Holiday Gift Guide of Small Businesses

Holiday Gift Guide of Small Businesses

Throughout the year, we’ve shared a ton of small businesses we’re proud to support on our blog and I’ve had the distinct pleasure of interviewing several entrepreneurs whose dedication to their work has been inspiring. In fact, getting to know them has been my favorite part of this job. These brands are doing a myriad of amazing things, from uplifting their communities, ushering in more representation in their respective fields, creating products they’re passionate about, and focusing on sustainability.  As you buy gifts for your loved ones in the coming weeks, we encourage you to support these businesses because, along with doing a lot of good, they also sell some pretty awesome products. That’s why we’ve crafted this gift guide to make your shopping experience a little bit easier this holiday season. We hope you enjoy these brands as much as we do!  The below brands all ship items to the U.S. and may deliver to other countries as well.  For the snack lover – Is it really the holidays if you’re not indulging in delicious foods? These tasty treats are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.  Cinnamon spice loaf from Rize Up Bakery – Rize Up Bakery’s Cinammon loaf – Rize Up Bakery is unlike any other bakery you’ve come across. Not only does the San Francisco business have roots in social justice activism, but they make some pretty unique sourdough flavors, including Ube, Garam Masala, and K-Pop Gochujang loaves.  But this cinnamon spice loaf bread is bursting with holiday flavors and is the ideal gift for the sourdough lover in your life.  Hear Rize Up’s founder speak to us about taking a stand with his business in season two, episode seven of Small Business, Big Lessons.  Made in Michigan gift basket from Zingerman’s Community of Businesses – The made in Michigan basket from Zingermans – Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has several restaurants throughout the area. The brand deeply values community, which is why they’ve committed to only opening businesses in Ann Arbor. Fortunately, they do ship certain food items so anyone can enjoy their treats.  This made-in-Michigan gift basket contains a wide range of tasty snacks – cherry preserves, peanut butter, chocolate, bread, pasta, and more!

Meet Scruff, the litter-picking eco-dog who loves to clean up his local park

Meet Scruff, the litter-picking eco-dog who loves to clean up his local park

Even for the most environmentally conscious, coping with the growing mound of waste most households produce can be a daunting and dispiriting task.  But David Grant and his wife Yvonne Faulkner-Grant have found an answer to the mountains of plastic detritus left behind by modern consumers.  Step forward Scruff, a border collie with a knack for recycling.  Their 13-year-old pet has taken to picking up any discarded plastic bottle he sees on his daily walks around Nuneaton, retrieving more than 1,000 over the course of the past year.  The couple noticed Scruff’s special ability when he began to turn his attention from twigs and branches to the empty plastic bottles littering the road.  He would pick one up in his mouth, but then drop it when his eye caught another one for him to retrieve.  The couple hit on the idea of putting each one he picked up and dropped again into a bag, with the idea of eventually taking them along to their local recycling centre. Scruff enjoyed picking up sticks before developing an interest for plastic bottles Credit: Joseph Walshe / SWNS   Mrs Faulkner-Grant, 47, said: “It seemed wrong that he would pick the bottle up and then drop it again. So we got him to start bringing the bottles to us and we put them in a bag and then count them up at the end of the walk.   “Now, he will see one on the other side of the road and look at me as if to say: ‘Can I get it?.’”   Mrs Faulkner-Grant, an Aldi warehouse deputy team leader, first bought Scruff home in Dec 2009 after buying him from a farm in Wales.   She met Mr Grant in 2018 through her running club and the couple were soon taking Scruff on two five-mile long walks each day.   “I’d say he will have collected at a least 1,000 this year. We get such a good reaction on Facebook, where Scruff has been dubbed an eco-dog,” she said.  Mr Grant, 48, added: “People have said he should be working for the council, and everybody loves it when they see him in the street.  “He is such an obedient dog and very friendly – your typical sheep dog. When we go on walks, he always picks up plastic bottles and likes to play with them. He never chews the bottles or the lids.

How to Host a Sustainable Holiday Party

How to Host a Sustainable Holiday Party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and your calendar is probably filling up with holiday parties and festive gatherings. While a time for enjoying food and sharing gifts with loved ones, the holidays are also a disproportionately wasteful time; between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it’s estimated that Americans produce 25% more waste than any other time of the year.  No matter what the occasion, here’s how to throw a holiday party that’s both festive and better for the planet.  Get Cooking – Instead of buying plasticized snack and dessert trays from the grocery store on unrecyclable platters – or pre-made meals and main dishes from the frozen section – make as much party food as you’re able.  The processing, packaging, and transportation of food all use energy and contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. Consider a pre-made vegetable platter sold at a grocery store: the vegetables are prepared and assembled, the dish is packaged in plastic, transported by truck or plane, and then kept refrigerated until it’s sold. According to FoodPrint, about two billion pounds of food are wasted during the processing/manufacturing stage alone, usually in the form of edible portions of food being trimmed off and not reused for animal feed or otherwise repurposed. By making the same vegetable platter yourself, you create no extra waste from packaging, have the option to choose local and sustainable ingredients, and can use those ingredients as efficiently as possible. Prepping food at home also gives you liberty to utilize ingredients you might already have on hand, rather than shopping for entirely new things. Not to mention, ultra-processed foods are generally much less nutritious than fresh, homemade dishes.  Of course, you might not be able to make absolutely everything for a party – potato chips, crackers, and bread might not be up your alley – but think about what you can make. Instead of jarred salsa or packaged cookies, try your hand at making them yourself, or ask guests to contribute a homemade dish. Main dishes and appetizers are a good place to focus your energy. 

New Bill Seeks to Protect Frontline Communities From Plastics Pollution

New Bill Seeks to Protect Frontline Communities From Plastics Pollution

One of the main dangers of plastics is the harm that their production and incineration can do to the health of the people who live nearby. Plastics plants are one of the main factors polluting the air of Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, for example.  Now, a group of U.S. lawmakers are seeking to address this environmental justice issue through the newly introduced Protecting Communities from Plastics Act.  “Plastic pollution isn’t just a problem for our oceans and climate — it’s a massive environmental injustice, directly impacting frontline and fenceline communities throughout the plastics lifecycle,” U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA), who introduced the bill, said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch. “My bill will protect the health of our communities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions fueling the climate crisis, and stop the fossil fuel industry’s petro-dictatorship as it eyes plastics as a safety net. The clock is ticking, and we will keep working on this next Congress — but we are sending a message here and now to put oil and gas companies on notice. Our communities must come first.”  Huffman introduced the bill Thursday alongside Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), who are the legislative team behind the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act. The bill would both tighten health and environmental regulations for plastics makers and set national targets for reducing the production of certain single-use plastics and for encouraging reusable materials in food and other packaging.  The bill’s sponsors also emphasized the contribution that the production and use of plastics — which are set to double over the next 10 years — make to the climate crisis.  “As we transition to clean and renewable energy, fossil-based plastic production threatens to derail our efforts to address the climate crisis,” Booker said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch. “In fenceline communities that are near plastic production plants, residents suffer from the release of harmful pollutants and increased rates of debilitating health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. To address these environmental injustices, I am proud to introduce this legislation that will create nationwide targets for plastic source reduction and put a pause on the permitting of new and expanded plastic facilities while the EPA updates regulations for plastic facilities.”

England to Ban More Single-Use Plastic Items

England to Ban More Single-Use Plastic Items

In an attempt to deal with the growing plastic waste problem in the UK and the planet, the UK government is set to ban additional single-use plastic items like plates and cutlery in England, after banning straws, stirrers and cotton swabs there in 2020.  From November of last year to February of 2022, a public consultation regarding a plan to prohibit the supply of single-use plastic items and polystyrene food and drink containers was held by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), reported The Independent.  “We are determined to go further and faster to reduce, reuse, and recycle more of our resources in order to transform our waste industry and deliver on our commitments in the ambitious 25-year environment plan. Cutting our reliance on single-use plastics is crucial,” said a spokesperson for DEFRA, as The Guardian reported.  Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Thérèse Coffey will announce plans to replace the single-use plastic items with biodegradable alternatives, reported the Financial Times.  Scotland imposed a similar ban earlier this year, and last week Wales approved a ban on single-use plastic products beginning in 2023.  Every year, 4.25 billion single-use cutlery items and 1.1 billion plates are used in England, which is equal to 75 pieces of cutlery and 20 plates per person, the government said, but only 10 percent of it gets recycled, CNN reported.  Most plastics are made from fossil fuels and produce greenhouse gas emissions, which speed up the rate of climate change.  All of the single-use plastic products have reusable or non-plastic alternatives, Welsh Minister for Climate Change Julie James told the Financial Times.  “It’s not a lot more expensive at all, and as people realise how harmful these products are, more alternatives will come on stream at a cheaper price,” James said, as reported by the Financial Times.  DEFRA is also looking at how to deal with other single-use plastic items like tobacco filters and wet wipes.

Gartner: What to do to make data centers more sustainable

Gartner: What to do to make data centers more sustainable

Just a few weeks ago Gartner analysts said that sustainability and issues around it  would transcend all of the strategic technology trends for 2023.  This week at its IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference Gartner described how corporate data centers might make sustainability a practical reality.  “IT leaders must avoid wasting value through the premature replacement of IT infrastructure,” said Philip Dawson, vice president and analyst at Gartner, at the conference. “They can do that by using real-time health analytics to maximize the useful life of data-center assets.”  “On-premises data centers and cloud providers are extending infrastructure lifecycles from three to five years and from five to seven years to help maximize OPEX cycles and reduce CAPEX investments tied to refresh,” Dawson stated.  Above all, the most-effective way that sustainability can reduce costs is through greater energy efficiency and optimized power consumption. It is paramount that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders identify where and how data-center infrastructure can be optimized to consume less power, without hindering necessary business operations, Dawson stated.  Organizations need a sustainable-technology framework that increases the energy and material efficiency of IT services, and it must enable enterprise sustainability through traceability, analytics, renewable energy, and AI. The framework should also call for the deployment of IT solutions that help organizations achieve their own sustainability goals, distinguished vice president and analyst at Gartner Frances Karamouzis said earlier at the research firm’s IT Symposium/Xpo 2022.  “Targeting areas such as data-center power consumption is low-hanging fruit because it’s easy to measure,” Karamouzis said. “What enterprises need to look at is what to deploy as they get more and more data. Are they looking at buying more storage the same old way or are they looking at optimizing that system by looking at things like DNA storage and looking at the level of redundancy they need and implementing technology with a sustainable mindset.”  Environmental sustainability on CEOs’ radar, with 9% of them putting it among their top three business priorities, Gartner stated. Nearly 70% of them who Garnter surveyed plan to invest in new sustainable products and in make existing products more sustainable, the analysts stated.

What the circular economy’s early days look like for Amazon and Nike | Greenbiz

What the circular economy’s early days look like for Amazon and Nike | Greenbiz

What’s the killer app for the circular economy? GreenBiz co-founder Joel Makower wanted to know. The quick answer is that no single magic button exists yet, if ever. As with so much of sustainability, however, the ideal endgame for circular principles is to become baked into every point of the product’s lifecycle along the line of design, supply chain, manufacture and beyond. “The killer app is that which is invisible,” said Nike’s VP of Business Innovation Cyrus Wadia, onstage Tuesday at VERGE 18 in Oakland. “We need to be embedding these attributes into high-performance products.” That’s the end goal, but where does business stand now? Take a step back. The term “circular economy” refers to three dimensions of a new economic model: ending waste and pollution; keeping products, materials and nutrients at the highest possible value for the longest possible time; and regenerating the natural resources and capital upon which economic systems depend. That’s according to Del Hudson, the Ellen MacArthur Fund’s head of U.S. and North America Operations. The British organization, which is accelerating the concept, advocates for next-level innovations and systemic shifts that most corporations have yet to follow (or lead, for that matter). Conversations are less about what it looks like to move away from the old “take, make, waste” linear model and more about how to partner to drive new, circular models forward, Hudson said. “It’s less about, ‘how do I apply this to my organization,’ and more about, ‘who do I collaborate with as I move to this transition.'” So what does that look like to Nike and Amazon? 
Read the full article at: www.greenbiz.com

Brexit could drive UK circular economy, says resource recovery firm | Envirotec

Brexit could drive UK circular economy, says resource recovery firm | Envirotec

Brexit offers fresh opportunities for the UK and its manufacturers to secure their raw material supplies, such as recycled plastics, from a stable domestic market and stimulate a circular flow of materials, according to Axion Polymers. The North West-based plastics recycler suggests that potential difficulties in transporting material across borders after March 29 2019 should become a driver for growth in the domestic market as purchasers seek to reduce inward material supply chain risk. Axion Director Roger Morton asserts that freedom from regulatory controls and external policies, coupled with the ability to set our own rules, could encourage greater investment and enable the UK to ‘get ahead of the rest of Europe’ in material recovery and resource security, provided there is strong Government leadership. Axion produces its high-grade recycled Axpoly polymers derived from UK end-of-life vehicles at two sites in Manchester. Plastics are extracted from end-of-life cars and other metal scrap at its SWAPP facility in Trafford Park and further refined at Salford, where recent laboratory equipment investment is further enhancing the products’ properties and quality. Mark Keenan, Axion Polymers Business Development Manager comments: “With 31.5 million cars currently on UK roads, our future end-of-life vehicle feedstock for our recycled polymers is assured. And that can only be good news for UK companies seeking to use locally-sourced plastic raw materials that can go back into a range of products, from new cars and electrical equipment to construction products,” adds Mark. Roger says: “Brexit is inevitable now. Although complications could arise, we are taking a positive approach. British companies should focus on the opportunity that leaving the EU offers and how we can make the most of our resource sustainable position.” A good example here, he points out, is steel. With annual consumption (12 Mt) versus annual arisings (11.5 Mt), this market could be much more ‘circular’ than the existing export of scrap/import of finished products model. Similarly, demand creation for the use of recycled polymers in new automotive, electrical and building products could encourage further investment in more processing plants like Axion’s.
Read the full article at: envirotecmagazine.com

The role of agriculture in Portugal’s circular economy – Ferrovial’s blog

The role of agriculture in Portugal’s circular economy – Ferrovial’s blog

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the three “Rs” in sustainability, are also at the heart of the Circular Economy. It’s no secret that reuse is a practice that has been around for many years. Our ancestors already practiced it in agriculture. Reuse of organic matter, such as animal manure, was a practice used even longer ago. Organic matter is an essential component of fertile soils, affecting their physical, chemical and biological characteristics, and being an essential requirement for a healthy environment. Soils on its way to infertility. Without organic matter, there would be no soil. This basic principle for recycling and reuse is one of the paradigms of modern-day agriculture, which must meet two requirements which are not necessarily at odds with each other: Balancing the need to feed an increasingly larger number of people with quality food and at low cost. Doing this in an environmentally friendly way.
In recent years, soil fertility has been decreasing, due to a decline in the reuse of organic matter, and there are as yet no known policies or measures in place to revert this trend. If we consider that, according the to FAO, soils should have a minimum content of 2% organic matter, we find that around 50% of all soils (in Portugal at least) would not even be able to be considered as such. Added to this, our soils are at a high or very high risk of desertification.
Read the full article at: blog.ferrovial.com

Fourth Annual Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit

Fourth Annual Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosted the Fourth Annual Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit May 9-10, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Applying sustainability and circular economy principles can bring enormous business value—through both risk mitigation and new revenue opportunities. Forward-thinking business leaders recognize the potential of this approach, but often find it difficult to communicate these concepts and their value internally and externally to consumers and value chain partners.
The theme for the 2018 Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit was Translating Value to Ignite Action. The event explored how to effectively implement sustainable and circular strategies and featured case studies, interactive breakout sessions, and hands-on toolkit exercises. Participants gained a better understanding of what has (and hasn’t) worked, what trends are emerging around these issues, and how to communicate the value of sustainability and circularity as a business strategy to a wide array of business units and consumers.
This annual convening attracted hundreds of thought leaders and practitioners from business, government, academia, and nonprofit organizations. Attendees had unparalleled networking opportunities with industry leaders, like-minded peers in the field, and potential collaborators.
The Chamber Foundation is hosting the 2019 Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit on August 15-16, 2019. Come learn the practical knowledge, skills, and applications needed to most effectively execute sustainability and circular economy priorities. Click here to learn more.
For a look at the 2017 summit agenda, speakers, and sessions, click here.
For any questions, please contact Senior Director of Sustainability and Circular Economy Program, Stephanie Potter.

Circular economy in the limelight in Davos – EURACTIV.com

Circular economy in the limelight in Davos – EURACTIV.com

The report states that of the 92.8 billion tonnes of exploited resources in 2015 (which equates to 34.4kg of raw materials per person per day, excluding water), only 8.4 billion tonnes was recycled. This equates to just 9.1% of all resources. The Dutch think-tank Circle Economy made the most of the annual meeting of world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos to publish its first report on the circular economy, titled the Circularity Gap Report. If 21.5 billion tonnes of raw material are put into long-term stock, notably in construction, the remaining 51.9 billion tonnes are transformed into short-lived products and are assumed to be scattered in the environment. Of the 19.4 billion tonnes of materials turned into waste only 46% is recycled, according to the report, whose main objective is to develop a method and indicative references to measure the world economy’s progress towards a more circular economic model. Pressure on natural resources decreased by 28%. This waste completely goes against the environmental commitments discussed by governments and corporation at the COP21. The extraction of natural resources multiplied by twelve between 1900 and 2015 and should double once again by 2050. But a fully circular economy would decrease pressure on natural resources by 28%, the report calculated. Indeed, 67% of greenhouse gases are emitted by the exploitation of natural resources. A fully circular economy would enable us to cut these emissions by 72%, according to the report. A crucial contribution if you take into account the UN’s last Emissions Gap Report published in October, which served as a reference to the Circularity Gap Report. According to the UN report, even if all participating states of the Paris Agreement were to keep to their commitments, the global temperature would most likely rise by 3-3,2°C before 2100. Therefore the agreement’s goal of keeping the global temperature rising above 2°C would not be reached. On 22 January France’s Environment Minister Nicholas Hulot revealed that France had failed to meet its 2016 carbon emission targets by 3.6%.
Read the full article at: www.euractiv.com

The circular economy and the bioeconomy. Partners in sustainability. New report by EEA –

The circular economy and the bioeconomy. Partners in sustainability. New report by EEA –

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published its report on the circular economy and the bioeconomy. The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability shows that the two policy agendas have similar objectives and areas of intervention, including food waste, biomass and bio-based products, and that they would benefit from stronger links, particularly in product and infrastructure design, and collaboration throughout the value chain. According to the report, the increasing demand for food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy resources could worsen the over-exploitation of natural resources. By extending the lifetime of products and recycling materials, a circular, bio-economy approach can help retain material value and functionality for longer time as well as avoid unrecycled biowaste. Promising innovations and strategies for circular biomass use include biorefinery, 3D printing with bioplastics, multi-purpose crops, better use of residues and food waste, and biowaste treatment. Consumers can also contribute to bioeconomy’s sustainability, for example, by eating less animal-based protein, preventing food waste and separating biowaste from other waste streams, the report says. The report argues that biobased approaches should be tailored to the specific use context in order to maximise the benefits of biobased and biodegradable products. The technological innovation, covering product and infrastructure design, should be embedded in a wider system innovation that also tackles consumer behaviour, product use and waste management. The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability is the third EEA report on the circular economy that aims to support the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. The two previous reports were: Circular economy in Europe – Developing the knowledge base; and Circular by design – Products in the circular economy.
Read the full article at: ilbioeconomista.com

European Circular Economy Project Researches Wind Turbine Blade Recycling

short time ago very first wind power turbines were dismantled. Much of the material is easy to recycle – mostly steel. But the blades are made with thermoset FRPs that have so far been considered unrecyclable. A short time ago, Finland’s very first wind power turbines were dismantled after nearly 30 years in service. Much of the material is easy to recycle – it’s mostly steel. But the blades, the largest up to 90 meters long and close to 10 tonnes in weight, are made with thermoset FRPs that have so far been considered unrecyclable.Markku Vilkki, CEO of Conenor and demonstration manager for the H2020 project Ecobulk, wants to demonstrate that it is not only possible, but also profitable.“ This is not just a problem for turbine blades. Composite materials are a fast-growing choice for many applications due to the excellent weight to strength ratios, excellent durability, and highly flexible moulding and manufacturing techniques,” he explained. “The analysts of Ceresana expect the global market for C-FRP and G-FRP to increase to a volume of over 9.98 million tons by 2024. But they very difficult, and in some cases considered impossible, to recycle,” Vilkki continued. According to the CEO most end up in landfills – and that’s something that needs to be resolved. “As this is great obstacle not only to the circular economy but also to more widespread use of these materials that otherwise can have great environmental benefits – for example in vehicles, a 10% reduction in weight can result in 6-8% reduction in fuel consumption,” he said. Together with the Ecobulk partners, the possibilities of re-using and recycling bulky composite products are being explored.
At Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), Professor Ruud Balkenende and his team of researchers, are experimenting with a large sample of wind turbine waste that was supplied by project partner Virol. So far their approach is to use the waste to build new products, and through this experience learn how we can improve the original materials for better and easier re-use at the first end-of-life stage. In his labs in Conenor, Vilkki has already produced samples of wood composite extrusion profiles containing 20% FRP waste from wind turbines. While these still need more thorough testing, early results show that these could well be used in lightweight construction applications.
Read the full article at: livecircular.com

Axion urges Government Circular Economy policy to support UK manufacturers

hat’s the view of Keith Freegard, Director of Axion Polymers speaking at the first-ever Made in Britain (MiB) workshop focused on marketing in the Circular Economy (CE).
Keith commented: “Demand creation for recycled products is important if we are to create a circular economy based on efficient recovery and reuse of our existing finite resources, such as plastics.
“The technology is there to recycle these materials and there are multiple benefits to using recycled polymers from secure, locally-sourced UK supply chains with stable pricing. It’s also a brilliant carbon-saving story!”
Held at Axion’s end-of-life vehicle recycling facility in Manchester, the March event attracted more than 30 manufacturer and entrepreneur members keen to learn more about trading sustainably and supporting a more sustainable future in Britain.
Speakers also included Jane Gardner, Axion’s Head of Consulting Services on supporting business growth and development towards a circular economy; Malcolm Marnold from the Department for International Trade and Steve Poppit from Craemer UK who highlighted how their wheelie bin recycling scheme demonstrated circular economy principles.
Attendees also toured Axion’s facility, the Shredder Waste Advanced Process Plant (SWAPP) where resources are extracted from shredded scrap vehicles. Recovered materials include high-quality recycled polymers that can be used in new plastic goods, from automotive components to construction products.
For MiB member David Trotter, Managing Director of Muggi, the event has inspired him to seek recycled polymers for use in his plastic cupholder products. He said: “It’s really interesting listening to the experts and I enjoyed the networking. I found Keith’s talk fascinating and I will call him for a chat. I’m specifically interested in seeing what recycled products Axion supply that I could use in making our polypropylene Muggi tray.”
Made in Britain’s Chief Executive, John Pearce, said: “What a privilege! To have our members take the factory tour at Axion in the afternoon, after spending the whole morning learning how you turn old cars into high value polymers, which some of them will want to purchase, was as good a day as I have ever had at Made in Britain.
“For me personally, just to see…

Feather packaging innovation picks up European circular economy award | Envirotec

Feather packaging innovation picks up European circular economy award | Envirotec

The winner of the 2018 Green Alley Award has been chosen: Aeropowder from the UK beat off five competitors to pick up the European circular economy award. Aeropowder’s solution is pluumo, an insulating material for packaging based on waste feathers. The decision was made on the evening of October 18 at Haus Ungarn in Berlin. In mentoring sessions, the finalists worked with experts on their business model. Afterwards, all six startups presented their project to the audience and the jury in live pitches.
Aeropowder’s seemingly unique idea is to use waste feathers from the poultry industry to produce sustainable thermal packaging. After cleaning and treatment, the feathers are covered in a certified, compostable food grade liner. This textile is called pluumo and serves as an environmental-friendly alternative to conventional polystyrene packaging, PE-foams or thermal foil. “Once again, this year’s decision was not easy, and our finalists presented six strong and well-designed concepts,” said Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group. “Aeropowder convinced us with their product pluumo, as they are repurposing materials which would otherwise be disposed of. We want to give the Green Alley Award to those innovative approaches that directly feed into the idea of a Circular Economy.” Elena Dieckmann, co-founder of Aeropowder, is delighted about winning the award. “With pluumo we had the idea of putting a valuable resource back into the material cycle. Winning the Green Alley Award shows us that we are going in the right direction. Feathers have incredible properties, as they are light-weight and robust, and insulate against heat and cold. We have requests from Spain, Germany, France; not only from customers but also from feather suppliers.” The Green Alley Award has been running since 2014 and was initiated by the environmental services supplier Landbell Group from Mainz, Germany. “With their unconventional approach and their enthusiasm, startups fuel an innovation-driven industry such as the circular economy. We are delighted that Aeropowder is once again a strong Green Alley Award winner this year. With pluumo, Aeropowder can really help to reduce waste and make our economy more sustainable,” says Schulz.
Read the full article at:…

Scotland’s cities can unlock £1bn circular economy boon, says report

Scotland’s cities can unlock £1bn circular economy boon, says report

Key regions of Scotland, including Aberdeenshire, Tayside, Edinburgh and Glasgow could unlock up to £1bn through circular economy practices and principles, the report claimed. Aberdeenshire, for example, could generate more than £620m by overhauling waste management processes across key sectors, while Edinburgh-based breweries and distilleries could reap new benefits through reuse processes. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “These reports show the exciting potential of a circular economy where reducing waste and investing in keeping materials in circulation for as long as possible can release an estimated £1bn of economic opportunities for Tayside, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. This demonstrates the overall scale of the opportunity for Scotland. “Scotland is already leading the way with its ambitious and challenging targets for recycling which are above and beyond the EU targets. However, we want the narrative to move beyond recycling to re-use, repair and remanufacturing of items. In this light, we are currently considering next steps for introducing a deposit return scheme which will help us achieve our ambitions.”
Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan was launched in 2010 and sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for a “zero-waste society”. It includes goals to achieve a 70% recycling rate for all waste, with a maximum of 5% sent to landfill by 2025. The report notes that the numerous breweries and distilleries in Edinburgh could add £1.2m to the economy each year by sending spent grain to be used for animal feed, anaerobic digestion and energy generation. In related news, Sturgeon has also unveiled the latest projects to receive support through the nation’s Circular Economy Investment Fund. More than £700,000 will be shared across three projects which aim to reuse household appliances in house clearances in Glasgow, recycle coffee grounds into bio-oils and deploy 3D metal printing technology.
Read the full article at: www.edie.net

Environment Ministers Discussed Circular Economy And Plastics Strategy –

Environment Ministers Discussed Circular Economy And Plastics Strategy –

At Monday’s Environment Council, ministers exchanged views on the package presented by the European Commission on January 26, 2018, which aims at delivering on the circular economy action plan. The package consists of the following elements: European strategy for plastics in a circular economy; a Monitoring framework for the circular economy; and Implementation of the Circular Economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation. They based their debate on a note prepared by the Presidency and took into account the interventions of Commissioners Vella and Arias Cañete, who were present. Ministers agreed that they welcome the presentation of the new EU plastics strategy. They highlighted the need to move forward with the plastics strategy as it aims to improve how we use and recycle plastics. Plastics have been instrumental in achieving the economic and social standards we have today. However, in recent years marine littering and other undesirable consequences linked to the use of plastic have been a concern to environment ministers. All Ministers welcomed the Commission package and called for an urgent implementation of concrete measures, in particular to increase the recycling of plastics, find solutions to the widespread use of single-use plastic and to find a holistic approach to the value chain of plastic production. Eco-design for plastic products can play a very important role here. In their exchange of views, ministers mentioned several other possible actions to be taken at EU or at national levels: campaigns for raising consumer awareness; increasing the quality of recycled products through setting standards; green public procurement; and the use of the rules on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), similar to the one which was agreed recently in the waste package, together with financial incentives and voluntary commitments by the industry. Finally, ministers agreed that they are all looking forward to the Commission legislative proposal on single use plastics. “We need to protect our environment from plastic pollution. We also need to protect our seas from microplastic particles. 
Read the full article at: www.eurasiareview.com

Green Alley Award 2018 is looking for the best circular economy startups in Europe

Green Alley Award 2018 is looking for the best circular economy startups in Europe

The Green Alley Award is entering the next round: Right now, circular economy entrepreneurs and startups have the opportunity to apply with their business ideas. Landbell Group, originator of the Founder’s Award, encourages young companies to compete with their technology, service or product by July 1, 2018. With the Green Alley Award, Landbell Group created the first European startup award for the circular economy in 2014. This year, founders have the chance to present their innovative projects at the GAA 2018 by applying here. The winner, who will receive €25,000 in prize money, will be determined at the finals in October as part of a live pitch.
The Green Alley Award 2018 is aimed at all startups and young entrepreneurs who have developed a business model in the areas of digital circular economy, recycling and waste prevention. GAA 2018 is looking for companies that are about to launch with their products or services or are already in the growth phase. Startup founders who want to expand into other European markets are also welcome. The sole condition is that the business idea must help recycle resources. Patrick Schulz, CEO of of the Mainz-based Landbell Group, stated: “We are delighted that the Green Alley Award is entering its fifth round this year. In recent years, we have come to know many exciting and innovative business ideas that all show in a special way how we can gradually establish a circular economy in Europe. In a circular economy, the value of products, materials and resources should be conserved in the economic cycle for as long as possible while, at the same time, generating as little waste as possible. In our current linear economy, not all products are recycled at the end of their lifecycle, wasting valuable materials.” Whether it’s the avoidance of plastics, the development of sustainable materials or the multiple use of products – the circular economy holds enormous business potential for young entrepreneurs and startups. This can be seen in the diversity of ideas from GAA winners over the past years. In 2017, the Finnish startup Sulapac convinced the jury with a sustainable alternative to plastic packaging.
Read the full article at: www.eu-startups.com

Plastics producers gear up for shift to circular economy

Plastics producers gear up for shift to circular economy

KUALA LUMPUR: Local waste management experts are confident Malaysia can shift to a circular economy where reduction, reuse and recycling of resources prevail for the benefit of the environment. At least one trade organisation, the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA), is already taking the necessary steps in that direction. The term “circular economy” is defined as an idea for a truly sustainable future that works without waste and is in symbiosis with the environment and its resources. 
It is a future where every product is designed for multiple cycles of use, and different materials or manufacturing cycles are carefully aligned so that the output of one process always feeds the input of another. Rather than producing emissions, by-products or damaged and unwanted goods as waste during the manufacturing process, in the circular economy this waste become the raw materials or “nutrients” for new production cycles. A circular or regenerative economy can also be loosely described as maximising the use of resources or materials by channelling waste back into the production cycle to be used as a raw material source, thus closing the loop of product manufacturing and waste management. Waste management expert and senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) Irnis Azura Zakarya said Malaysia would be able to practise a circular economy if the relevant ministry gave its full support to the idea. However, she said, in order to achieve a circular economy, the country must first put in place efficient recycling and waste management practices. “It is important to identify recyclable resources and materials that can be reused and returned to the economic cycle. “This means we have to now reconsider materials that are usually regarded as waste and view them as valuable resources or secondary raw materials. “And, to enable industries to make full use of such secondary raw materials, any obstacles that stand in their way should be eliminated,” Irnis Azura, who is also director of Unimap’s occupational safety and health unit, told Bernama.
Read the full article at: www.freemalaysiatoday.com