The concept of the circular economy was officially incorporated into the energy transition act to promote green growth, enacted on 17 August 2015, which made the transition toward a circular economy a national objective and one of the pillars of sustainable development.

"The circular economy," as defined by the French Ministry for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, "is an economic model designed to produce goods and resources in a sustainable fashion by reducing consumption/wastage of resources (including raw materials, water and other energy sources) and producing less waste... The goal is to break away from the traditional linear economic model (extract, manufacture, consume, discard) in favour of a circular model."

The circular economy thus aims to reduce wastage of resources and raw materials while curbing the environmental impact of products through sustainable, eco-design to enable reuse and recycling in part or in full. If the products themselves cannot be reused or recycled, the waste left over after use can also be put to good use.