The circular economy concept is gaining popularity for good reason as both consumers and businesses are starting to recognise the need to slow their consumption rates.
Here are five start-ups that have integrated the concept:
1. ReBlend: Circular Textiles
ReBlend is a social enterprise based in the Netherlands on a mission to raise awareness about the ecological impact of the textile industry and to inspire the use of looped and renewable raw materials.
Most clothes today are made of composite material and are not pure. This makes recycling difficult and expensive. ReBlend has found an economic opportunity with this and spins new yarn out of composite clothes to develop textiles.
Desso is a company based in Netherlands that produce, sells and services recyclable carpet tiles for commercial market. Staying true to Cradle-to-Cradle principles, Desso has redesigned the bitumen-based tiles into fully recyclable tiles with a polyolefin-backing. Through its take-back program, the company recycles all of its components to be made into new tiles.
It also offers its products as a service, where they lease tiles to customers for a certain duration. The cost of maintenance is also included and at the end of the contract, Desso recovers the tiles and feeds it back into its product loop.
FlagBag is a non-profit company based in Belgium that upcycles used flags to create bags and purses. The products are not mass-produced and are hand-crafted to the direction of each individual creator.
The company runs on a social employment scheme where they rope in people who struggle finding employment in the conventional job market.
Festicup is a start-up based in Belgium that produces cutlery out of synthetic glass, they are indistinguishable from regular glass and have been tested to offer the same benefits. The product significantly reduces wastes at events by offering a reusable alternative, lengthening the product lifespan.
Given that the Festicup is made of 100% virgin material, it is also recyclable.
iFixit is a company based in California that aims to reduce electronic waste by teaching people how to repair their gear, and offers tools, parts, and a forum to discuss repairs.
In response to the pandemic, it has also worked with hospitals and medical research facilities to gather the largest known database of medical equipment manuals and repair guides to support the health industry.