For the last five years, Landbell Group has presented the Green Alley Award to start-ups whose business ideas help advance the circular economy. ERP UK is sponsoring this year’s award.
The finalists for 2018 are six start-ups from six European countries whose concepts for the development of sustainable materials, waste prevention or digital tools for the circular economy have already convinced the judges. The overall winner will be announced on 18th October in Berlin.
Landbell Group created the first European start-up award for the circular economy to seek out young companies with a business model in the areas of digital circular economy, recycling or waste prevention. The six finalists from Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic impressed the judges with their ideas for innovations in the food industry, alternative materials and biodegradable packaging, among others. The winner, which will be decided following a live pitch on 18th October 2018 in Berlin, will receive the €25,000 prize.
Sustainable concepts for the circular economy
Launched in 2014, the Green Alley Award is now in its fifth year and is enjoying growing popularity on the start-up scene. This year’s finalists were selected from a total of 215 applications from 30 European countries, with the majority of submissions coming from Germany, the UK and Italy. This year’s call for applications focused on three key building blocks for the circular economy: waste innovation (which accounted for 37 percent of the business ideas); innovations and new recycling technologies (which made up 37 percent of the submissions); and digital solutions for the circular economy (which accounted for 26 percent of applications).
The development of sustainable materials, waste prevention and digital tools for process optimisation harbour enormous business potential for young entrepreneurs and start-ups, as demonstrated by the variety of projects which won over the judges.
‘Each of our finalists has developed a clever, unique concept based on the idea of the circular economy,’ says Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group. The globally active company based in Mainz is the founder of the start-up award and one of the leading providers of services and consultancy for international environmental and chemical compliance. ‘We are very pleased that the award has been so well received and that start-ups are strong and important drivers in such an innovation-driven sector as the circular economy. We want to reward this with the Green Alley Award.’
Landbell Group company, ERP UK, is a sponsor of this year’s award.
‘We are very proud to be part of this year’s award and delighted to see a finalist from the UK,’ says John Redmayne, Managing Director of ERP UK – the producer compliance scheme that manages WEEE, batteries and packaging compliance, as well as data services, for over 600 companies in the UK. ‘We recognise the economic and environmental opportunities of the circular economy – and the potential to transform our industry. Supporting this award shows our commitment to being at the forefront of new ideas and innovation.’
This year’s Green Alley Award winner will be decided at the award ceremony on 18th October 2018 in Berlin. The jury is made up of representatives from Landbell Group, as well as external experts including Alexis Figeac, founder of the EU R2Pi project on Circular Economy Business Models, and Suvi Haimi, CEO and co-founder of Sulapac, the start-up which won the 2017 Green Alley Award. At mentoring sessions, the finalists will have the opportunity to develop their business ideas with experts and, on the evening of the award ceremony, pitch their projects to the jury and the audience.
Meet the six finalists:
Superseven (Germany): Superseven from Germany uses the Repaq brand to develop completely biodegradable packaging solutions that can technically compete with plastic packaging. The foil packaging is made of cellulose and its home and garden compostability is TÜV certified. In addition, the packaging is completely free of pollutants, suitable for food, and harmless to the environment, humans and animals.
Refurbed (Austria): The Austrian start-up Refurbed brings whole products, not just raw materials, back to life. Used electrical and electronic equipment such as smartphones, tablets, monitors and household appliances are overhauled by experts and made new again. Equipment, which would otherwise be recycled in parts, is recycled as a whole – and costs consumers up to 40 percent less.
MIWA (Czech Republic): Minimum Waste is the aim of this start-up whose newly developed technology enables food retailers and consumers to buy and sell without packaging. Traders receive their products from producers in refillable containers from which consumers can take the exact amount needed on site. The containers are then cleaned and returned to the producer so that they can be used again.
Ecoplasteam (Italy): The solution ‘EcoAllene’ tackles a problem which many circular economy experts still see as an obstacle: the difficulty of separating material mixes such as waste products consisting of a metal and plastic layer. Instead of using complex processes to separate these components, Ecoplasteam’s patented production process results in a versatile new material which can be used in clothing, paving stones or household items.
Circular IQ (Netherlands): Making sustainable purchasing decisions requires detailed information on the sustainability of products. ‘Circular IQ’ is an application that collects and aggregates data across the entire supply chain, from the source of the materials to the supplier contracts. This enables companies to monitor and optimise the sustainability of their products and to create transparency for customers and buyers.
Aeropowder (United Kingdom): The British start-up Aeropowder has developed an alternative insulation material for packaging. This environmentally friendly and sustainable product is made of recycled materials, which can be used to replace conventional insulated polystyrene boxes. The product ‘pluumo’ consists of excess feathers, which would otherwise be disposed of, inside certified biodegradable protective covers.