Case Studies

Close The Loop

Background and circular economy

Since 2000, Close the Loop has provided sustainability solutions to help companies enhance corporate social responsibility programs. Initial programs focused on the design and management of ink and toner cartridge take-back, recovery, and reuse programs via partnerships with major print consumables brands such as HP, Canon, Lexmark, and Brother.

Close the Loop evolved throughout the years to incorporate take-back initiatives for the cosmetics and e-waste industries, in addition to their work with print consumables. They also expanded their capabilities to allow for the in-house production of recycled content products, such as asphalt improvement agent TonerPlas that is formed from post-consumer soft plastics and reclaimed toner powder.

Close the Loop focuses on the value retention aspect of circular economy value hill. They demonstrate a championing level of maturity in the circular economy (24/25). This maturity is built into a commitment to process monitoring, raising awareness of their stakeholders on environmental impacts, a built-in and formalized environmental management system, process quality measures.

In December of 2021, Close the Loop merged with forward-thinking packaging services provider O F Packaging to form Close the Loop Group, and subsequently list on the Australian Stock Exchange (CLG).

Drivers for circular economy adoption

The personal values and passion for sustainability of the founder drove the business's circular economy adoption. Furthermore, seeing the business potential and financial benefits through a circular model that drove its adoption, coupled with the market's appeal.

Circular economy practices adopted

  • Strictly following environmentally friendly practices
  • Recycling of used cartons
  • Design waste out of the operation
  • Refill used cartridges and send back to the market
  • Zero waste to landfill brand promise for all take-back programs
  • Creation of circular, recycled content products and focus on new markets

Company changes with the adoption of circular economy

Close The Loop adopted the circular economy model from the inception, and have being scaling up globally. With sites in Australia, Belgium and the United States, Close the Loop are well-positioned to recover a great breadth of hard-to-recycle products and materials.

Barriers and challenges

Barriers and challenges include:

  • Scarcity of suitable and capable human resources in Australia
  • Securing waste streams as inputs, in this case, used cartridges and the high transport costs for returning cartridges
  • Lack of supply chain integration and collaboration
  • Government support for infrastructure to secure waste streams
  • Government policies aimed towards circularity to secure waste streams
  • Unaligned policies, regulations, and standards for circular practices

Critical success factors for circular economy

Critical success factors include:

  • The vision and commitment of the founder
  • Developing a viable business model, with circularity built-in at all stages (design to recycling)
  • Digitalisation of the business model
  • Openness to learn and willingness to educate the workforce
  • Collaboration with stakeholders, education, and knowledge sharing
  • Integrating with suppliers and customers to gain their support and buy-in
  • Visibility to the (upstream) supply chain

Benefits of adopting a circular economy

Close the Loop have been able to grow the company and gain economic benefits by adopting the circular economy model, leading to the merger with O F Packaging, and listing on the ASX as part of Close the Loop Group. They have also become an employer of choice due to their reputation. Externally, marketing benefits and higher brand value have helped them to develop and retain an appreciative customer base who love eco-friendly products, and pass along this same value to clients. Gaining a competitive edge and being able to provide a good product at a lower cost to the customer are the key benefits.

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