Freie Circular Economy Tools

This is a collection of tools which we found practical while working on our projects, or which have been recommended to us. They are all free to use.

Did we miss anything? Probably. If you’ve used or know of a tool which you think might benefit others, contribute to this list by filling in this short form.



This EU project has developed tools and training materials for enabling the circular economy with a focus on the construction and furniture sectors, although any industry can make use of the tools. KATCH-e offers an online course and design, business model, and analysis tools. We have found the CE Strategist tool to be particularly useful in building a circular business model canvas by assessing the most high-impact activities for a particular company’s case.

Kickstarter’s Environmental Resource Guide

The crowdsourcing platform partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to create this guide to more sustainable product design and manufacturing, including many circularity considerations.

Zero Waste Hierarchy

One of the fundamental ideas underlying the circular economy concept is the Zero Waste Hierarchy pyramid. This tool from Zero Waste Europe explains their 7-tier approach to the pyramid.

Strategy Tools

Strategy Tools offers a wide selection of open source strategy and innovation visualization tools–canvases, simulations, a collaboration app, etc. While not circular economy-specific, we find tools like their Industry Map to be helpful in understanding the status quo and figuring out concrete steps to change it.

Project Together’s Act on Plastic Challenge Toolbox

A compilation of circular economy resources & tools, particularly those relevant for plastic waste start-ups.

Design Tools

Circular Calculator

The circularity calculator was developed by, with and for designers working on circular products. They needed an intuitive and visual way to grasp circularity, showing the flows of reuse, remanufacture and recycling.  With a point-and-click dashboard, there is virtually no learning curve for making a quick calculation. Advanced users may want to detail multiple components and define a suitable post-use scenario for each.

Circular Design Guide

This design guide by IDEO and EMF offers a number of activities to inspire circular design ideas and prototypes.

Ethics for Designers

This toolkit for ethical design isn’t focused on circular economy but its canvases can be applied with a circularity in mind to imagine and mitigate unintended consequences for design.

VentureWell Tools for Design and Sustainability

These are tools for designers, inventors, and startup founders who are curious about practical advice for taking action. The following tools allow to jump into diverse topics, starting with the Whole System Mapping design exercise to clarify the big picture and focus on what’s most important for the product.

Impact Analysis Tools


A company-wide circularity measurement tool from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Life Cycle Initiative

The Life Cycle Initiative’s goal is to enable the global use of credible life cycle knowledge by private and public decision makers. Their website includes a variety of training tools and resources for managing environmental impact and understanding Life Cycle Assessments.


This sustainable material selection tool makes it easy to compares carbon footprints and eco-costs to enable more sustainable product design.

Material Circularity Indicator

This tool measures how restorative the material flows of a product are, to enable more circular product design and material selection.

CTI Tool- Circularity Transitions Indicators Tool

This online tool helps businesses worldwide accelerate their circularity by supporting and guiding companies through the WBCSD’s Circular Transition Indicators process. The tool structures data and calculates the outcomes, supporting businesses in taking concrete actions towards their circularity goals.

SDG Action Manager

This tool helps to measure and manage the company’s social and environmental impact, benchmark against industry peers and set goals to continually improve impact

Circular & Social Business Modeling Tools

Circulator’s Circular Business Model Mixer

This tool allows the user to explore common circular business models, navigate potential circular strategies and learn from inspiring cases.

Smart Business Modeler

The Circular Economy Pack in this auto-business-modeling tool includes 26 circular economy business models frequently discussed in the literature to use in a step-by-step process to create the best business model.

Flourishing Business Model Canvas

This is a social enterprise alternative to the traditional business model canvas that encourages entrepreneurs to think about both value creation and destruction and consider a broad group of stakeholders. The canvas is in beta mode, but companies can sign up to be “First Explorer” and use the canvas and toolkit while providing feedback.

Fashion Industry Tools

Close the Loop Planner

Close the Loop is an online tool from Flanders DC and Circular Flanders for fashion entrepreneurs. After completing a questionnaire, the planner will offer short-term and long-term actions along with ready-to-use tips and tools.

Fashion Footprint Calculator

This tool from online secondhand retailer ThredUp allows consumers to calculate the carbon footprint of their closets.

Higg Material Sustainability Index

The Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition provides access to a large amount of relevant information about the impacts of material production used in the apparel, footwear, and home textile industries.

City related Tools

Circle City Scan Tool

Circle City Scan Tool enables municipalities, consultants or project developers to identify focus areas, discover opportunities and create action plans for the circular economy.

SDGs in regions and cities

With its more than 100 indicators, this OECD tool measures the distance towards the SDGs in more than 600 regions and 600 cities of OECD and partner countries.

Did we miss anything? Probably.

If you’ve used or know of a tool which you think might benefit others, contribute to this list!

You might also like…