Nearly 400 followed the Circular Initiative online



A vacuum cleaner made entirely of recycled material, a circular by-product from paper and pulp production, and a new circular solution for electric motors are some of the results presented during this year's edition of the Circular Initiative. Together, large companies such as ABB, Electrolux, Combitech, Stora Enso, and Stena Recycling are driving the Swedish industry towards a more circular economy where materials are used and handled more sustainably.

Initiated by Stena Recycling, the Circular Initiative is a collaborative arena where major Swedish companies collaborate and contribute their expertise to increase the proportion of circular material flows. By pursuing common goals, innovation and technological development, the partnering companies collaborate on long-term projects. Along with invited guests from the Swedish business community, they gather once a year to exchange knowledge, take part in discussions and present existing and new projects.

Due to Covid-19, the Circular Initiative 2020 was arranged digitally, with almost 400 representatives from different parts of the business community participating via link.

  • It was the first time we arranged a digital event of this size and we’re very pleased with the result. Many exciting advances have been made in our various collaborative projects and it’s always great to share and discuss these with others. We have received very positive feedback and I feel that many people left the event with new insights and inspiration, says Fredrik Pettersson, Managing Director of Stena Recycling Sweden.

The Circular Initiative 2020 offered presentations about its projects and a panel discussion, attended by Jacob Wallenberg, the chairman of Investor AB. Jacob emphasized the commitment end customers around the world are showing to companies genuinely integrating sustainability into their business concepts, and how quickly this has taken place.

Professor Robin Teigland, who, among other things, researches the circular economy, also took part and presented many opportunities to make circularity a reality. She highlighted a number of exciting projects that are harvesting, recycling and refining sea plastic, with the aid of grapheme, among other things.


Many successful projects

One of the projects presented was the Electrolux vacuum cleaner, which is made from 100 percent recycled plastic and reused components from end-of-life electrical consumer products. This prototype was developed through a collaborative project carried out by Electrolux and Stena Recycling.

Stora Enso presented VersaLime, a circular mineral, which is a by-product of paper and pulp production. This can be used, for example, as a component in aerated concrete, cement and as a hydraulic road binder.

ABB presented the work they have carried out to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase sustainability in the industrial sector. They now offer energy-efficient electric motors and ensure that the material in old motors is recycled, in collaboration with Stena Recycling. Electric motors currently account for around 40% of Sweden's total electricity consumption. Through digitalization and smart monitoring, over 90% of motor components can be recycled, while energy efficiency is improved at the same time.

Combitech, together with ABB presented a new project that aims to make today's recycling processes more efficient. The goal is to get more material circulating by using the latest technology in automation and digitization. The project is a collaboration with Stena Recycling and is part-financed by Vinnova.

Through technological advances and new forms of collaboration, these and other projects within the Circular Initiative help prevent waste and make better use of the waste that still arises.

About the Circular Initiative

  • The Circular Initiative is a collaborative arena, where decision-makers meet to discuss and develop concrete measures for more circular material flows within Swedish industry. The initiative was launched by Stena Recycling in 2019. Investor, ABB, Combitech, Electrolux and Stora Enso have been partners since its inception but other industrial companies are welcome to join.
  • Collaborations and projects take place all year round. Once a year, representatives from participating companies gather to present a number of joint projects, including new initiatives and give progress reports and results on existing ones.
  • This year’s speakers included Ola Nilsson CXO/CTO of Electrolux, Noel Morrin EVP Sustainability, Stora Enso, Robin Teigland, Professor of Digitalization Management at Chalmers and Jacob Wallenberg, Investor AB's chairman. The moderator was Eva Hamilton, former CEO of SVT and a board professional.

Read more about the Circular Initiative at

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