Many Mavens
Many Mavens
A design collective bending the line, closing the loop, designing futures

Circular Design: A Short Introduction

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Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was established in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, establishing the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government and academia. 

Further reading: Full Circle, Ellen MacArthur

Circular Economy

Looking beyond the current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

Circular Design


The next big thing in design is circular.


Extracted from the Circular Design Guide, a collaboration between the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and IDEO, a global design company committed to creating positive impact.



A new mind-set for business is emerging. It’s worth around a trillion dollars, will drive innovation in tomorrow’s companies, and reshape every part of our lives.


But making the shift isn’t easy. That’s why we created this guide: to help innovators create more elegant, effective, creative solutions for the circular economy. Solutions that are invaluable for people, give businesses a competitive advantage, and are regenerative for our world.


Closed Loop Case Studies

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Patagonia Recycled Down

Patagonia Recycled Down

G.F. Smith Extract Paper

G.F. Smith Extract Paper


Philips Light as a Service


Smile Plastics


HP Instant Ink


Filippa K Lease 


Vigga Children Clothing Subscription


Ecovative Mycelium-based Biodegradable Packaging


Finisterre Wetsuit Recycling/Material Research Programme