How is it possible to design and deploy circular economy (CE) strategies oriented to inclusive development? How can non-traditional units of production and consumption (i.e., actual productive actors such as waste picker cooperatives and peasant organizations) be integrated into these strategies? Using data collected as a result of two long-term participatory action research projects carried out with a waste picker cooperative in Buenos Aires and 65 peasant families in Chaco (both located in Argentina) the paper opens the door to a proactive critical debate in terms of how to integrate circular economy principles with the development of technological solutions (artifacts, processes and methods of organization). We show that CE holds great potential, both in terms of its contribution to the generation of new interpretive frameworks and also, in terms of nurturing local and inclusive development strategies when it is integrated with collaborative, bottom-up and innovative dynamics. Based on the idea of working with heterogeneous traditional production units (not only with profit-maximizing firms), it is possible to think of social development avenues for vulnerable populations, where the CE principles build up mechanisms capable of maximizing the transformative potential of the resources (including those understood as waste) presented in actual techno-economic matrices.