The concept of the circular economy doesn’t just mean reusing things until they fall apart. Instead, it’s a way of designing products, processes, and supply chains so that raw materials can be regenerated and returned back to market as secondary products. This creates closed-loop processes that extract the maximum value from all resources, while minimizing waste and negative impact on the environment. In other words, these companies are using smart business practices to create a world where nothing goes to waste. Let’s take a look at 10 companies leading the way toward a more circular economy with their innovative ideas for new ways of thinking about waste and resource management:
DyeCoo is a chemical company that specializes in eco-friendly products for the textile industry. It is the first 100% water-free and process chemical-free textile processing solution - with no harmful heavy metals. This ensures the products they create aren’t toxic to the environment.
RE.STATEMENT is an online marketplace that repurposes old clothing into new clothing. The company works with small business brands to make clothing from used or unwanted materials, including fabrics and fibers made from unrecyclable materials. Their products cut down on textile waste created by the fashion industry, and the repurposed fabrics create a unique look and feel.
Cambrian Innovation focuses on sustainable resource management, providing clean water, renewable energy, and water treatment as a service. Cambrian’s technology turns wastewater into renewable energy and can also be used to process organic waste from the textile and paper industries, which would create even more products from repurposed materials.
Enerkem is a Canadian company focused on turning waste into energy. They take waste materials like wood chips, leftover pulp from paper mills, and agricultural residues, and convert them into ethane and ethanol, which can be used to make plastics, gasoline, or other products. Enerkem’s technology can also transform non-organic waste into syngas, which means they can turn almost any kind of waste into clean energy, including plastics and other synthetic materials.
ALGBIO is a Turkish company that produces biobased chemicals from waste materials, including water, air, and CO2. They use a proprietary bio-refinery process that involves feeding them into bioreactors with microbes that feed on these waste materials and produce valuable biobased chemicals. ALGBIO’s technology can be used to repurpose a wide range of waste materials, including food scraps, agricultural residues, and industrial waste like CO2 from coal plants. This creates a closed-loop process that uses waste materials as feedstocks to create biobased products, including polyols and polyesters.
TrusTrace is a company that uses blockchain technology to track materials through the supply chain. The company has created a platform that allows organizations to track materials from the source back to the original manufacturer. TrusTrace’s technology could also be used to track waste materials, allowing organizations to see where they end up.
Ferticlay uses leftover agricultural materials, like spent grain and cotton fibers, to create fertilizers. They have created a fertilizer blend that includes cotton fibers, spent grain, and other agricultural byproducts, making it a sustainable alternative to synthetic fertilizers. Using agricultural waste to create fertilizer is a sustainable way to repurpose this material, preventing it from becoming waste in the first place. It’s also cheaper to produce than synthetic fertilizers, making it an affordable option for farmers.
Cyclic Design is a product design company that makes sustainable packaging out of zero-waste materials. Cyclic Design offers different techniques to design products which follow a more circular model. They use lifecycle thinking: in each lifecycle’s phase, Cyclic Design proposes ways to save resources or reduce the production of waste.
Carbonauten is a German company that uses agricultural waste, including leftover straw, to create biobased plastics. The process involves feeding agricultural materials into bioreactors with microbes that feed on the materials and produce biobased products, including bioplastics. Carbonauten’s technology can be used to repurpose a wide range of agricultural waste, including cotton and coffee waste, and transform it into valuable products.
Lehigh Technologies is a US-based company that uses waste materials to produce Micronized Rubber Powders (MRP), a sustainable raw material that reduces feedstock costs by up to 50% and delivers performance without compromise across a wide range of markets. MRP replaces oil- and rubber-based feedstocks in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications, including high performance tires, plastics, consumer goods, coatings, sealants, construction materials and asphalt.
Fooditive is a company that converts unwanted food into plant-based, zero-waste ingredients. They make sweeteners, vegan casein, fat replacers, natural preservatives, emulsifiers, and thickeners to help you cook better meals that taste good and make you feel good.