There’s something that feels a bit wrong about chucking coffee grounds in the bin/compost, isn’t there? Well, this week on the Eco Blog, we catch up with Scott Kennedy from Revive Eco—a circular startup that converts used coffee grounds into natural and sustainable oils.
In the video, Scott tells Beth (amidst a cacophony of puppy barks—the joys of WFH) about how he believes we should be tackling our waste problem, why our current use of palm oil is unsustainable, and how his business (and others) can help change the narrative around this problem and bolster the circular economy.
Not sure what the circular economy is? We continued the interview in writing…
Scott, can you explain what ‘the circular economy’ is?
For me, the circular economy is all about extending the lifespan of a material or product. It’s about eliminating the traditional ‘take, make, dispose’ method of manufacturing and consumption, where obsolescence is effectively built into products. By doing this, we will reduce the volume of landfill.
This is ultimately how Revive was born; we looked at what we could create from an existing ‘waste’ stream, in order to supply raw materials to different industries.
Circularity in practice can take many forms, and there are a plethora of examples that help bring it to life.
- Clothing companies such as Patagonia and Finisterre offer repair services for their products that have been damaged or experienced wear and tear. This prevents items from being thrown out/replaced.
- Levi’s have worked on projects to use old denim as insulation for new build houses.
- Elvis and Kresse upcycle end-of-life fire hoses from the London Fire Brigade and produce a range of luxury bags and travel accessories.
- Mud Jeans introduced a subscription service for their jeans, meaning end-of-life jeans are sent back to them to be upcycled, and a new pair is sent to their customers as part of the subscription model.
Circularity can involve upcycling, further processing of materials to extend their life, recycling into new products, or the introduction of whole new business models altogether.
How can people start emulating the circular economy in their everyday lives?
I think there are several easy steps we can take to be a bit more sustainable and circular in our behaviour.
- Question the merits or value of buying something new; if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
- If you must buy, try to buy second-hand or good quality stuff that will last.
- Extend the life of things you already own: if your favourite jumper has a hole in it, don’t throw it away! Find a way to mend it so that you can continue wearing it, or upcycle it into something completely new.
- If you can, reduce your packaging consumption by buying from zero-waste shops or shops that sell items loose.
- Buy products from companies that you know are operating with the environment at the core of their business. The Pawprint App is a great tool to look at your everyday behaviours, and see areas where improvements could be made.
What’s the most important advice you have received in relation to the circular economy?
Both of the words are pivotal.
It is essential that the sustainability and circularity of an idea or model are also backed up with strong financial sustainability, in order to ensure the long term success of the idea.
It’s crucial that circular solutions are built to be scalable and financially robust in order to create the positive environmental impact which they have the potential to.
Big thanks to Scott and the Revive Eco team for chatting with us, but more importantly for forging ahead with a solution that could eliminate a portion of our waste. A world without landfill sites, trash islands or grubby rubbish all over the place is something we can all get behind!