Explore 20 Circular Economy Startups to Watch (2024)

How are emerging technologies supporting the world’s transition to a circular economy? Meet the 20 hand-picked Circular Economy Startups to Watch for 2024 in this data-driven report and learn how their solutions enable circular fashion, waste to resource, circular materials trading, and much more!
As we step into 2024, a new wave of startups is leading the charge, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to redefine consumption and production. From innovative product take-back platforms that ensure products find a second life, to waste-to-resource solutions turning trash into treasure, the landscape is evolving rapidly.The fashion industry is getting a circular makeover with sustainable and recyclable designs, while reusable packaging initiatives are challenging the norms of disposability. Furthermore, the emergence of circular materials trading platforms is optimizing resource use, and the intriguing concept of mattress-as-a-service is reimagining product ownership. Dive in as we spotlight 20 circular economy startups that are setting the new standard for eco-conscious innovation in 2024.

20 Circular Economy Startups to Watch in 2024

Global Startup Heat Map highlights 20 Circular Economy Startups to Watch

Through the Big Data & Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering over 3 790 000+ startups & scaleups globally, we identified 1920 circular economy startups. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the 20 circular economy startups you should watch in 2024 as well as the geo-distribution of all energy startups & scaleups we analyzed for this research.

Based on the heat map, we see high startup activity in Europe and the USA, followed by India. These circular economy startups work on solutions ranging from waste to resource solutions and circular materials trading to reusable packaging and circular fashion. 
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 As the world’s largest resource for data on emerging companies, the SaaS platform enables you to identify relevant technologies and industry trends quickly & exhaustively. Based on the data from the platform, the Top 20 Circular Economy Startup Hubs are in London, New York, Berlin, Singapore, and Barcelona. The 20 hand-picked startups highlighted in this report are chosen from all over the world and develop solutions for second-life products, circular materials trading, waste to resource solutions, reusable packaging, and more.

Discover 20 Circular Economy Startups to Watch (2024)

numi.circular builds a Product Take Back Platform

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German startup develops numi.platform, a circular economy software offering product take-back programs to let brands reduce waste and open new revenue streams. Using the platform, customers are able to return used products to gain recovery points. numi.circular then automates the sorting and distribution of these products. It tracks all takebacks and generates impact reports for brands to measure their environmental efforts.

The startup gives brands access to pre-owned inventory that can then be resold, generating new sales opportunities while incentivizing customers through discounts to participate in take-back programs. Thus, numi.circular enables companies to adopt more sustainable practices through closing product lifecycles.

ZimbanjeX turns Biomass into Biochar

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is a startup from Zimbabwe that converts agricultural biomass waste into biochar. The process involves feeding biomass like stalks, husks, and shells into a pyrolysis machine. At high temperatures and without oxygen, this biomass undergoes a transformation in its structure.The end product, biochar, regenerates soil organically and traps carbon for centuries. It also finds use in cement production and as a bitumen substitute in road construction. Additionally, Zimbanjex sells carbon removal certificates to companies aiming to offset their emissions.

ReCircled advances Circular Fashion

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US-based startup develops an infrastructure that enables renewed usage of old clothes and accessories instead of heading to landfills or being shredded. The company’s process involves receiving apparel, sorting them using their proprietary method, and marking them as usable or unusable.Usable items undergo waterless CO2 cleaning and repair and get listed for resale on brand-specific platforms. Meanwhile, unusable items go to recycling partners, transforming into raw materials and new fabrics. This way, ReCircled effectively promotes circular economy within the fashion industry.

circular logistics offers Resuable Bike Packaging

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German startup makes BikeBox, a sustainable bike transport packaging made of durable polypropylene. This foldable box reduces to 1/8th its size, promoting continuous reuse and eliminating cardboard waste. Polypropylene ensures multiple reuses and offers 100% recyclability at the end of its lifecycle. The BikeBox‘s design facilitates easy assembly, mirroring traditional cardboard boxes. After delivery, circular logistics handles the box’s return, thus, promoting a waste-minimizing, closed-loop system.

Terra Bioindustries turns Agrifood Byproducts into B2B Inputs

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is a Canadian startup that upcycles agrifood byproducts into sustainable B2B inputs. The startup gently breaks down the outer layer of spent grains to extract protein and sugars. Terra Bioindustries then converts this separated protein into a dried sustainable plant-based ingredient, Protina. Similarly, the sugars turn into fermentation feedstock. The spent grain sugar solution supports the precision fermentation of algae and mycelium.

Circular in Motion simplifies Circular Materials Trading

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Dutch startup develops an e-commerce platform, Cirinmo, for buying and selling certified circular materials. Through embedded blockchain certificates, the platform provides proof of origin for the circular products and chain of custody data for higher recycled products across the supply chain. This way, Circular in Motion enables companies to connect in a secure digital environment, generate business, and create value chains around circular economy.

Ourobio upcycles Industrial Byproducts to Resins & Additives

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is a US-based startup that develops engineered microorganisms and uses them to transform industrial byproducts into biodegradable plastic resins and additives. These microbes produce multiple bio-based materials through the company’s proprietary process involving a singular fermentation.One of the examples is using dairy processing byproducts to produce bio-based plastic resins and pigments. Thus, Ourobio converts organic waste from various industries into bio-based chemicals and sustainable materials.

EnvoProtect converts Waste Plastic to Green Energy

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Indian startup upcycles waste plastic to envoBRIQ, which is the company’s biomass briquette, and envoFUEL, a biofuel. Both products are made out of landfill waste, especially from recycled paper mills.

EnvoProtect segregates this waste and puts it into a reactor for further depolymerization. This process results in sustainable fuels which are used in boilers and furnaces as a replacement for coal. Thus, enabling the transition to green energy.

MATR provides Mattress-as-a-Service

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is a startup based out of Austria that enables hotels to reduce their environmental footprint by offering mattress as a service. Once the mattresses’ lives are over, the startup collects them. It then takes the components apart and most of the components re-enter into the material loop to be fully recycled. Thus, MATR mattresses do not end up in the waste but are continually returned to the material cycle. This leads to a lower CO2 footprint than conventional mattresses.

Takataka Plastics converts Plastic Waste into Consumer Products

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Ugandan startup upcycles plastic waste to foster circular economy. The startup uses its proprietary technology to process plastic waste, especially polyethylene terephthalate (PET). By transforming this waste, it produces durable tiles, TakaTiles. Other circular products include TakaPot, an eco-friendly flower pot, and TakaPH, a modular phone holder, TakaChair, and more — all made from recycled plastics.

  

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Solv4 Energy produces Clean Biofuels

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Canadian startup converts garbage into clean biofuels through gasification. The startup converts municipal solid waste into a homogeneous blend of raw materials at a specific caloric value. The feedstock then reacts at high temperatures under the controlled presence of oxygen, turning the blend into gas.Solv4 Energy’s proprietary gas modification unit (GMU) cools the gas and produces biofuels like methane and ethane. Additionally, the process produces hydrogen to run the gasifier. The startup thus enables circularity by providing an advanced waste remediation solution while producing clean fuels.

LICO advances Battery Recycling

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is an Indian startup that recycles end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. Through a mechanical shredding process, the startup shreds spent lithium-ion batteries and crushes them into fine sizing. It then uses magnetic separation, vibration screens, and multiple sieving techniques to separate plastic, steel, aluminum, copper, and black mass. This process ensures zero waste while also maximizing material recovery from the spent batteries.Moreover, LICO treats the black mass using a proprietary hydrometallurgy process to separate compounds of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese. Finally, the startup supplies back the recovered compounds and battery raw materials to lithium-ion battery manufacturers, delivering a second life.

Octa enables Automotive Circular Economy

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Brazilian startup design a circular marketplace platform for the automotive industry. Its qualification and pricing system allows companies to sell their end-of-life vehicles for the best offer. At the same time, the buyers receive insights into how much CO2 emissions they save as a result of buying end-of-life vehicles instead of new ones.Additionally, Octa offers reverse logistics solutions for repairable automotive parts to expand their lifetime, further contributing to circularity.

Filaret makes Compostable 3D Printing Filaments

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is an Estonian startup that organizes the collection of cigarette butt waste by renting and selling its branded cigarette bin, buttbox. The startup also collects cigarette butts from partners and individuals. Its upcycling process separates the filters from cigarette butts as well as detoxifies and washes them.

It adds additives and other nature-friendly polymers and then melts them together to produce compostable plastic granules. The startup turns these granules into nature-friendly 3D printing filaments. This promotes sustainable additive manufacturing in various industries.

THE UPCYCL aids Waste Material Exchange

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Danish startup develops a waste material exchange platform for businesses. It identifies continuous waste materials with circular potential in the production stream. The platform then showcases these materials, making them available for potential partners.This way, the startup enables the matching and selling of industrial waste materials. Consequently, THE UPCYCL extends the life of otherwise discarded industrial waste.

UPCYBOM facilitates Textile Upcycling

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is a Hong Kong-based startup that makes a textile upcycling platform. It enables manufacturers to manage and upcycle their dead inventories by showcasing them to apparel brands.At the same time, the platform allows the brands to buy these inventories and utilize them for making garments instead of buying new fabrics. Therefore, UPCYBOM promotes the circular economy by reducing textile waste and allowing apparel brands to source raw materials sustainably.

COFFEE RESURRECT promotes Coffee Waste Upcycling

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Ethiopian startup upcycles coffee waste into natural ingredients for nutraceutical, functional food, and personal care products. The startup collects spent coffee grounds from restaurants and cafes. It then deploys a proprietary technology using supercritical carbon dioxide to extract essential elements from the waste like lipids, proteins, sugars, polyphenols, tocopherols, and antioxidants.At the end of the process, it produces coffee oil, fiber, and flour. The byproducts also act as a base for various personal care products and toiletries. This way, the startup effectively tackles coffee waste and creates a positive environmental impact.

Sykell provides Reusable Packaging

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is a German startup that manufactures bisphenol A (BPA)-free reusable containers for packaging. The startup utilizes a recyclable monocomposite to make these containers. To effectively track the movement of these containers, it develops a reusables-as-a-service platform that complies with reusable obligation §33 VerpackG.This creates an open and centrally controlled return and cleaning system as well as ensures transparent inventory management. By providing reusable containers, Sykell replaces single-use packaging and advances circular packaging.

Orobo facilitates Value Chain Tracking

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Singaporean startup allows businesses to measure, track, scale, and validate the environmental impact of their activities. The startup’s blockchain-based platform tracks supply chains to pinpoint value loss and highlight opportunities for resource recovery. It also records the use cycle and composition of materials. The platform then validates each party’s compliance with the code of conduct by verifying the logged data through a peer-to-peer (P2P) or third-party verification model.This ensures regulation of the value chain by standard circular governance. Moreover, Orobo provides rewards for compliance with circularity and penalizes non-compliance. This ensures a clear understanding of the benefits of a circular ecosystem through incentives.

Twig encourages Sustainable Payments

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is a UK-based startup that develops Twig Pay, an integrated online payment wallet. It allows consumers to pay using the monetary worth of their pre-owned physical items. This encourages zero waste practices, releasing value from pre-owned items and extending their life cycle.

Additionally, the startup’s platform, For the Earth, enables conscious shopping by allowing customers to track and offset the environmental impact of their online shopping.

Discover All Emerging Circular Economy Startups

The Circular Economy startups showcased in this report are only a small sample of all startups we identified through our data-driven startup scouting approach. Download our free Circular Economy Innovation Report for a broad overview of the industry or get in touch for quick & exhaustive research on the latest technologies & emerging solutions that will impact your company in 2024!

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