Circular Economy

Examples of Circular Economy: 10 corporate initiatives to explore

We find out how companies are integrating circular principles into their business models

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Green Marketer

Circularity rate of companies is on the rise

The recent study ‘Circular Economy 2022’ conducted by the POLIMI Graduate School of Management, revealed that 57% of Italian companies have adopted at least one Circular Economy practice by 2022.

Many of these have invested in the Circularity rate of companies on the rise in the implementation of circular initiatives.

These data highlight how the Circular Economy and its related models are becoming a key strategy for companies, regardless of their size, to achieve economic benefits and minimise the environmental impact of their production processes.

10 examples of companies adopting the Circular Economy

Esploriamo dieci esempi di Economia Circolare messi in atto da diverse realtà e con diverse finalità, dalle soluzioni per estendere la durata dei prodotti, a quelli che si basano sulla valorizzazione degli scarti e sull’efficienza delle risorse:

Let’s explore ten examples of Circular Economy implemented by different companies and with different purposes, from solutions to extend the life of products, to those based on waste utilisation and resource efficiency:

  • Perpetua: innovation and sustainability in a pencil.
  • Econyl: transforming fishing nets into sustainable textiles.
  • Caviro: sustainability in the wine sector.
  • Cartacrusca by Favini and Barilla: paper from the by-product of wheat milling.
  • Freitag: new life for truck tarpaulins.
  • Lavazza: zero-impact coffee.
  • Tetra Pak: the valorisation of polyaluminium waste.
  • Ferrero: from core to sustainable EcoPaper.
  • CIRFOOD and Gruppo Hera: the valorisation of food waste.
  • Sfridoo: the matchmaking platform for a more circular economy.

Perpetua: the pencil that combines innovation and sustainability


The Perpetua brand is a shining example of how innovation and sustainability can converge

Their unique pencil is made using recycled graphite powder, offering not only a sustainable solution but also a high-quality design product.

The company is constantly researching and developing new approaches to giving materials a second life and designing increasingly sustainable and circular designs.

Econyl: turning fishing net waste into textiles


Econyl represents a breakthrough in the textile industry.

Developed by Aquafil, a leading manufacturer of polyamide 6 and recycled yarns, Econyl is a yarn for carpets and garments.

Specifically, it is a nylon fabric that is produced by recycling materials such as discarded fishing nets, fabric scraps and plastic waste.

These materials, which pose a threat to marine ecosystems, are transformed in this way into a high-quality fabric.

The idea behind this is to create a completely circular production cycle, where each product, at the end of its useful life, can be regenerated and transformed into something new.

Caviro: sustainability in the wine sector


Caviro is a cooperative committed to the valorisation of by-products of the wine industry.

The company transforms these materials into valuable products such as alcohol, tartar and concentrated must.

In addition, Caviro is also dedicated to the production of renewable energy through anaerobic fermentation in biodigesters.

With constant commitment, Caviro has achieved a high level of circularity performance, achieving 99% valorisation of waste, achieving complete energy self-sufficiency and saving approximately 102,000 tonnes of CO2 (Source: Caviro Sustainability Report).

Favini and Barilla: from bran to paper


Favini, a leading paper manufacturer, and Barilla, a major agrifood group in Italy, have collaborated to create an innovative paper using lacrusca, a by-product of wheat milling.

Cartacrusca has a reduced environmental impact and uses 17% bran instead of wood-derived cellulose.

The innovative aspect of Cartacrusca is that it retains properties very similar to traditional paper and can be made in different grammages suitable for different uses.

This initiative aims to turn waste into a valuable resource, demonstrating how quality products can be made from production waste.

Freitag: new life for truck tarpaulins


Freitag is a Swiss company renowned for producing bags and accessories made from recycled truck tarpaulins.

The company has been committed to sustainability and innovation for over 20 years, with the aim of creating high quality products that are also low impact on the environment.

By using recycled materials, Freitag not only contributes to waste reduction but also reinvents tarpaulins, turning them into exclusive design products.

Each new product is in fact unique, as the tarpaulins used vary in colour, text and weave.

In the same way as traditional tarpaulins, the material is made of a high-strength fabric with a water-repellent and dirt-repellent coating.

These products are designed to withstand the harsh conditions of daily use and to be broken down again, at the end of their life cycle, into their basic components, facilitating their reuse for new applications.

Lavazza: coffee with zero impact


The two companies Novamont spa and Lavazza have entered into a strategic partnership to develop a compostable coffee capsule.

This ambitious project took five years of intensive research and development, culminating in the launch of the product on the market in 2015.

The capsule, made of MATER-BI and patented by Lavazza, is a 100% Italian product and an example of how partnerships between companies can create sustainable solutions.

The innovation introduced by the two groups focuses specifically on the end-of-life phase of the product.

The collaboration with NOVAMONT has resulted in a capsule designed for wet waste collection, which can be directed to industrial composting.

In this process both the capsule and the spent coffee are transformed into valuable compost and natural fertiliser for the soil.

This initiative contributes to reducing the production of undifferentiated waste and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Tetrapack: the future of valorisation


Tetra Pak, a leading manufacturer of food containers, has launched an innovative initiative in Italy.

The company has collaborated with EcoRevive and Ecoplasteam, innovative companies specialised in recycling technology, to potentially valorise poly-aluminium (PolyAl) waste in Europe.

In the past, this material was frequently relegated to the rank of waste, constituting a significant inefficiency factor in the production process.

Now, thanks to new technologies and processes, PolyAl is being recovered and transformed into new useful objects, such as pallets, containers and benches, demonstrating how production waste can become a valuable resource.

Ferrero: EcoPaper project


The well-known company Ferrero has embarked on a path towards sustainability and the Circular Economy, valorising hazelnut waste and transforming it into valuable nutraceutical products.

Through this process, it is possible to obtain, among others, high-quality hazelnut oil, applied in both the cosmetic and nutraceutical sectors.

The company’s commitment was realised in the EcoPaper project, an effective synergy with the packaging companies Stora Enso Barcelona (Spain) and Papiertechnische Stiftung (Germany).

The aim of the collaboration is to design sustainable and economical packaging by reusing production residues of hazelnut shells and cocoa beans.

Incorporated within the framework of the Eco-Innovation Initiative of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), the project aims to ensure the high quality of raw material for the paper industry by reducing the use of virgin cellulose fibres and thus minimising environmental impact.

CIRFOOD and Hera Group: turning food waste into resources


CIRFOOD and Gruppo Hera have embarked on a collaboration aimed at a more sustainable future.

In 2022, the two companies signed an agreement to work together to promote the Circular Economy, environmental sustainability and sustainable mobility, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the UN 2030 Agenda.

The goal goes beyond reducing environmental impact, and also includes raising community awareness of the importance of the Circular Economy and sustainability.

Specifically, organic waste from catering outlets will be used to produce biomethane and compost, while used vegetable oils will be used to produce hydrogenated biofuel.

In parallel, the two companies will investigate alternatives to single-use plastic and plastic recycling strategies, while ensuring food safety and a lower environmental impact.

This also includes a joint commitment to separate waste collection and waste management practices.

Sfridoo: the matchmaking platform for a more circular economy

Sfridoo, an Italian company committed to the Circular Economy, supports small, medium and large industrial companies in implementing their waste management processes by adopting various innovative solutions.

Sfridoo offers targeted services to valorise production residues and waste and employs state-of-the-art cloud solutions in materials management.

This approach enables companies to achieve significant benefits in terms of cost savings and environmental sustainability.

Thanks to its work and the continuous expansion of its network of circular companies, Sfridoo has achieved the following results on its platform:

  • More than 102 million kilograms of resources placed on the platform.
  • More than 5 million euros saved for the companies in the network.
  • More than 12,500 tonnes per year of waste diverted from landfill.
  • More than 2,500 companies are part of the network.
Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Green Marketer

One of the challenges of the Circular Economy is to be able to communicate clearly and effectively the benefits that this economic model can bring to companies. By investing in this aspect, we can increase awareness and knowledge in people.