by ERP Italia

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Applications for the 2020/21 Green Alley Award closed on 17th November and a total of 189 applications were received. The Green Alley Award team is now busy examining which business ideas will make it into this round’s finals.

This is an exciting time for the team, as it reminds them how the Green Alley Award makes a positive contribution to the environment, the economy and society.

Cooperation for a cleaner environment

Establishing a circular economy takes the cooperation of multiple parties. Politicians must provide the necessary legal framework, as the European Union did with the adoption of its new Circular Economy Action Plan.

The aim is to make sustainable, long-lasting products, to help European citizens play a full part in the circular economy and to benefit from the positive change that this brings about.

This approach calls for consumers to make sustainable purchasing decisions, and companies to adapt their production processes and provide transparency.

To make that adaption possible, it is also essential that businesses have tangible alternatives to conventional materials like leather and plastics that they can choose from.

Startups are leading the way

This is where startups come into play: ‘We need startups as drivers for innovation to develop these alternatives,’ says Dr Thomas Fischer, Head of Market Intelligence and Governmental Affairs at Landbell Group.

‘As an expert for the Green Alley Award, I’ve always been impressed by the clever ideas I hear. Even though not all of them appear feasible to me, it is always a great experience to see so many enthusiastic people spending their time and energy on developing circular economy solutions.’

Giving waste a new value

2019 Green Alley Award winner Gelatex Technologies is a great example of a circular economy solution: the Estonian startup convinced the jury with their sustainable alternative to leather. The Gelatex material is mainly made from second-hand gelatin derived from the waste of the leather or meat industries.

‘With 25% of animal waste (five million tonnes in Europe per year) being burned or thrown-away, Gelatex gives this waste a new value,’ says CEO and co-founder, Mari-Ann Meigo Fonseca. Gelatex can be used in the textile, automotive and furniture industries.

The process of selecting the finalists from the 189 applications has begun. Which ideas will make it to the Grand Finale in Berlin? Check out the Green Alley Award website for all the latest news.