Startups that want you to keep clothes for longer and waste less food are winning over investors backing the circular economy

Summary List PlacementStartups that pioneer a “circular economy” — decoupling commercial growth from the consumption of finite resources — want to win over a new generation of climate-conscious consumers. The clothing-repair app Sojo is among the startups leading the charge. The London-based company offers clothing repairs and alterations through a food-delivery rider-style model. Users book through an app, and a rider collects the item, which is taken to a seamster and returned within five days. The average consumer in 2016 bought 60% more clothing compared to 2000 but kept each item half as long, according to a McKinsey report that year. At the same time, protecting the environment is a top stated concern for millennials and Gen Zs, more than a quarter of whom say their buying habits have been influenced by a business’s impact on the environment, according to Deloitte.

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€490,000 awarded to projects promoting circular economy

10 projects promoting the circular economy in Ireland will benefit from funding of €490,000. Minister of State Ossian Smyth has today (Friday, August 20) announced the recipients of the first Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme (CEIGS). In a circular economy, “waste and resource use are minimised, the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible through good design, durability and repair, and when a product has reached the end of its life, its parts are used again and again to create further useful products”. Funding under this round of the CEIGS was initially set at €250,000. However, the minister secured an additional €240,000.

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Thriftify circular economy grant a boost to charities

Thriftify.ie, an Irish e-commerce website which sells items from 98% of Ireland’s charity shops, has secured funding through the government’s Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme.
The scheme supports innovation and the circular economy by boosting projects set up by social enterprises, in both the voluntary and community sectors.  
Thriftify enables charities to sell donations easily and effectively via smart tech. Participating charity shops upload either a photo or barcode of an item and Thriftify will price it and sell it across several different online sales platforms such as eBay, Facebook, Instagram and its own website. This smart tech enables charity shops to easily sell preloved fashion items and books via Thriftify which will then post any sold items to the purchaser in a biodegradable bag, ensuring that the whole process is as eco-friendly and effective as possible. 

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Ellen MacArthur Foundation Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging statement signed by beauty brands

Several beauty and personal care majors have joined 100+ businesses in signing a statement from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation calling for recycling costs and responsibilities to be extended to industry. The public statement​​ said that without Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) – where supply chain members were mandated to take on certain costs and joint responsibility – packaging collection and recycling was “unlikely to be meaningfully scaled” ​in the future. Among the 100+ signatories, including a raft of food and beverage players like Coca-Cola and Nestlé, non-profit WWF and the European Investment Bank, several leading beauty players had aligned their support, including Beiersdorf, Henkel, L’Oréal, Schwarz Group and Unilever, among others. “For a circular economy, packaging that can’t be eliminated or reused must be collected, sorted and recycled or composted after use. But currently, the economics do not stack up: collection, sorting and recycling or processing packaging costs more than the revenues made from selling the recycled materials. We need dedicated, ongoing and sufficient funding to make the economics of recycling work,”​ the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said.

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People Behind CSR at Cisco: How Cisco drives an inclusive, sustainable future through the circular economy

Welcome to our blog series on the people behind Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Cisco. Each blog in this series will highlight a different Cisco employee who works closely with CSR initiatives across the company. Enabling an inclusive future for all requires that we care for the planet we all share and do our part to address global challenges. A key tenet of this is enabling a circular economy, moving from a linear economy where products are developed with the expectation of a single use, to a circular model of resource conservation, use, and reuse. Katie Schindall is at the forefront of this work as the Director of Circular Economy at Cisco, leading her team and partnering with company-wide stakeholders to enable a circular economy across Cisco. She has a Master of Environmental Management and an MBA coupled with diverse experience across corporate sustainability.  

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4 circular economy lessons from Bangkok | Greenbiz

Plastic is a global scourge and accounts for up to 12 percent of Thailand’s total waste every year, amounting to a total of 2 tons according to the Pollution Control Department. Pollution — a related issue given the toxins released when plastic waste is burned or dumped into waterways — presents a range of problems for Thailand. Thailand’s air includes two times the limits set by the World Health Organization for dangerous chemicals, and 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand were attributed to air pollution in 2020. Moreover, the country is ranked sixth in the list of the world’s worst offenders for dumping plastic waste into the sea according to Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Center. Tackling these interconnected issues quickly will take systemic change — and new ways of engaging and collaborating among stakeholders across the entire value chain — from policymakers and producers to consumers.

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€490k Awarded to Projects to Promote the Circular Economy Across Ireland

Minister of State with special responsibility for the Circular Economy and Communications, Ossian Smyth TD, has announced funding of €490,000 for 10 projects across Ireland under the first Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme (CEIGS). Creating a ‘circular economy’ is part of the move towards a more sustainable future, with a focus on reducing and eliminating waste and keeping resources in use for as long as possible. The CEIGS will help communities to make this transition across Ireland and allow the country to move towards a more sustainable future. Funding under this round of the CEIGS was initially set at €250,000. However, due to the overall quality of the successful applicants, and in line with the Department’s commitment to supporting the circular economy, Minster of State Smyth secured an additional €240,000 in funding. This has resulted in the CEIGS being able to support projects across the whole spectrum of the circular economy, from green construction to digital platforms for re-use.

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Fintech app powers the circular economy

UK-based fintech company Twig has launched a free banking app that allows users to trade their things for instant cash. By doing so, the company aims to contribute to the circular economy and ensure that items don’t make it to landfill. The process is fairly simple. All customers need to do is install the app and upload their unwanted possessions. Twig’s AI-powered algorithm then proceeds to calculate how much the things are worth. As soon as users accept the offer, they can cash out their items. The process aims to reduce the uncertainty, waiting, and irritation that is normally associated with selling unwanted items. 

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How Eco-Fashion Companies Can Participate in the Circular Economy

All companies need to have an adequate waste management solution. This involves making sure that they can manage all of their textile waste. Research has shown that around 120,000 tons of textile waste are recorded and produced per year in the US. Developing and building a fashion sector circular economy could alleviate the global textile waste.  The concept, however, is impossible to achieve. Conor Hartman, the VP of the Circ business development department, said that the apparel industry was not fully taking responsibility. Among the fashion companies who talk about modifying or altering the landscape, only a few are making financial investments. But not all fashion companies are the same. Levi’s, for example, recently launched SecondHand, the company’s first-ever resale offering. 

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Regional policy implications of the circular economy –

As circular economy thinking takes hold among policy makers, civil servants and scientists, policy is tending towards circular as a strategy to reach environmental objectives.  Hopes are that  production systems will continue to deliver and indeed grow economically, but with far less material and fossil energy intensity. The Swedish Government formed its own Circular Economy Delegation last year and recently announced its national strategy for the Circular Economy  and 100 measures to transition to circularity. Policy needs to align, but this raises questions. The economy is a complex adaptive system, and any intervention may cause the opposite of the intended effects. This article explores my own very personal reflections based on earlier work together with my recent work with the local university.  

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Bitcoin IRAs Enable Tax-Shielded Investment And Propel The Circular Economy

How IRAs can solve Bitcoin’s capital gains tax problem, enable a Bitcoin standard and push the Bitcoin circular economy forward. In May 2021, I had just finished a pretty intense 12 months of helping take OC Bitcoin Network from a monthly meetup to a weekly meetup. In addition to the meetup work, over that same 12 months I independently consulted with over two dozen small businesses on how they could begin to implement Bitcoin payments and personally installed BTCPay Server at four brick-and-mortar restaurants as well as multiple e-commerce businesses. All of 2020 felt like a real grassroots war to me. It made me open my eyes to the fact that the circular economy is at hand. It made me realize that Bitcoin isn’t a thing that’s happening in the future. Bitcoin is a thing that’s happening right now.

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Commentary: Addressing plastics in the circular economy

The circular economy can be defined as an ideal, zero-waste economy where the materials we use every day follow a closed-loop, circular journey that starts with manufacturing and utilization and then moves into reuse, repair, redistribute, refurbish, remanufacture and sometimes compost. With a circular economy, everything comes back and is used again in one form or another, minimizing or completely eliminating landfills and incineration. The circular economy differs from the existing linear economy, where things are produced, used and then some things can be reused or recycled, but some things end up in the landfill, oceans or other places they don’t belong. Some types of plastics are especially problematic in terms of recycling, but increasingly, manufacturers are becoming more conscious of the materials they’re producing and using to ensure that they can either be recycled, reused or composted.

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5 Documentaries That Will Make You Rethink Single-Use Plastics

There are many products we use in our everyday lives without giving them a single thought. Some of those items, like plastic water bottles, plastic grocery bags, electricity, and even gasoline, can have a pretty big environmental impact. The world is changing, though. The UN has encouraged citizens to reevaluate their plastic use, and even companies in traditionally conservative areas of the U.S. are going green. If you also want to make a difference, check out these five documentaries that will inspire you to consider how you use plastic and other products. 1. Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Journalist and filmmaker, Angela Sun, takes us to Midway Atoll, a large island in the Pacific that has become an enormous garbage dump, in her documentary Plastic Paradise. The environmental film exposes the problems our society has created by our rabid consumption and the impact it has on the world around us.

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HyPerforma Single Use Bioreactor: Innovation

The biotherapeutic market has been rapidly adopting single-use technologies to reduce risk and improve operational efficiencies. For more than 20 years, Thermo Fisher Scientific has pioneered single-use technologies for this industry. Our products have been proven to be robust and scalable from laboratory scale-up to current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) production applications, including single-use bioprocessing equipment, flexible containment, and rigid containment product portfolios. Our webinars will explore data, innovative products, and novel strategies featuring single-use solutions for the bioprocessing market.

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Fraunhofer, SABIC, and Procter & Gamble Join Forces in Closed-Loop Recycling Pilot Project for Single-Use Face-Masks

Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, SABIC and Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced their collaboration in an innovative circular economy pilot project which aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of closed-loop recycling of single-use facemasks. Due to COVID-19, use of billions of disposable facemasks is raising environmental concerns especially when they are thoughtlessly discarded in public spaces, including – parks, open-air venues and beaches. Apart from the challenge of dealing with such huge volumes of essential personal healthcare items in a sustainable way, simply throwing the used masks away for disposal on landfill sites or in incineration plants represents a loss of valuable feedstock for new material. “Recognizing the challenge, we set out to explore how used facemasks could potentially be returned into the value chain of new facemask production,” says Dr. Peter Dziezok, Director R&D Open Innovation at P&G. “But creating a true circular solution from both a sustainable and an economically feasible perspective takes partners. Therefore, we teamed up with Fraunhofer CCPE and Fraunhofer UMSICHT’s expert scientists and SABIC’s T&I specialists to investigate potential solutions.”

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Indigenous-owned recycling company partners with Coles for sustainability

An Indigenous-owned recycling company has partnered with Coles to promote sustainability in the Northern Territory. Founded and managed by Indigenous entrepreneur Narelle Anderson, Envirobank encourages people to contribute to their State or Territory’s container deposit schemes. Community members collect items, take it to an Envirobank collection centre and reap the rewards, whether it be cash or other rewards through Envirobank’s Crunch app. Now partnering with Coles, Envirobank’s new Drop ‘n’ Go pod collection point at the Coles North Lakes store will allow the local community to become more involved in the NT’s Cash for Containers scheme to prevent unnecessary landfill across the Top End. The North Lakes Drop ‘n’ Go pod follows the trial of Envirobank’s Reverse Vending Machine at Coles Casuarina last year which saw community members recycle over 7,500 containers in the past month alone.

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One Large Pie, Extra Sustainability: Dispelling Pizza Box Recycling Myths

Whether delivery or takeout, as a weekday reprieve from cooking or festive food for a weekend celebration, people love their pizza. Over the course of a year in the U.S., people consume an estimated 3 billion pizzas. And during February’s Super Bowl game, Domino’s pizza in the U.S. typically sells around 2 million pizzas. The love for pizza has longevity, too. According to a Reader’s Digest poll, the single food that most Americans would want to eat for the rest of their lives is pizza. While we can debate Hawaiian versus pepperoni and turn our noses up at anchovies, there’s no agreeing to disagree on this: Pizza boxes can be recycled. There’s proof. The Cheese and Grease Study – Mired in myth, and confused by cheese and grease, people have been burying the pizza box in their trash bins, assuming it cannot be recycled. Allow me to set the record straight – it can! In 2020, my company, WestRock, conducted a Grease and Cheese study that concluded normal amounts of grease and residual cheese do not negatively affect the manufacturing of new products from this recycled fiber. These findings were endorsed by industry partners including the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA). Why does this matter? Pizza boxes are made of high-quality corrugated paper, which can be recycled at least seven times, according to the AF&PA. That means we could potentially recover and reuse upwards of 600,000 tons of corrugated board a year! In 2019, to help dispel the myth that…

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Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) – Tesla Co-Founder’s Battery Recycling Company Ties Up With E-Waste Firm ERI

Tesla Inc. co-founder JB Straubel’s recycling startup Redwood Materials is partnering with North American electronic waste processing company ERI to recycle batteries and solar panels. What Happened: As part of the partnership, Nevada-based Redwood has made an undisclosed investment in ERI and Straubel has been elected to ERI’s board.  The partnership will aim to deliver the last mile of electronic recycling of solar panels and batteries in a process that would ensure key elements such as cobalt, nickel, copper, and lithium that are used in electric vehicle batteries are kept out of landfills and responsibly recycled, besides putting them to use again in new products.  Straubel left Tesla in 2019 to focus on Redwood and work on recovering and recycling elements such as cobalt, lithium, nickel and copper. The demand for metals is on the rise due to the increasing shift to electric vehicles, along with concerns of its availability and the environmental harm that it could bring. 

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Vehicle scrappage policy: Circular economy faces recycling scale hurdle | Business Standard News

Targeted to promote a circular economy, India’s vehicle scrapping policy has sought to incentivise owners to dispose of their 25-year-old commercial and 20-year-old private vehicles. But beyond that, handling the scale of vehicles that have already been scrapped because of new emission norms or will be rendered unfit in a test, will still be a challenge since organised scrapping facilities are limited, putting a question mark on environmentally safe disposal of vehicle’s metal and even battery scrap. While launching the policy on Friday, which also found mention in his 75…

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Apple’s colossal e-waste timebomb

During Apple’s financials earnings call the other day, CEO Tim Cook casually announced that Apple’s hardware ecosystem had exceeded 1.65 billion devices by the end of last year. At the time I remember thinking “wow,” and then promptly forgot about it. Then the other night, it struck me just how enormous that number actually is. A billion. Then half again. And a bit more on top to finish. And then it dawned on me just how big of an e-waste problem is facing Apple in the coming years.
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A billion of anything is huge. A billion grains of rice weigh 25 metric tons and take up 30 cubic meters.

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