examples and case studies
Having grasped the urgency for change, several companies are at the forefront of this revolution that have resolutely embraced the principles of the circular economy and are still driving innovation toward more sustainable business solutions.
Presented below are some of the most interesting companies that are leading this circular revolution in every sphere of the economy.
- ORANGE FIBER
From orange juice, fabrics are made. It’s not magic: it’s the unique technology coined by Orange Fiber to create circular yarns from Italian citrus waste. Did you know that “the pulp,” or what’s left after citrus juice production, accounts for 60% of the fresh fruit’s weight? Through their transparent processes and supply chain, Orange Fiber recovers this food industry waste and turns it into perfect fabrics for brands and designers who really care about sustainability.
A made-to-measure jeans, designed to fit every body shape, created to express everyone’s originality. In response to the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and the production of jeans, Candiani gives a unique experience in the heart of Milan by offering high quality and sustainable service. Their jeans are made using components produced in Italy within a 238 km radius, biodegradable and compostable materials, free of toxic substances, to enable virtuous end-of-life solutions.
- INFINITED FIBER
Textile circularity will become an everyday reality with Infinited Fiber. Their goal is to make people wear clothes that have been made in harmony with nature. As of today, they are working to build the first circular fiber factory Infinna™, that will go on the market in 2026. The factory will have a production capacity of 30 thousand tons per year of this particular fiber, equivalent to the production of 100 million classic fiber T-shirts. Infinna™ fiber resembles virgin cotton but is born from textile waste and is completely natural and circular.
Food and beverage
Through the development of bioplastics and bioproducts from renewable sources, Novamont contributes to the protection and restoration of ecosystems. Organic waste, which would otherwise be abandoned in landfills, is transformed into compostable bioplastic that can be applied in different areas: for example, in the packaging of crops for the market, in supermarkets as bags or gloves in the fruit and vegetable department. After its use, it can be disposed of in wet waste collection, sent for recycling and then become fertile compost.
- EXTRA CAVIRO
Great things can come from processing grapes, and no, we’re not just talking about wine! Extra Caviro embraces the principles of circularity by valorizing the by-products of Italian agro-industrial supply chains. Every year it collects about 624 thousand tons of production waste, translating them into semi-finished products and raw materials for agronomic, industrial, pharmaceutical and food companies. There is also talk of energy production from renewable sources, such as bioethanol obtained from the by-products of the wine supply chain. Another example, from red pomace it is possible to obtain a natural alternative to dye for beverages and food products: your ice cream can be completely plant-based!
Giving new value to food is easy with Recup: an association committed to combating food waste, the climate crisis and social exclusion through the active participation of the whole community. Their projects incentivize citizens and businesses to give unsold food a second chance through markets, to bring out children’s creativity in workshops related to food education and the circular economy, such as learning to create natural colors from fruit and vegetable scraps.
Technology and innovation
Recycle the unrecyclable. How? With TerraCycle! The American startup founded in 2001 with a mission to “eliminate the idea of waste,” creates innovative solutions in recycling, recycled content and reuse. TerraCycle stands out in the recycling world by taking care of waste that local household recycling centers usually do not accept. This is made possible by partnering with brands, retailers and other interested parties willing to finance the recycling process.
Can blockchain be used for supply chain traceability and circularity? Yes, with Circularise it is possible to facilitate the exchange of data between suppliers and customers on the origin, manufacture, composition of products, emissions generated by the business, and more. Thanks to their technology, sensitive data can be exchanged without privacy or confidentiality risks; in fact, Circularise does not store the information but functions as a digital passport. Their goal is very simple: to promote the circular model worldwide starting with the exchange of information.
- GREY PARROT
Founded in 2019 with the goal of harnessing artificial intelligence to transform perceptions of waste, viewing it no longer as mere waste, but as valuable resources to be enhanced. By providing data on the composition of waste in real time, recognizing the product, material, and brand, Grey Parrot makes it possible to address the growing waste crisis and increase recycling rates by digitizing the waste management sector.
Monitoring and measuring waste is possible with ReLearn, an innovative company that, thanks to the NANDO sensor, provides data on the quantity and quality of each type of waste, including the recycling rate. This device, which can be easily installed in any trash container, enables companies and institutions to raise employee awareness toward a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle and improve corporate waste management.
By combining mycelium, the vegetative stage of fungi, with other agro-industrial wastes, biomaterials can be obtained. From their processing, products can be made that can be applied to different sectors: packaging, automotive, textiles and leather. Mogu is committed to managing its production processes using low-value materials, which have no other valid application in the industry, giving them a new value: PLUMA is the collection of panels, 100% circular and of biological origin, designed for interior wall coverings.
The future is circular and biomimetic with Biohm. Inspired by nature, they create architectural and construction solutions in harmony with environmental, economic and human needs. Their designs are made from bio-based materials: for example, insulation from mycelium, interior furniture or lampshades from organic waste such as oranges, grass clippings and coffee. Innovation and creativity thus help develop building projects that minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency by promoting a sustainable future.
- STONE CYCLING
From an awareness of the environmental impact of the construction industry, contributing to global waste generation and carbon emissions, comes the desire to make construction sustainable. By reusing waste construction materials and studying ecosystems, Stone Cycling offers virtuous alternatives for the production of bricks, facades and concrete. Some examples? The facades of the Sands End Arts & Community Centre in London, enabling the recycling of 28,000 kg of landfill waste; the bricks of the offices of the Dutch company Adyen in Amsterdam, recycling 77,250 kg of waste.
Packaging and plastic
Goodbye single-use plastic: circular economy as a tool to produce reusable packaging. This is the challenge of Movopack, the startup that offers e-commerce companies and consumers an alternative, sustainable and circular solution. Movo is not destined to become waste; anyone can decide, for various reasons, to return the envelope or box received and give it a new life: all it takes is to mail Movo in any mailbox, and from anywhere in the world.
Polyurethane waste from industrial processing, automotive, and furniture can be saved from landfills and turned into eco-friendly mattresses thanks to startup ReMat, part of the IrenUp group. In other words, your old car seats can become vehicle padding, thermal insulation or semi-finished products for mattresses, and much more!
If you are a company or supplier looking for a global marketplace for recycled materials and plastic waste, or are simply interested in circularity, Cirplus enables its safe, traceable, and cost-effective online purchase and sale.
“Sustainable down to the hair”. From the agri-food waste of apples and hazelnuts to the formulation of skin and hair products. Not only care in material selection, Naste is also committed to reducing its environmental impact in manufacturing, choosing sustainable energy sources and processing water recovery systems, and in packaging, using recycled and recyclable materials. Their commitment does not stop with the environment; the social fabric also takes on value with collaboration with social cooperatives in the area, generating employment and positive impacts for disadvantaged and disabled categories of individuals.
From research on circular bioeconomy to the production of bio-cosmetics with organic waste. Born from university research, Biocastanea is a line of ecological and certified organic cosmetics based on PGI-certified chestnut husk extract from Mount Amiata. The special feature of this product is the benefits obtained from the extraction of the chestnut husk, in fact we are not talking about cosmetics but cosmeceuticals, that is, bioactive cosmetics like pharmaceuticals.
Commitment to using recovered and recycled ingredients, helping to reduce waste and promote the circular economy, are hallmarks of cosmetics company UpCircle, also B Corp. certified since 2022. Mainly their ingredients come from food industry waste: coffee grounds, blueberry juices, date seeds, residual fruit waters. Their efforts also focus on packaging, 99% plastic-free, refill services are offered to encourage customers to recycle and reuse as well.
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