Innovators & change leaders
The Resource Conference 2019
The Rushlight Show is the market place for Cleantech innovation and sustainable solutions in the centre of London. The show includes an Exhibition of 50 leading clean technologies, and it plays host to industry professionals from transport energy, sustainable solutions and Cleantech.
Now in its 10th year, The Resourceful Conference continues its focus on the circular economy, looking at the redesign of consumables, new business models and the developing supply chains for reuse and surplus material up-cycling.
I was asked to present the story of Watson & Wolfe at this year’s conference. Our business has evolved from a position of ignorance about the impact of fashion to a business which has a primary focus on being fully sustainable and operating within the circular economy. Like all businesses we face challenges to achieve this, and exhibitions such as these are a fantastic opportunity to share those challenges and to talk and discuss opportunities to close the loop.
The day was filled with excellent presentations, debates and panel discussions by inspirational individuals and great businesses, all helping to recycle and re-purpose waste. Here are a couple of my favourites;
TFR Group – Did you know that 167,000 tonnes of mattresses are sent to landfill every year in the UK? That’s a figure that Nick Oettinger, Managing Director of TFR Group, simply could not ignore.
Nick began to think about how he could break down each of the components to ensure as much of it was recycled and 100% diverted from landfill. Focusing on bed and mattress recycling, Nick and his team eventually perfected a dismantling process that separates mattresses into 19 component parts, which can be used again for upcycling and for making new mattresses.
TFR Group now recycle more than 7,000 mattresses per week and have already recycled over 1 million mattresses since launch.
Rype Office –
Rype Office – The team at Rype believe that every office should be beautiful, sustainable and cost less. Every year 75,000 tonnes of office furniture goes to landfill in the UK. This equates to 300 tonnes every working day. Rype captures the best of this furniture and remanufactures it to as-new condition, selling it at a lower price than the originals. In addition, they have a range of furniture which is created with waste plastics, such as used yogurt pots, black plastic bags, kitchen chopping boards and other waste plastics.
Recovery Bookcases by Rype are made from waste desks and table tops. They can be customised with edges and end panels to match a preferred colour palette.
A RePlastic table by Rype Office. Top – recycled kitchen cutting boards and black plastic bags. Legs – remanufactured Vitra Ad Hoc
There is so much inspiration within the Circular Economy movement and so much is happening to keep the momentum going. For example:
- There are currently 8 universities across the UK, who each have 18-month projects looking at the circularity of plastic.
- Flat wine bottles. Yes, flat wine bottles made from recycled plastic! They take up 40% less space, so more can be transported for the same cost, they are less fragile, and they are 87% lighter than a glass bottle.
In my opinion, more of these innovations, studies and businesses should be shared on social media and in the media. If more people knew what was going on to reduce waste, perhaps we could inspire even more innovators to find a circular use for our waste.
I have been so inspired to think about the issue around the number of accessories which are produced every year and the number that end up in landfill, and I believe there is potential to give these products a new life, so watch this space!