5 amazing examples of the circular economy in 2023



I have been obsessed with waste since I looked at the statistics of things we throw into landfills.

To me, the amount of waste we generate to make products has been eye-opening.

In 16 seconds, a pile of clothes the height of the Eifel Tower goes to a landfill. It is ridiculous.

So I have spent the week researching companies that want to improve things.

Last week I talked about the linear economy and its global impact. Today, I want to follow up with five examples of the circular economy strategies used in large organizations to minimize the impact on Earth.

A quick disclaimer, I am not sponsored in any way by any of these organizations.

If you are in a rush, just jump to the before you go section at the bottom to read my takeaways.


It didn’t take me long to have a look at this one.

I bought a pair of Vivobarefoot shoes back in December 2022. 

I did that because I wanted to move into zero heel drop as I have been struggling with my ankle mobility, and I thought it would improve it.

What I didn’t know at the time is that they have quite an interesting sustainability policy.

They want to make us connect with nature and feel more human.

The materials used in their trainers and shoes must have a genuine ecological story and reason for their use.

They must be:

  • Natural: Using leather from sustainable sources to minimize water and chemical use in its treatment.
  • Recycled: PET and rubbers to minimize the use of virgin materials, also the necessary energy involved in the process of creating those.
  • Durable: No point in making a shoe that lasts a couple of months if they want to make a positive impact.
  • Local: This is to activate the local economies and minimize logistical costs.

What I love about them is that they have a repurchase program called Revivo. They buy back your old shoes and refurbish them to be sold again.

I love the shoes, and I love what they stand for, I will be buying more in the future for sure.


I bought my office in IKEA when we moved to our current house. In fact, we bought pretty much everything there apart from the living room furniture.

But this is not about me, it’s about what they are doing to improve things.

IKEA has committed to becoming a fully circular business by 2030.

In their sustainability report for the 2021 financial year, they declared the following:

  • Climate footprint decreased by 5.8% compared to the 2016 financial year. It means 1.6 tonnes less CO2.
  • Introduced a 35% more energy-efficient LED bulb that is also cheaper.
  • They introduced a new plant-based mince for home cooking.
  • They started offering more water-efficient taps and are developing a solution to recycle showers.
  • They committed to phasing out plastic from consumer packaging by 2028.
  • 56% of the materials sourced in the 2021 financial year were renewable, and 17% were recycled.
  • They provide over 18 million spare parts through refurbishment and buy-back programmes.
  • Achieved 100% renewable electricity in 10 new markets.
  • Launched a programme to encourage 1600 direct suppliers to transition to renewable energies.
  • By 2030 at least one-third of the wood used in IKEA products will come from recycled sources.

What I like the most is the ramifications into the supply chain. If they manage to get 1600 suppliers to at least consume 50% of energy from renewable sources, can you imagine the impact that will have?


I really like Tech.

I don’t mind spending money on a powerful computer or laptop. I use it every day, whether that is to write articles, edit videos, code, research, or entertainment.

The problem is keeping up with tech, especially if you want the latest releases.

So I had to find a company that would combine the beauty of tech with a conscious mind, and I landed at Raylo.

“Raylo doesn’t sell devices. It leases them” is the slogan of their sustainability page.

The big corporations make money from selling you new releases each year, sometimes the change between a model and the year after is just the form factor!

Every second, 800 laptops are dumped into landfill.

I checked their Macbook Pro 2023 14-inch M2 deal for a 36 months lease, and it’s bang on below $2000, which is the retail price.

It’s like getting 0% finance on your equipment while you save the planet.

I will definitely be using them in the future.


I had to find at least one clothing company to prove not all manufacturers are greedy capitalists, and I arrived at Vigga.

Vigga was incepted as a circular concept. The idea was establishing a consumption cycle around sharing and circulating high-quality clothes.

They offer a subscription model for children’s clothes where you receive 20 pieces for your children to wear.

Did you know that, on average, a parent spends $60 a month on children’s clothes?

The idea is once they start feeling tight, you send the pack back, and they upgrade you to the next size.

The clothes are professionally cleaned and inspected to ensure you get almost a brand-new product with your delivery.

If only me and my wife would have done a bit of research at the time! She spent most of her time on Facebook Marketplace and eBay, trying to find good deals to not spend so much on clothes.


Since I spent several years working in the automotive industry, I also wanted to find out what the big manufacturers are doing today to make Earth a better place.

In my search, I found the following from SKODA in its sustainability report FY2020.

Their program, goTozero, is the mission they set to accomplish by 2030 where:

  • They want to achieve CO2 neutrality in energy consumption.
  • Improve Air Quality by increasing its market share with electric vehicles
  • Use fewer resources through the utilization of renewable energies not only in the car’s manufacturing but also through its lifecycle (Green electricity, second battery lives…)

Something I found really interesting in the report is how they use OPTIKON (an AI solution) to maximize the space used within a container.

The software allows the operators to locate containers and pallets in their optimal position and maximize the space used

It’s like having a Tetris cheat code. They claim within the first 6 months of 2020, they could increase space utilization by three cubic meters per unit, which saved 151 container shipments which correspond to 80 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Before you go…

It’s clear more and more companies are incorporating sustainability strategies to become Net Zero, but there is a long way to go.

As an engineer, from the previous examples, I take the following information:

  • There are several models or strategies we can incorporate
  • Some companies focus on increasing the product’s life for as long as possible using refurbishing techniques like Raylo.
  • Some other companies use sharing as a vehicle to reduce consumption, and the clothing industry is most likely going down this route, as we saw with Vigga.
  • Design for remanufacture or disassembly seems to be another option used by big manufacturers, Vivobarefoot and IKEA are vouching for this approach.

These different points are not exclusive. I am sure, in general, most companies will adopt a hybrid model to combine these different strategies.

If you liked this post, check these out:

Leave a Comment