Our Story:


The Circulate Initiative’s mission is to end the flow of plastic into the ocean and build thriving inclusive economies.

We do this by supporting entrepreneurs who advance the circular economy and improve waste management and recycling systems, and by creating the enabling conditions they need to succeed.

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.


2019 Annual Report and 2020 Progress Report

Since inception, The Circulate Initiative has worked hard to help end ocean plastic and build thriving, inclusive economies. Find out more about the strategy, key initiatives and milestones achieved in our 2019 Annual Report & 2020 Progress Report.

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Theory of Change

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

  • Providing direct support, such as mentoring and business skills

  • Building a network of incubators and accelerators to foster more ventures

  • Creating and promoting the enabling policy conditions they need to succeed

  • Creating strong, equitable, and just WMR economies in which ventures and workers thrive

  • Developing baselines and metrics to track impact and inform strategies

  • Amplifying successes and lessons for peer-to-peer engagement and learning


  • There will be more successful and efficient ventures, improving waste management systems and advancing local circular economies.

  • They will be able to attract the investment they need to succeed and grow.

  • Waste collection and recycling rates will increase overall.

  • The amount of waste leaking out of the system will decrease.

  • The amount of plastic leaking into the ocean will decrease.

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.

Read more >

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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.

Read more >

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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.

Read more >


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. 

Read more >


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.

Read more >

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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. 

Read more >

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


The Circulate Initiative

© 2020, The Circulate Initiative 

A U.S. Registered 503(c)(3) organization 

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The Circulate Initiative

15 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018

100 Amoy Street, Singapore 069920