Skip to content

90 – Does circular mean it’s sustainable?

Circular Economy Podcast - Ep90 Does circular mean sustainable?

Does circular mean it’s sustainable? Or, are companies just using circular economy solutions to grow their business (and their footprints)?

In this episode, Catherine Weetman wants to shine a light on something that’s been worrying her.

Over the last few years, she’s come to realise that the circular economy is not fit for purpose. It’s not helping create the future we need. Instead, it’s being watered down, and cherry picked. Catherine sees increasing numbers of businesses and policymakers choosing strategies that ARE circular – but aren’t improving sustainability. She’ll be talking about  loopholes, rather than loops…

Catherine says “I think we’re at a critical turning point. We need to evolve the circular economy into a framework that supports the future we want – the future we know is possible.

If we don’t, we’re letting all our work, our innovations, our struggles, go to waste. (And you don’t need me to remind you that waste shouldn’t exist in a circular economy!)”

Podcast host Catherine Weetman is a circular economy business advisor, workshop facilitator, speaker and writer.  Her award-winning book: A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business includes lots of practical examples and tips on getting started.  Catherine founded Rethink Global in 2013, to help businesses use circular, sustainable approaches to build a better business (and a better world).

Stay in touch for free insights and updates… 

Read on for a summary of the podcast and links to the people, organisations and other resources we mention.

 Don’t forget, you can subscribe to the podcast series on iTunes, Google Podcasts, PlayerFM, Spotify, TuneIn, or search for “circular economy” in your favourite podcast app.  Stay in touch to get free insights and updates, direct to your inbox…

You can also use our interactive, searchable podcast index to find episodes by sector, by region or by circular strategy. Plus, there is now a regular Circular Economy Podcast newsletter, so you get the latest episode show notes, links and transcript delivered to your inbox on Sunday morning, each fortnight. The newsletter includes a link to the episode page on our website, with an audio player. You can subscribe by clicking this link to update your preferences.

Links we mention in the episode:

Interview Transcript

Click here to open the transcript…

Want to find out more about the circular economy?

If you’d like to learn more about the circular economy and how it could help your business, why not listen to Episode 1, or read our guide: What is the Circular Economy

To go deeper, you could buy Catherine’s book, A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business. This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach, and includes hundreds of real examples from around the world, to help you really ‘get’ the circular economy.  Even better, you’ll be inspired with ideas to make your own business more competitive, resilient and sustainable. 

Please let us know what you think of the podcast – and we’d love it if you could leave us a review on iTunes, or wherever you find your podcasts.  Or send us an email

Podcast music

Thanks to Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, otherwise known as the brilliant, inventive and generous folk duo, O’Hooley & Tidow for allowing me to use the instrumentals from the live version of Summat’s Brewin’ as music for the podcast. You can find the whole track (inspired by the Copper Family song “Oh Good Ale”) on their album, also called Summat’s Brewin’.  Or, follow them on Twitter.

Ep92 Elmar Stroomer Africa Collect Textiles

92 Elmar Stroomer – circular textile solutions in Africa

Elmar Stroomer is the founder of Africa Collect Textiles (ACT). Africa Collect Textiles does exactly that – collecting used textiles across Africa, for reuse, recycling and upcycling. Elmar Stroomer has a strong background in the circular economy and design, and lived in Kenya and Uganda between 2012 and 2017 to get Africa Collect Textiles up and running. Now, Elmar is…
Ep91 Michael Smith RegenerationVC

91 Michael Smith – Investing in regenerative startups

Catherine is talking to Michael Smith, General Partner of Regeneration.VC, an investment fund set up earlier in 2022 that is investing in solutions addressing the climate emergency. The Regeneration.VC advisory board includes Bill McDonough, one of the early and leading thinkers on the circular economy, and co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. The board also…
Ep89 Simon Hombersley – Xampla

89 Simon Hombersley – plastics from plant protein

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, shares the story of how this Cambridge University spin-out has created the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use, pioneering the replacement of the most polluting plastics with natural alternatives. Xampla’s ambition is to become the leader in natural polymers, and it’s been developing its natural polymer resin over the past 15 years. The…
Ep88 Alexandra Rico-Lloyd – The Bike Club

88 Alexandra Rico-Lloyd – the Bike Club

Alexandra Rico-Lloyd is one of the UK’s circular economy entrepreneurs, and is passionate about inspiring the next generation to get active and outdoors. Alexandra says there are over 12.5 million unused kids bikes, just in the UK. That spurred her on to create Bike Club back in 2016, to provide a better way to cycle; better for the environment, better…

Leave a Reply