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Five popular businesses that are leading the way in the circular economy

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

The transition to the circular economy is here. In fact, chances are some of your favourite brands are already embracing circular methodology within their sustainable business models.

What is the circular economy? How do we understand it when it comes to business? If you’re not familiar with the circular economy, it's widely understood as an economic model that aims to eliminate waste and pollution by reusing, repairing, recycling and remanufacturing products and materials already in the cycle. The Ellen Macarthur Foundation has established a definition that actively addresses the circular function for businesses, stating:

"Through design, we can eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials and regenerate nature, creating an economy that benefits people, business and the natural world."

Instead of simply searching for ways products and services can be more sustainable, we should now celebrate and support innovation through the lens of circularity.

Here are some of the brands you might know and love, that are helping us make the transition.

The Naarm (Melbourne) born brand helps reduce disposable cup waste by inviting people to enjoy their daily coffee rituals using a reusable cup. The brand intertwines circular strategies within its business from a consumer perspective right through its supply chain. Video: KeepCup interview with founder Abigail Forsyth


A fashion platform that aims to change how people shop by encouraging people to sell, buy and swap pre-loved clothing. Depop helps people keep clothing in the cycle and in use for longer. Image Source : Depop, Sustainability Newsroom


The certified B-Corp skincare brand and retailer is piloting in-store packaging refill trials at its selected Victorian stores. Aesop’s circular initiative aims to reduce carbon footprint over time and packaging waste by inviting its consumers to use reusable glass bottles that can be refilled. Aesop bottles can also be traded and washed in-store for another customer to use. Video: hear Stephen Wallace of Aesop Sustainability team speak about their circular strategy. Case study compiled in partnership with Sustainability Victoria


With food waste contributing to 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Oz Harvest is building a sustainable food culture by rescuing food surplus and delivering it to charities that need it most. Founded in 2004, OzHarvest now operates in major cities across Australia. Image Source: OzHarvest, Fight Food Waste


Environmental and Social Impact is rooted within the toilet paper brand from the bottom up. Who Gives A Crap aims to reduce waste and pollution by using 100% recycled paper fibres, bamboo or sugarcane in their product. More so, 50% of its profits are donated to communities in need of toilets. Image Source: Who Gives A Crap

Look out for businesses who are taking the time to implement circular strategies in their products and services. They are worth your dollars and customer loyalty.

Feeling inspired by the impact a more circular future will have on our world? Join the Circular Impact Academy!

If you have an idea that can help drive Victoria’s transition to the circular economy, consider applying for the Circular Impact Academy.

Presented by the Victorian Circular Activator and supported by Sustainability Victoria, this six-week program is designed to help current university students and alumni turn ideas into thoughtful leadership and ventures of circular impact.

Applications close on Thursday, 22nd of June 2023 at 11:59 pm. Submit an application today.

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