Our Story:
The Circulate Initiative’s mission is to solve the ocean plastic pollution challenge and advance inclusive and circular economies.

We do this by supporting the incubation of circular, inclusive and investible waste management and recycling systems and generating insights that accelerate investment and scale.

Who We Are

Early research highlighted the need to strengthen the pipeline of investment-ready opportunities in waste management in South and Southeast Asia for all investors and a need for structured incubation mechanisms to enable talented entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into profitable businesses.  

Recognizing that no entrepreneur succeeds in a vacuum, this research also pointed to the need to ensure the enabling conditions around them - from public policies to consumer engagement to strong science and data - are in place as well.

In 2018, with the support of investment management firm Circulate Capital, The Circulate Initiative was born to address these needs.

We are a U.S. registered 503(c)(3) organization.


 2020 Annual Report

Throughout 2020, The Circulate Initiative pursued its work focused on closing critical gaps preventing progress towards solving the plastic pollution crisis.


Along with our partners, we continued to support the incubation of circular, inclusive and investible waste management and recycling systems and to generate insights that accelerate investment and scale.


Find out more about our progress in the 2020 Annual Report.


Theory of Change

If we foster the development of the circular economy and waste management and recycling (WMR) entrepreneurs and businesses by: 


Our Team


Michael Sadowski

Interim Executive Director


For 20 years, Michael has worked with companies to solve business challenges, including sustainability.


Over this time, Michael has been a trusted advisor to senior executives, managed organizations and teams, driven change from within companies, led research and authored reports, and facilitated multi-stakeholder collaborations.

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Rob Kaplan

Board Member


Rob has played a key role in the establishment of The Circulate Initiative and serves as a Board Member.


He is the Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital, an investment management firm dedicated to financing companies, projects, and infrastructure in South and Southeast Asia that prevent the flow of plastic waste into the world’s ocean and advance the circular economy.

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Todd Kohzein

Board Member


Todd Khozein is a Board Member of The Circulate Initiative and the Founder and Co-CEO of SecondMuse, an impact and innovation company building resilient economies by supporting entrepreneurs and the ecosystems around them.


Under his leadership, the company has designed and implemented programs on all 7 continents with over 600 organizations such as NASA, The World Bank, Nike, USAID, The World Health Organization, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

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Ellen Martin

Impact and Insights


In her role, Ellen is responsible for driving impact and insights for The Circulate Initiative, its flagship program The Incubation Network, and our other strategic partnerships.


Ellen ensures TCI and its partners connect with the data and learning they need to inform strategies that prevent plastic leakage and advance an inclusive, circular economy. Ellen also chairs TCI’s Impact Metrics Working Group and serves as Chief Impact Officer at Circulate Capital. 

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Khunapong Khunaraksa

Director of Operations and Strategy

Khunapong leads the development of The Circulate Initiative’s operations and strategies to stop ocean plastic and advance the circular economy in emerging countries. These include creating an enabling ecosystem for innovations to scale faster.


Khunapong is recognized as a Regional Leader in Southeast Asia, where he was the first Community & Advocacy Winner of the 40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards. He has advised 30 organizations to build and scale new initiatives across five geographies. 

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Umesh Madhavan

Research Director


Umesh is Circulate Initiative’s Research Director. In this role, he plans and executes Circulate Initiative’s research strategy across diverse circularity linked themes and also supports partner organisations on their research and strategy development.


He is responsible for scoping and managing research projects and ensuring organisation-wide access to data and insights. He is passionate about leveraging the power of data and insights to produce impactful outcomes.

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Amandine Joly

Communications Manager


As Communications Manager, Amandine leads The Circulate Initiative’s communications strategy and implementation.


Amandine brings with her ten years of strategic communications expertise in stakeholder engagement, reputation management and public affairs.

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Susan Ruffo

Advisor, Former Executive Director


Susan is the founding Executive Director of The Circulate Initiative.


With over two decades working for governments, philanthropies and NGOs, Susan is a leader in the sustainability and environmental industry. Her work has focused on conservancy and supporting cities and communities manage change related to climate issues. 

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Our Collaborators

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Jenna Jambeck, PH.D.

GAA Distinguished Professor

in Environmental Engineering

University of Georgia

College of Engineering


William McDonough

Chief Executive

McDonough Innovation

Our Supporters