From the beginning, our philosophy has always been that business value and social value are not incompatible.
At cirkle, we believe people want to eat healthily and help society, and we make it easy.
Cirkle takes an holistic approach to sustainability and social value - we have looked at all areas of the business
and come up with innovative ways to do things differently in the spirit of the circular economy.
Our philosophy of sustainability extends throughout the products we sell, all the way from the producer to the plate. That’s why we carefully source the finest and freshest ingredients every day from our partner suppliers and local shops. Where possible, we use locally-grown fruit, vegetables and meat. In fact we have a target to sell 80%
of our fresh produce from Belgian farms. We know personally some of the farmers, and we believe that for fantastic food on a fork, you have to start way back in the fields.
The circular economy is a different way to do business. It is regenerative by design, meaning that the reduction
of waste is built into the business model, ideally to reach zero waste. In fact, we do better than zero waste!
We recycle and reuse more waste than we actually create. What’s more, we monetize the collected waste and give it all to charities.
‘We do not really have any choice. We cannot continue to go ahead, exploiting the natural resources of our planet as if they were infinite nor using a linear growth model that produces enormous amounts of waste that inevitably will destroy our quality of life. It is time to use our collective intelligence to redesign our way of working with nature as inspiration since it is, in itself, a perfect ‘circle economy’. - Robert-Jan van Ogtrop
We take back over 20 different waste streams from our customers. We process and sort the waste. The reusable items go directly to charities and the rest goes to recycling companies.
Taking cooking oil as an example; we sell cooking oil to customers and then collect the used oil. We then sell
the used oil to a company that produces biodiesel. All the proceeds from selling the oil go to our charity of the month... and we use the resulting biodiesel in our delivery vans. It’s a closed loop process that demonstrates
what cirkle is all about.
All the value created from our waste collections goes to charities. All 2nd-hand items go directly to the designated charity, and money received for the recycled items is donated to our nominated “charity of the month”.
Furthermore, we have a donation option for people to give fruit to our “fruit bank”. This is a pool of fruit that is distributed to homeless people of Brussels. Our other charity activities include the Christmas Samaritans shoe box campaign and the food bank donation service for Resto du Coeur.
Click here » to see more about the social value of cirkle
We want to reduce our CO2 emissions to the point that our service becomes more energy efficient than customers’ doing the shopping and recycling themselves. Here’s how we do it:
Our vans are always full. When we deliver goods to customers, the space in the van is filled with the waste items from that customer.
We operate a proximity based delivery route system. It sounds complicated ... but it simply means each van has a set route each day. New delivery addresses are simply squeezed into the route. We also collect the produce from our suppliers along the way. Customers cannot choose their delivery time, but we provide a 1 hour ETA. This way of delivering has been proven to be the most energy efficient way of shopping, because it reduces the number of trips people make to the shops in their individual cars, and so reduces the total CO2 footprint.
Every year we plant a new forest. Yes, we literally plant a forest ourselves. We join forces with the Jane Goodall institute to plant trees in their annual tree planting event which contributes to the UN Billion tree campaign.
We use sheep’s wool for the insulation of our boxes to keep products at the correct temperature for the complete day. Sheep’s wool is a sustainable and highly effective insulation material.
Click here » Find out more about woolcool
We have developed a very clever system for people to order products with the frequency they need. People can design their shopping list once, and the rest is automatic. Every week we deliver exactly what is planned based on the recurring order selection. By matching the recurring orders with customer needs, they can be sure to never receive too much or little. This helps to prevent food waste and time.
Our recipe kits include only the exact quantity of ingredients needed to make a meal, along with the recipe instructions. This is the optimal way of reducing food waste, as there is absolutely no waste.
We have a dislike option for our fruit & veg boxes, which helps to banish those vegetables that would otherwise be left at the back of the cupboard, unloved and ultimately unused.
From September 2015 we will sell “loose” products in eco-friendly refill packs, which can be bought by weight. These are items such as dried fruit, pasta and rice than can be transferred to a sealed container when received by the customer. This greatly reduces packaging and means that non-standard quantities can be ordered. We are also working on a similar system for olive oil that uses refillable bottles.
We know in advance what people have ordered, so we work closely with our suppliers to buy only enough fresh produce each day. This results in almost zero food waste at our side, and the freshest possible produce for the customers. Indeed much of the fruit and vegetables are delivered the same day it arrives from the farm.
We have carefully selected the packaging materials to reduce, reuse and recycle in that order. We only use packaging if it is needed for food hygiene and quality reasons. We reuse plenty of our packaging such as the carton boxes and egg boxes, and recycle the rest. We only use plastic if it is necessary to maintain the quality of the products. You can help too by giving us back the packaging.
Refer to the recycling guide » to find out more