What is the Circular Economy?

In a circular economy, all products and by-products recirculate back productively into the economy. One critical component of a circular economy is business-to- business materials reuse; matching wastes and under- valued resources across industries to find viable reuse options that retain and add value to materials above and beyond traditional waste disposal and recycling solutions. The result? A continuously evolving redesign of systems to establish higher value circular flows of materials.

video from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation


A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times.


Drive Value

"The Materials Marketplace is a critical driver to advance the circular economy. It translates loss into economic opportunity." - World Economic Forum

Transform Trash to Treasure

"How do we do something beyond traditional recycling? We have a tremendous opportunity to work with the Materials Marketplace to make these things happen." - General Motors

The Materials Marketplace: Big Picture

The Tennessee Materials Marketplace joins an international network of Materials Marketplace projects across the globe, including the Ohio and Austin Materials Marketplaces, US Materials Marketplace, and the Turkey Materials Marketplace. Hundreds of companies - large and small, community organizations, academic institutions and government entities are engaged.


Leading companies are using the Materials Marketplace to rethink supply chains and to reach aggressive carbon reduction goals.


Circular Economy Resources

For those looking to get more engaged in the broader Circular Economy dialogue - there is a wide range of resource and organizations we recommend checking out.


International Activities & Organizations

  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to inspire a generation to re-think, re-design and build a positive future circular economy.

  • World Economic Forum
    • The leading international organization for public-private cooperation.
  • World Wildlife Fund
    • The WWF's Cascading Materials Vision is a common framework of guiding principles for industry and other stakeholders that will help businesses source secondary materials that protect their profits, the environment and future wealth of our natural resources. 

US Activities and Organizations

  • The Materials Marketplace in other US regions
    • Learn about other Materials Marketplace activities underway other US cities and states.
  • US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
    • he USCCF has created a number of case study reports, and a circular economy toolbox for businesses.
  • Remade Institute
    • DOE funded program focusing on early stage applied research towards innovations that could dramatically reduce the energy required to manufacture key materials and improve overall manufacturing energy efficiency through increased material reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing.
  • ReFED
    • data-driven guide for businesses, government, funders, and nonprofits to collectively reduce food waste at scale.