10 UK-based circular businesses you need to know about

Circular Business Flower Circle

At Circla, we’ve got one goal: to build a circular economy. But we’re only one company, and a circular economy is much bigger than us – or you – alone. 

That’s why we’re so happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some other amazing UK brands who are also using a reuse-or-refill model to minimise waste. Here are some of our favourites – just think of them as our comrades in the refill revolution. 

The coffee one: Hej Coffee

The last year of lockdowns and back-to-back Zoom meetings saw a huge upswing in coffee subscriptions, many of which were built on plastic packaging and not-exactly-planet-friendly delivery practices.

That’s why we love Hej. The London roastery have launched an initiative called Hej Round, in which they aim to eliminate single-use plastic by delivering coffee to wholesale clients in reusable containers on an original 1963 milk float called Ernie.

London only, hejcoffee.co.uk

The beer one: Draught Drop

Describing themselves as “London’s first draught beer subscription,” Draught Drop provide the people of East London with fresh-poured IPAs, pale ales and lagers from a selection of 16 local independent breweries.

Every week (or less often, if you’d like), they’ll deliver 3.3 pints of their “Beer of the Week” by bike, in a formidable-looking growler which can be easily rinsed out and handed back when your next delivery arrives.

East London only, draughtdrop.com 

The water one: Refill London

This one’s a little different, as there’s not a milk float or a bike bag in sight. Refill London’s mission statement is simple: they enlist businesses around the capital to provide free tap water refills, to stave off the city’s singular single-use plastic bottle problem.

You might be familiar with the successful scheme already. Even if not, take your bottle into a participating Costa, Pret, Leon, Planet Organic et al to see the benefits, or even try it out at the National Theatre or Tate Modern next time you’re in town.

Select London locations, refill.org.uk/refill-london 

The takeaway one: DabbaDrop

If you’re a curry lover, you’re probably more than familiar with the guilt of a recycling bin or kitchen cupboard overflowing with turmeric-stained single-use plastic containers.

Luckily, Hackney-based takeaway company DabbaDrop are changing the game with authentic, delicious South Asian food, delivered straight to your door in steel “dabba” containers that they’ll pick up next time you order.

Select London postcodes, dabbadrop.co.uk

The one for kids: Whirli

From Lego to Scalextric, Polly Pocket to Action Man, there’s one thing that unites pretty much all children’s toys – and it’s not that they’ll have gone out of fashion by next Christmas.

Nope, toys are one of the worst offenders when it comes to plastic. That’s why Whirli’s mission is so welcome, providing a sustainable alternative to toy-buying where your child’s toys are borrowed and kept for as long as they’re loved, then sent back and swapped for new ones – or bought permanently at a lower price.

Nationwide, whirli.com 

The one for new mums: For The Creators

As you’re only pregnant or postnatal for a relatively short amount of time, fashion geared at women in either camp is especially unsustainable in an industry where unsustainability tends to be the name of the game.

With the aptly-named For The Creators, however, you needn’t buy clothes you’ll never wear again once your kids are grown. Instead, you can rent fashionable maternity and postnatal clothes for as long as you like at a lower cost – and if that sounds up your street, Bundlee even offer a similar service for your little ones.

Nationwide, forthecreators.co

The one for, well, everything: Library of Things

Whether you’re camping, renovating a house or just looking to try your hand at making ice cream, the ingenious Library of Things gives you an opportunity to rent items you’d probably only use infrequently anyway.

In need of a GoPro? After a pressure washer? Desperate for a shredder, or a gazebo, a projector or a pasta machine? It’s all here, and all available at a much lower price (to yourself and the planet) than buying it outright, then letting it gather dust in your garage.

Nationwide, libraryofthings.co.uk

The wardrobe one: Nuw

You know how it is: you’ve got a wardrobe full of clothes which are perfectly fine, but you still want to buy new ones. That’s where Nuw comes in – swapping the “buy” for “borrow” and the “new” for “pre-loved,” and helping the planet in the process.

All you need to do is join, photograph your clothes, then swap them with other users for a constantly rotating wardrobe of new outfits. If that’s not enough, for every swap, Nuw offset 25% of the resources that would have gone into producing a new item.

Nationwide, thenuwardrobe.com 

The kitchen one: Good Club

Do good with your weekly groceries shop thanks to Good Club, who’ll regularly deliver zero waste wholefoods and household brands in reusable, refillable containers.

And while similar platforms can feel a little lacking compared to your monolithic local supermarket, Good Club are great at having everything you need: there’s over 3,000 eco-friendly products on offer, with regular discounts plus free delivery and collection.

Nationwide, goodclub.co.uk 

The bathroom one: Circla

We know, we know. But while Nuw will keep your wardrobe in rotation and Good Club will stock your pantry without wasting any plastic, we at Circla do offer a waste-proof solution to your skincare, haircare and bodycare needs.

Choose from a range of refillable, natural and genuine quality brands, from shampoos and body scrubs to moisturisers and menstrual products, with a new household section including cleaning sprays and laundry detergents. 

Then, you guessed it: we’ll deliver milkman-style, straight to your door, and collect the empties when you’re done. What else could you need?

London only, circla.co.uk

Ready to join the refill revolution? Browse now on Circla to find and refill products from ethical, natural brands you’ll love


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