Companies are using circular approaches to DIFFERENTIATE themselves from their competition based on price, quality, durability or convenience. 

Published: 14 Apr 2017

These strategies allow businesses to improve their competitive advantage by capturing more market share, expanding into new markets, securing niche markets or being the first mover.


TerraCycle has cemented a market niche as the company that can recycle anything. The company has found those opportunities in the most difficult to recycle products, including cigarette butts and chewing gum. Since 2012, TerraCycle has worked directly with municipalities and businesses to implement Cigarette Waste Recycling Programs across 363 cities, diverting over 75 million tons of cigarette waste from landfill.[i] Collected cigarette butts, filters and packaging are manufactured into industrial products like plastic pallets while remaining residual tobacco and ash are composted.

This program – and other programs for difficult to recycle products – are free to consumers as strategic brand partners cover the operating costs. In many of these programs, companies want to close the loop on their products and partner with TerraCycle to collect and repurpose the products and materials that curbside recycling programs do not. Their innovative business model and drive to solve the circular economy’s biggest challenges distinguishes them from other recycling and resource management companies.


Carpet is not easily recyclable due to challenges in deconstruction and material blends. As a result, around four billion pounds of carpet winds up in U.S. landfills every year, making up about 85% of discarded carpet and one of the largest contributors to landfill sites.[ii] The second most common disposal method for carpets is incineration, which requires a high constant temperature and results in the release of toxins.

DSM recognized the risk associated with the current carpet life cycle and identified how it could turn it into an economic opportunity. In partnership with Niaga, DSM redesigned carpet manufacturing and end-of-life characteristics. Their new design approach required them to (1) focus on purpose; (2) choose clean and pure materials; (3) simplify and (4) connect materials that allow for simple end-of-life processing.

DSM-Niaga used its technology to create a 100% recyclable carpet product with no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). DSM-Niaga Technology enables simple recycling through DSM engineered adhesive, which replaces energy-intensive latex in bonding the carpet fiber top to the backing. This product differentiates from others based on characteristics that allow manufacturers to easily separate the carpet fiber and backing without compromising the quality of the original product.

In contrast to today’s carpets, Niaga® carpet does not consist of PVC, bitumen, latex and undisclosed fillers. Due to the simplified design, the carpet offers unexpected additional benefits: no water use and 85% energy reduction during the lamination step in production, reduced product weight, easier installation and maintenance, as well as better fire safety and indoor air quality.

DSM-Niaga sees the potential of this technology extending beyond carpets to other products like car mats and diapers.