Northern Sweden Bubbling with Circular Initiatives

Cradlenet Norr on March 1st invited to a meeting about events that are taking place within circular economy in northern Sweden. We quickly gathered that it was a lot! Just under 2022 are several new investments leading to concrete and large circular transitions in the north.

There are enormous investments in the green industry in northern Sweden, and there will be big investments in the infrastructure and community service departments. Investments in electrifications, fossil free productions, and circular industry processes make northern Sweden a leader in the climate transition. It is not only businesses that are driven. There are ongoing initiatives for the transitions within smaller businesses, businesses within service sectors, within culture branches and public sectors. Here is a brief sampling.

Renewcell: for a Circular Fashion Industry

One of the businesses that contributes to a circular transition is Renewcell. The company’s chief of communications, Nora Eslander, was a guest at Cradlenet and talked about the company’s ambitions and their investments.

Renewcell is a fast-growing sustainable tech-company that follows a process of recycling cellophane from cotton textiles into a fast-dissolving mass, Circulose®. It is then used to produce new clothing. This summer they are opening the world’s largest chemical clothing recycling in a previous paper factory, Ortviken, in Sundsvall. This facility is driven by 100% renewable energy and has the capacity to recycle 120 000 tons of textiles per year.

The fashion industry currently has a negative impact on the climate. Eslander illustrates that it takes 10 000 liters of water to produce one pair of jeans. 35% of microplastic in the ocean comes from polyester clothing and only 1% of all clothing circulates the entire way around to being new. There are large climate benefits with a circular fashion industry.  

Renewcells fiber mass Circulose® has already used in collections for global brands like H&M and Levi’s. Their demand is increasing. Logistics presents an underlying problem for extreme textile waste.

Commonly, when you want to get rid of worn-out clothing and textiles you must pay for someone to collect them.  However, Renewcell has chosen to pay their manufacturers so that they can create a long term, sustainable infrastructure for sorting and gathering. In this way, they can ensure a stabile accessibility to high quality raw materials.

To have high enough volume for collaboration, businesses like Beyond Retro and Myrorna collaborate with Sysav for sorting help. According to circular principles, and to hold quality as long as possible, they only accept clothing and textiles that cannot be resold or reused in any other way except as raw materials for recycling.

The world’s new unique factory in Sundsvall, Renewcell is an example of a green industry that according to the Government makes it possible that northern Sweden can “be the leading in climate change that is happening in the whole world and within all sectors”.

Further Strengthening of Knowledge for Circular Business Development

The circular changes are not only happening in industry. There are several initiatives all over northern Sweden that help small and medium businesses adapt to the changes. A few investments focus directly while others focus on business advisors and business development. These are a few actual projects that are presented by Cradlenet Norr:

CEBANS stands for Circular Economy Business Accelerator Northern Sweden and is driven by the company Esam together with North Sweden Cleantech and Umeå’s municipality. Within the framework of the project and under one year, both business developers and business coaching can help the future safety of circular business model. Businesses from all over northern Sweden are welcome to sign up by contacting Esam. You can also read more at  

SVID leads the project Response together with Region Jämtland Härjedalen and Södertälje Science. They will “strengthen the capabilities in businesses in a practical development of own circular products, business models and services”. The project will examine the possibilities with a digital platform for circular shopping with a residual flooding in the region. Furthermore, they will offer an increased knowledge where the businesses in the region receive expert experience about sustainable methods and business models based on circular design. The strengthened knowledge begins in the fall of 2022. 

Arena Samisk business sector development started a knowledge campaign about Samiskt businesses aiming at business promoters and funders to “show the way to sustainability”. The project leader, Erika Unnes commented in an interview with Utveckla Norrbotten:
-The traditional industry has improved in parallel with nature. We learn to not take more than we need, and that resources in nature need to be left behind for the coming generations. In this way Samisk values and knowledge have shown a way to create sustainability in the societal transformation that is happening because of the climate crisis.
Read more about the project at 

Strukturum business service in Jokkmokk’s municipality is undergoing a test pilot with business developers for small and medium businesses. There is a focus on circular business modeling. The pilot will be finished and ready for showing in May.

Östersund’s municipality is preforming a test over sustainability growth with a focus on understanding the level of knowledge and need to support and give advice on the circular change in businesses within events and hospitality. This project will also be ready for presentation in the spring.

Circular Shopping

During 2022 at least two commercial recycling initiatives will see the light of day: Re:Store Höga Kusten will open in the spring on Köpmangatan in central Härsnösand. This is a shopping center where everything that is sold is recycled, reused, or sustainably produced. Starting in the fall, Boden will see recycled products in their normal shops. This is made possible through an investment from the municipality. They will begin gathering recycled products and deliver these items to shops where they will be presented alongside new merchandise.

These are just a few examples of everything that is happening with circular transitions in northern Sweden. Several are being developed, and many changes have taken place over an extended period of time. Circular economy is slowly, but surely becoming the new normal. There may be good circumstances for circular changes specifically in the north. This could be due to availability of fossil free energy, and the proximity to nature. Not to mention, the want to keep and improve knowledge pertaining to the use of resources and how we can live alongside other living things.

Cradlenet Norr is a local network with the national organization Cradlenet that works to accelerate the changes within circular economy. Cradlenet Norr has digital meetings approximately four times per year and focuses on everyone that is interested in circular economy in northern Sweden. (Approximately north of Gävle). Every meeting has a specific agenda and weight is focused on meeting and exchanging experience with one another. Would you like to receive more information pertaining to Cradlenet Norr meetings? Contact Sofia,

Blogtext by,
Amanda Mannervik, Project Manager, Strukturum Jokkmokk