus, the circular economy concept is at the core of the closed-loop system. 

How does the closed loop system apply to GreenHands?

The closed loop model is central to GreenHands’ mission. GreenHands is the facilitator for the re-use and recycling of C & D materials. GreenHands provides people with the option of keeping their materials in the market, rather than disposing of them after they have served their initial purpose. Therefore, GreenHands aims to close the loop by facilitating the continuous re-use of materials. Don’t dispose of those tiles that have been sitting in your backyard since your last landscaping project, upload them onto the GreenHands platform instead. Someone else might have a use for them. Let’s reuse and keep materials in the loop! 


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