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14 questions for a more circular business model

Developing a circular business model isn’t just a way to contribute to a better world – it’s also a smart business strategy. In a time where resources are becoming increasingly limited and consumer awareness of the environment is growing, sustainable business ideas have proven to be more profitable in the long run.

Entrepreneurs and companies that successfully incorporate circularity into their business are the ones building strong, resilient brands ready to meet the challenges of the future. By creating sustainable business ideas, we’re not only helping solve some of society’s biggest challenges, but also generating value and innovation that will last far into the future. Sounds good, right?

What is circularity?

In a linear economy, the principle of ‘take-produce-dispose’ leads to significant waste and resource inefficiency. Circular economy, on the other hand, revolves around creating systems where all materials are reused, and nothing goes to waste or is discarded. In a circular business model, you aim to minimize waste by designing products and processes in ways that enable reuse, repair, and remanufacturing. This approach not only reduces environmental impact but also creates new business opportunities and deeper levels of customer engagement.

It’s all about keeping material consumption and flows in as small ‘loops’ as possible. Recycling should be seen as a last resort, when all other possibilities have been exhausted and the product is completely consumed. In a circular economy, there is no waste, and therefore landfilling or incineration are not options.

So, what do you need to consider already in the ideation phase to create the most sustainable and circular business model possible?

Here are 14 questions for a more circular business model:


Do we need the product at all?

Can I create a service based on the need instead? For example, rental, leasing, or subscription?


Can I make existing flows and processes more sustainable?

Can I manufacture and transport products so they use less energy from more sustainable sources? And can I think smarter about packaging and delivery to reduce emissions?


Can I simplify the choice for the customer towards a more circular alternative?


Can my idea replace a non-circular/unsustainable product or service on the market?


What materials do I intend to use?

Can I utilize recycled materials instead of newly produced ones? Where can I find them?


How can I design the product with circularity in mind from the start?

Can I create opportunities for the customer to replace broken parts, repair, upgrade?


How can I build a business idea around repair and upgrading?


Can I extend the lifespan of my product and how?


What happens to the product when it's consumed?

Can it become material for another product or can parts of it be turned into a new product?


How do I create a positive feeling for my customer?

How do I get the customer to help and make the product or service more circular, for example, through engagement in product development, during repair, product take-back, feedback, and so on?


Can I educate the customer in repairing the product themselves?


How can I offer the opportunity to upgrade, update, renew the product with minor changes?


Which manufacturers, suppliers, and partners can I collaborate with that have a 'circular focus'?

Can I join forces with others to facilitate my business idea becoming more circular?


How do I create a product that stands the test of time and doesn't become outdated?

Science Park helps you on the path towards an idea that makes a difference – for real

Did you find this inspiring? Then you should take advantage of our free coaching and share more about your idea with one of our business developers. We look forward to helping you delve deeper into and develop your circular business idea. Together, we take the next step towards creating something that benefits both the planet and your future profitability. 💜♻️