top of page

Ten free online courses on Circular Economy you could enrol Now!

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

As humans, we shape our world through the way we think - which is formed through our many years of learning. It is repeatedly argued that education brings changes in knowledge, behaviours and lifestyles. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale. We have curated a list of 10 online courses on Circular Economy for which you don't need to travel or spend a single rupee!

The “Doughnut”: The green ring represents a sweet-spot where our socio-economic systems should be placed, such that they respect (external) planetary boundaries, and fulfil (internal) societal needs.

1. Circular Economy: An Introduction

Offered by: TU Delft

Self-paced and starts on September 15

What you’ll learn

  • What is the circular economy? How can the circular economy provide solutions to the challenges our current, linear economy brings? We explore the roots of the circular economy together with experts in the fields of industrial ecology, cradle to cradle and biomimicry.

  • Business value in a circular economy Through closed-loop supply chains and reversed logistics, new opportunities for business are created. This episode explores value creation and new business models in a circular economy.

  • Longer lasting products: The smaller the loop, the greater the profitability of the system. We look at product life extension through the eyes of designers and entrepreneurs. Join us in our repair café!

  • Remanufacturing: Remanufacturing enables companies to recapture value on a product or component level. It is currently being rediscovered as a promising business opportunity. We’ll explore the topic together with researchers and entrepreneurs.

  • Waste equals Food: This episode discusses how we can take inspiration from nature when redesigning the way we deal with waste. We’ll present a fascinating circular case study. Can you identify opportunities for change in your own area’s?

  • Thinking in systems: The shift from linear to circular should not be underestimated. This episode will discuss the extent and duration of the transition. It will also ask, is the circular economy really sustainable?

  • Giving back: We end the course with a webinar. Your teachers will be available in a live session to discuss some of the thorniest issues and to answer your questions. This is also the week of the final exam.

2. Circular Economy for a Sustainable Built Environment

Offered by: TU Delft

Self Paced


  • Recognize the principles of circularity and their application to the built environment

  • Identify the scales of the built environment from materials and products to cities and regions

  • Identify the life-cycle phases of building products and how they can be circular

  • Discuss design principles in the building of products and key aspects such as stakeholders, incentives, time-frames, business models

  • Discuss the circular design and development approach for buildings and recognize the impact of a building on society and the environment during its life-cycle

  • Recognize the flows at different city scales and how they differ depending on the actors and the local context

  • Reflect on the complexity and variety of possible circular solutions in terms of energy, water and waste management

  • Analyze and map the different stages and value webs of building materials at the regional level

  • Reflect on possible environmental impacts of the different building life-cycle stages and activities along with the value web

  • Explore the potential of intervening to steer the value web towards more circularity

3. Circular Economy and the 2030 Agenda

Offered by: UNSSC

Online from 27 Sep - 05 Nov 2021

This online course is offered free-of-charge

This engaging five-week online course will focus on harnessing circular economy principles and systems-based approaches to explore ways in which we can redesign our systems, products and services to allow us to achieve sustainable living for all, within planetary limits.


Upon the successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the interconnection between Circular Economy and its potential in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • Explain the importance of systems-based approaches to identify effective circular transformations.

  • Apply different models of circularity to identify opportunities for circular transformations of products and services in real-life cases.

  • Understand the opportunities to drive circular value across the life cycles of products and processes and examine business models that could support circularity.

  • Explore the policy environments that support the successful application of circular strategies to cities and examine why citizens can play a crucial role in ensuring circularity.

  • Identify the barriers and enablers to mainstreaming circular strategies.

4. Digitalization for Circular Food Systems - Digit4Circularity

Offered by: EIT Food Belgium

The course starts on September 6, 2021

The summer school will be delivered online


  • Understand the guiding principles of the circular economy and relate them to neighbouring concepts

  • Investigate what it takes to create products that are easy to repair, refurbish, remanufacture, repurpose, recycle, or recover, using as enablers the main digital technologies available (e.g. from IoT to AI)

  • Explain drivers and barriers for businesses to implement circular business models and digital platforms to cooperate and share data towards a circular approach

  • Gauge the macro-systemic effects of the transition towards a circular economy Critically reflect upon the circular economy impact on the economic, environmental, and social side.

5. Sustainable Packaging in a Circular Economy

Offered by: TU Delft

The next session starts on November 3, 2021

Free but one could add a verified certificate for ₹3,728


  • How circular design principles can be applied to create 'closed loop' packaging systems

  • Business strategies that support these systems

  • Opportunities of designing with renewable, bio-based materials

  • Best practices through case studies with industry frontrunners

6. Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Offered by: Wageningen University & Research

Starts on August 3 and is self-paced

Free but one could add a verified certificate for ₹3,728


  • Understand the concept of a circular economy

  • Understand how a circular economy deviates from the current linear system

  • Analyse and develop complex circular systems using systems thinking approach

  • Assess the use of Life Cycle Assessment and Agent-Based Modelling

  • Formulate improvements for a transition towards a circular design

  • Learn how to use and apply complexity aspects & agent-based modelling

7. Business Strategy and Operations in a Biobased Economy

Offered by: Wageningen University & Research

Starts on August 3 and is self-paced

Free but one could add a verified certificate for ₹3,728


  • Understand the dynamics in biobased business investments

  • Creating business strategies in a biobased economy

  • Understand the supply chain challenges for biobased businesses

  • Using decision support tools to make better decisions about the short- and long-term plans for your business.

  • Design and evaluate biobased supply chains using quantitative methods

8. Engineering Design for a Circular Economy

Offered by: TU Delft

Self Paced and is for 6 weeks

Free but one could add a verified certificate for ₹3,728


  • Learn “ Design for R ” strategies: reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling.

  • Integrate life-cycle design into your skillset and your company vision.

  • Understand the strategic importance of raw material supply and conservation.

  • Effectively balance value creation with industrial sustainability.

  • Improve your strategic design skills to make better decisions.

9. A Circular Economy of Metals: Towards a Sustainable Societal Metabolism

Offered by: Leiden University

The next Session starts on August 16

Metals are present everywhere around us and are one of the major materials upon which our economies are built. Economic development is deeply coupled with the use of metals. During the 20th century, the variety of metal applications in society grew rapidly. In addition to mass applications such as steel in buildings and aluminium in planes, more and more different metals are in use for innovative technologies such as the use of the speciality metal indium in LCD screens.

A lot of metals will be needed in the future. It will not be easy to provide them. In particular in emerging economies, but also in industrialised countries, the demand for metals is increasing rapidly. Mining and production activities expand, and with that also the environmental consequences of metal production.

This course is based on the reports of the Global Metals Flows Group of the International Resource Panel that is part of UN Environment. An important aspect that will come back each week, are the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. Those are ambitious goals to measure our progress towards a more sustainable world. We will use the SDGs as a touching stone for the assessment of the metals challenge, as well as the solutions we present in this course to solve that challenge.

10. Waste Management and Critical Raw Materials

Offered by: TU Delft

Self Paced, The next session starts on January 12, 2022

What you’ll learn

  • Current challenges and opportunities in resource resilience

  • Environmental problems caused by waste mismanagement of products that contain CRMs

  • Waste collection methods and efficient collection of waste in households and at companies

  • Remanufacturing, refurbishment, re-use and recycling processes of products that contain CRMs

  • Waste prevention through chain optimization

  • Benefits of circular procurement to keep critical raw materials in the loop through smart waste management

  • How product design can support efficient recycling and remanufacture

  • How to uncover new business models to reduce waste and to make your business more resource resilient

About the Author

Piyush Dhawan (LinkedIn) is the Cofounder of the Circular Collective was awarded the prestigious German Chancellor Fellowship last year to work on the topic of Circular Economy. He has for the past decade been working with Bilaterals and Multilaterals on a range of topics including business and biodiversity, Vision 2030 SDGs and Future of Indian Cities

4,871 views0 comments
bottom of page