In the circular economy, waste is minimized through reuse, reducing resource consumption by regeneratively cycling economic, natural, and social capital. By reducing this connection between production and consumption, a more sustainable balance can be reached in light of increasing populations and socioeconomic development. However, the need for actionable strategies by which to create and support such a system is growing in criticality. Of course, identifying strategies that can be used to build a more circular economy depends on understanding how its basic constituent elements—materials, products, processes,systems—interact and impact one another. For Dr. Elsa Olivetti, Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it all comes down to how material choices and associated chemical mechanisms inform product characteristics and, in turn, system design; and how those systems reciprocally inform material design. These interactions, she suggests, are the basic building blocks that can either inhibit or unlock our ability to create a more circular industrial economy.