While proponents of the circular economy (CE) promise to solve multiple problems at once, it remains a niche discussion among a small group of experts. Initiatives start with rosy visions, but in daily practice they are mainly restricted to recycling. CE promoters react with ever bigger promises. Instead, hindrances need to be taken seriously. Firstly, there are implementation barriers like technological and cultural barriers. The latter tend to be ignored by government policies. Further, responsibility for action is shifted onto each other, leaving only space for superficial strategies. This interacts adversely with the second type of hindrances, socio-metabolic root causes. A circularity-impeding enormous problem is growing societal stocks, which will be further exacerbated by climate policies like decarbonising the electricity and transport sector. Further, the non-sustainable production of biomass creates an open loop of an inherently renewable resource. In both cases, present unsustainability is linked to the existing power structures dominated by resource-intensive big players which are not in favour of a fundamental circularity shift promoting locally rooted smaller service-oriented enterprises. Such a focus on stumbling blocks can foster the development of much-needed leverage points that promise exit strategies from resistance to change and novel opportunities for the steps to follow.