Companies are moving away from the linear model of ‘extract, use and dispose’. Now, modern businesses are adopting more sustainable methods. A circular economy keeps resources in the loop for as long as possible. But which organisations operate this way? Here are 7 circular economy businesses. And some of them may surprise you.
I know! I was surprised to learn this too. Gatwick was the first airport to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill accreditation from the Carbon Trust. The airport’s sustainability plan covers everything from transport to water quality. Authorities collect waste from around 2,000 bins every day. Most of it is reused or recycled and the rest is converted into energy. None of it goes to landfill.
Ogilvy Spirits is a first for Scotland. The Jarrons family farm makes vodka from potatoes not suitable for retail. Sustainability has always been important to the family. “We never neglect the past, but are equipped for the future,” says its website. But not only does it create a circular economy by turning food waste into a commodity. The company also uses solar panels to power its old-fashioned farming set-up and new micro-distillery.
Gomi produces colourful Bluetooth speakers. But they’re not any old speakers. Gomi melts plastic waste from food wholesalers in Brighton, then molds it in conventional ovens. Repurposed e-bike batteries power the production. And Gomi offers a repairs-for-life return service, saving speakers from landfill at the ends of their lives.
OI manufactures around 800 million recycled glass bottles every year. Glass can be recycled endlessly without losing quality. This leading glass recycler drives the circular economy. It turns waste into resources and creates demand for recycled glass.
Community Resources Network Ireland
Community Resources Network Ireland (CRNI) supports social enterprises. The network exists to prevent waste and promote reuse, repair and recycling. It does this by organising events, providing networking and business opportunities and undertaking research.
Biffa Waste Recycling
Biffa Waste Services in Horsham diverts 99% of its street sweepings waste from landfill. Street sweepings aren’t just waste. They contain valuable resources that we can use again. Biffa provides one of the most creative and sustainable waste management services in the UK, turning street junk into useful products.
Jaw Brew has created a zero-waste, low-alcohol beer made from leftover bread rolls. After much experimenting, the company created the award-winning ‘Hardtack’. And the company is working hard to reduce its packaging footprint to zero. Instead of using plastic can connectors, Jaw Brew uses biodegradable plastic made from prawn shells.
Linear businesses must become a thing of the past. And circular economy businesses have to be a major part of the future. After all, they can increase productivity, create jobs, reduce emissions and preserve raw materials.