What is Closed Loop Recycling?

What is Closed Loop Recycling?

If you’ve landed on this blog post, you were probably searching for information about closed loop recycling. Businesses across the nation are investing in opportunities to become part of a closed loop economy. Your business could have the resources available to start the process. So what exactly is closed loop recycling? Let’s take a look at the process and how your company can invest in a circular economy.


Many companies currently operate on an open loop or linear recycling model. Through open loop, materials are recycled into new products or discarded as waste. There is a finite beginning and end to the product’s lifespan, thus allowing for an open loop recycling process. While materials are sometimes recycled to create new products, many components (such as label stickers or bottle caps) are not recyclable and end up in landfills.

The first major concept of a closed loop economy system is that it produces no waste. Products are used, recycled, and often reused for the same purpose or converted back into raw materials. Every part of the product is recyclable, and materials go through an endless lifespan of being used and reused. This creates the ‘closed loop’ model.

Another major component of closed loop recycling is that it prioritizes sustainability. For example, products are often created specifically for the closed loop economy. Aluminum cans are examples of materials that can be used and reused over and over again. The process of recycling aluminum cans to create new ones requires significantly less energy than producing cans from raw materials. The decrease in energy usage and diversion of materials from landfills contributes to sustainable solutions.

Companies that invest in a closed loop economy are investing in their bottom line. However, it does take a bit of work and research to identify ways your business can get involved. Sustainability starts at product and package design, and it may take an open mind to determine opportunities for a closed loop system. This is where other companies come into play. By partnering with or following the examples of industry-leading, closed loop businesses, you could contribute to saving materials, reducing waste, and cutting overall economy costs.


You may not know it, but some of the most well-known companies are actively participating in a closed loop model. Keep in mind, these are companies that are producing products with the intention of having them recycled and returned to create new, similar products. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular businesses adapting a closed loop supply chain.

Nike – Within the past decade, Nike has made significant changes to their processes to promote sustainability and a circular approach. From product manufacturing to packaging, Nike has

made strides in the way their goods are produced and packaged. The company has made significant changes to both their stores and manufacturing plants in order to minimize waste. Nike also encourages customers to recycle old athletic sneakers (from any brand) through their Move to Zero initiative. To read more about their commitment to eliminating waste, check out this webpage.

Dell – “Discarding the idea of waste” is a statement directly from the Dell website. As a leader in designing sustainable products, Dell is recognized as one of the biggest proponents for a closed loop economy. They encourage their customers to recycle or return their products so the parts can be reused to create new computers. Whatever Dell can’t use to repair or remanufacture goods is given to their recycling partners for responsible solutions. To read more about their effort to advance sustainability, check out their webpage on recycled materials.

H&M – H&M is one of the more recent companies to transition some of their products into a closed loop system. In April of 2016, the Conscious Collection was launched in an effort to provide clothing and accessories made from sustainable materials. H&M had previously launched jeans made from recycled materials, but the Conscious Collection was a collection of products launched specifically for sustainable solutions.

Although the Conscious Collection was unveiled in 2016, H&M had been working toward closing the loop for three years prior. The garment collecting program was introduced in 2013 and has since collected tens of thousands of unwanted clothing and textiles. After the clothing is collected, it is transferred to I:CO, an H&M business partner. The H&M website states that from there, boxes are emptied and sorted into three categories:

Rewear: Wearable clothes are marketed as secondhand clothing.
Reuse: If the clothes or textiles are not suitable for rewear, they’re turned into other

products, such as remake collections or cleaning cloths.

Recycle: All other clothes and textiles are shredded into textile fibers and used to make, for example, insulation materials.

Even if your business isn’t a large-scale operation, a closed loop supply chain could exist for your processes. It is worth noting that it does take a monetary investment to be fully committed to a closed loop system. It’s also a team effort that will require a commitment from leadership, including the CEO and/or President, to make the transition. However, a circular approach could turn into an opportunity for your business to reduce waste, save money on manufacturing and efficiencies, and establish a reputation for sustainability.


Quincy Recycle has years of experience working with different organizations across a wide variety of industries. We partner with companies across the nation to distribute and recycle materials. So what does this mean for you and your desire for a circular approach?
This means we can provide a zero-waste audit and connect your used materials with businesses that can reuse them. Our experienced teams will work with you to develop a closed-loop plan that evaluates processes and meets your goals.

We’ll also recommend the best recycling equipment for your operation. Balers, conveyors, shredders, compactors, and choppers are available for purchase, rent, or lease to fit within the parameters of your budget. Whether you’re looking to switch to a more circular system or are simply wanting to reduce waste, our knowledgeable sales staff will provide equipment solutions that meet your needs.

Using innovation and experience, our team will help you create a more sustainable waste management process within your organization. Together, we can cut down on wasted resources and contribute to a more sustainable economy.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for the latest in industry news, commercial sustainability information, employee spotlights, and more! Use the subscription box to the right of this post to stay up-to-date on all things Quincy Recycle.