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Welcome, CELN 2022! (Part 2)

This spring, we welcomed over 30 small businesses to the 2022 cohort of our Circular Economy Leaders Network. Each business is based in the Chicagoland area, has fewer than 20 employees, and brings to the network a passion for circular economy work and connecting with other local small businesses. Below is Part Two of a three-part series announcing CELN 2022 members!

Bee-utiful Honey & Candles is a beekeeping business that is committed to supporting bee populations in our community as well as providing customers with high-quality products ranging from local honey to beeswax candles. For their circular economy goal work, Bee-utiful Honey & Candles will implement a dispensing system at select retail locations so customers can purchase honey with their own and/or pre-owned containers.

Cakewalk Chicago is a small family-owned business that sells a variety of baking, cake decorating, cookie and candy making supplies. This year, Cakewalk Chicago would like to find an outlet for their used shipping containers as well as their “unsellable” but usable products (like “out-of-date” buttercream, etc.).

CultureBox is a fermented foods company that uses locally sourced ingredients from various Chicago farms and businesses. They recognize that by supporting local growers, they can not only stimulate the local economy but also reduce the carbon and travel footprint of their food. CultureBox wants to continue to expand their farm safety valve program with other local farms. They are also looking into rethinking their packaging, and/or doing a waste audit to create efficiencies and ensure that they are reusing organic inputs where they can and composting when they can’t.

​​Czubin Industries is a company that works on industrial salvage by repurposing and salvaging abandoned buildings throughout Illinois. They aim to not waste anything and to find a home for everything, especially the old contents of the abandoned buildings they come across – all of which can be purchased directly from their website. Czubin Industries will host a waste diversion event featuring miscellaneous items salvaged from vacant buildings, with the intention of diverting 500 pounds.

Flaunjo’r Apothecary produces and develops skin care products (lotions, body butters, body balms, and more) right out of their home-based facility. Flaunjo’r Apothecary will source circular packaging for at least one product’s packaging by November 2022 as well as provide an “opt-out of packaging” option on their website for select products. Flaunjo’r Apothecary will also research how to grow select herbs locally, potentially in Plant Chicago’s Indoor Victory Garden.

Meliora Cleaning Products provides people and planet-friendly cleaning products that work for your home. All of their products are MADE SAFE certified, and every ingredient is always listed on the packaging so that clients know exactly what they are using in their homes and on their clothes. Meliora Cleaning Products is dedicated to avoiding single-use packaging and offering refills for their products.

Nowhere Collective is an early-stage creative reuse organization enabling a marketplace for makers to source reclaimed materials and sell their products. One of the team’s projects is “Nowhere Repair,” which aims to create custom embroidery patches for damaged clothing. To further align with the circular economy, Nowhere Collective will facilitate 100 exchanges among upcyclers (and potentially others who are giving/needing excess materials) to divert materials from the landfill by November 2022.

Ola Verde Cafe is a coffee shop that imports green coffee from Columbia and then roasts, packages, and distributes it in Chicago. They aim to minimize their waste by using compostable packaging and finding ways to use old coffee grounds. Ola Verde Cafe also hopes to implement sustainable sourcing directly at the farm level!

REDEAUX is a clothing brand that is dedicated to creating a transparent network of individuals who are fashion-forward and wish to uplift other human beings. REDEAUX’s designs and products are all hand-cut and sewn. To co-create the local circular economy, REDEAUX aims to offer a take-back program for their baby clothing line.

The Urban Canopy is an urban farm that offers composting and CSA delivery across Chicago (in addition to serving as Plant Chicago’s compost hauler and local food box supplier!). To become more circular, they are focusing their efforts on densifying their residential compost collection driving route in order to reduce emissions.


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