How is an Italian, a Finnish & a Chilean startup tackling this pressing issue?
If this is your first time here, welcome!🙂 Every week, I cover 3 startups across the world that wouldn’t have been founded if the founders said ‘🤷🏽♂️ Not My Problem’.
100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.
Had Vanni Covolo, José Manuel Moller Dominguez and Suvi Haimi & Laura Tirkkonen-Rajasalo dismissed Plastic Pollution as someone else’s problem, these 3 companies would never have been founded-
🛑 Preventing plastics from reaching the oceans
Tracing the source...Oceans are the last sink for the planet. If the current trend of plastic consumption continues, there would be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050. 80% of this plastic arrives from rivers (90% of it can be attributed to just 10 rivers).
The Interceptor...River Cleaning deploys a series of floating devices, positioned diagonally on the course of the river. They intercept plastic waste and transport it to the riverbank, in a special storage area. This revolutionary and self-powered solution stops ~85% of the waste that passes through it.
Thinking beyond waste...The modular structure makes the solution scalable for rivers of different sizes and is easy to maintain and replace. The floating devices allow navigability and their fish protection device ensures that marine creatures don’t get caught in the trash storage area.
⚖️ Refilling products ‘by the gram’
Sometimes, we don’t realize but...When we buy products in smaller quantities, we essentially pay more per unit. It also leads to more packaging waste as smaller packages tend to escape easily into the environment and ultimately end up in the oceans.
Buy exactly what you need...First launched in Santiago, Chile, Algramo sells products ranging from detergents & soaps to lentils & rice, through a vending machine. These machines are mounted on a tricycle. Booked via a mobile app, the tricycle lands up at the customer’s doorstep and they can refill the product in their reusable packaging.
People, planet and profit...The system reduces the cost of the product for brands by eliminating the packaging costs. This brings down the final price for the consumers(the doorstep delivery makes it more convenient). With reuse rates as high as 80%, it’s a boon for the planet.
🚮 Plastic- You’ve got competition!
Convenience but at a hefty cost… Plastic has been one of the greatest inventions- it revolutionized industries like medicine, space travel, automobiles. But millions of animals are killed by plastics every year! Microplastics (plastic particles < 5 millimetres but > 1 micron) have even entered human placentas, posing risk to foetal health.
A biodegradable alternative...Finland based Sulapac has developed a biodegradable material that competes with plastic on versatility and cost. Made from renewable sources and certified woods, the material can be mass-produced using the same equipment used for plastic manufacturing(low switching cost for manufacturers).
From food to cosmetics...Whether it’s a jewellery box, a jar to store dry food or containers for cosmetic items, the Sulapac biodegradable material provides a compostable and plastic-free solution- without compromising the functionality and aesthetics.
✅ Cutting down on plastics
Let’s be practical! We can’t eliminate plastic from our life, but we can definitely reduce its consumption. Here are 3 things that I have been doing-
🛍️ Carrying reusable bags- I keep these bags right next to the entrance of my house, so every time I step out, I can’t really ignore them.
♻️ Cleaning before disposing of- I make sure that I rinse(not dishwasher clean) the plastic containers before disposing them off so that they can be recycled easily.
🔍 Research- Instead of mindlessly ordering stuff online, I try to look for sustainable brands that use plastic alternatives.
💡Do you practice something at your home or workplace to cut down on plastic use? Just hit reply and let me know. I would love to feature it in the next edition.
📹 Epic conversations
Watch my conversations with founders in Canada who are thinking beyond plastic
Tru Earth- An eco-friendly laundry detergent strip that is saving millions of laundry jugs from ending up in landfills.
eco + amour- A full-service refillery that is changing the throwaway culture of home and personal care products.
Goldilocks Wraps- A natural, convenient and eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastics that keeps your food fresh for a longer duration.
⏮️ From the last edition
In the last edition, I wrote about the problem of Food Waste. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here it is. Here’s an observation I made around food waste last week-
I have been staying with my parents for the last 2 months and I realized that they keep their refrigerator clutter-free. ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’. You can clearly see what’s in the fridge and needs to be consumed, minimizing the waste. Certainly something for me to learn and practice.