It’s no secret that our economy has become more and more reliant on throwaway goods — there’s a garbage patch in the Pacific that covers at least 270,000 square miles, so it’s pretty clear we’ve got a bit of an issue.

This video from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation asks what our economy might look like if we modeled it after natural processes instead. Since materials in the natural, living world are used and then absorbed back into the environment and reused, it’s a very sustainable system. So why don’t we try to do that with our economy? Rather than a linear economy — get the item, use it, throw it away — we could get to a point where all materials are recycled and re-utilized, thus ridding us of the problems that come with waste.

It’s not just an important idea, it’s an essential one, especially if we want to develop a sustainable future.