As the year comes to a close, here are three trends that defined the circular economy in 2020, and what they might mean for the year to come.

1. Reuse is on the rise. Despite some setbacks posed by the pandemic, the transition from single-use to reusable packaging is building real momentum. With such proof points as Loop’s continued growth and recent $25 million Series A, Algramo’s New York expansion and the launch of the Beyond the Bag initiative, to name a few, it’s clear that reuse is taking hold at scale.

In 2021, watch CPG and food and beverage companies, which have been scrutinized for one-off pilots and an overall failure to move quickly enough towards commitments to make all packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. If brands and retailers intend to fulfill their public commitments, we’ll need to see real investment in reuse platforms and systems in the year ahead.

2. Metrics begin to materialize. This year saw the launch of new tools and standards to calculate and track the circular nature of products, business and systems. Notably, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development released the Circular Transition Indicators and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched the Circulytics tool; GRI established a new standard on waste; and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute released the fourth version of its product standard.

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Author: Lauren Phipps, GreenBiz
Image: GreenBiz