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Circular logistics explained

Discover how the logistics industry is championing sustainability and reshaping how goods are repurposed – rather than thrown into a landfill.


More on Circularity

Recycle? Reuse? Resell?

Only 8.5% of the 100+ billion metric tons of material consumed globally are recycled into the economy each year. That can and must change. Fortunately, innovative leaders are bending the linear model (take-make-waste) into a sustainable circle, driven by innovative reverse logistics solutions.

Logistics closes the loop

What is a circular economy? It’s when products, after use, go back into a new life cycle or supply chain. They may be recycled, repaired, or refurbished for resale. Others will be repurposed or broken down into components are raw materials to make new ones.

Many companies are already leaning into this economy of the future, designing products with reuse or recycling in mind. They are introducing buyback and resale programs – and taking advantage of the rise of re-commerce. That’s where previously owned products, new or used, are sold and shipped to buyers who repair, refurbish, recycle, or resell them, extending the product’s lifespan.

The result is circular supply chains


Make fewer new products and using less raw and virgin material in manufacturing


Fix a malfunction or damage


Sell products that are still functional but no longer wanted or needed


Deliver an older functional product back to the manufacturer or a service provider for checking, cleaning and return to its original state


Extract value from end-of-life products

Is your head spinning in circles?

We’re right at the heart of this exciting transformation, monitoring the trend closely and adapting our solutions to meet the needs of early adopters.

It’s going to take some for circularity to go mainstream, but by working together, we can drive the transition and secure the future of sustainable logistics.

If you’d like to dive a bit deeper into this trend, check out the insights and additional resources in the DHL Logistics Trend Radar.


The trend of Circularity aims to eliminate waste and pollution by considering the full product life cycle beforehand and designing and utilizing each item and its constituent parts to be returned in the supply chain.

Published: August 2023

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