Circulate on Fridays: Low-cost innovation, circular economy funding and broken egg-shells
Every Friday, Circulate rounds up a collection of interesting circular economy related stories and articles. This Friday, discover a new use for eggshells, a successful circular economy investment story, how low-cost innovation can resolve many of the globe’s greatest challenges and more…
Frugal innovation for a better economy
Taking inspiration from the rapid emergence of platforms like Uber and Airbnb, Navi Radjou explores the idea that the digital revolution is a more frugal economy in an article for the Harvard Business Review. He points out that the highly efficient use of resources and significant lowering of costs through sharing economy business models could end up being applicable through a wide range of economic sectors including healthcare, education, energy, housing and finance. Of course, the upside of the sharing economy must be balanced against some of the concerns relating to labour and exploitation. However, the circular economy is also a model potentially enabled by advancements in digital technologies, as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s recent Intelligent Assets report argued, models such as reuse, remanufacturing and better designed are all enabled by more internet-enabled data and information.
“A cracking yarn”
It’s hard not to enjoy the title of this recent article, which first appeared in The Economist. The piece tells the story of Pankaj Pancholi, a businessman who founded a company in Leicester called Just Egg, which hard boils over one million eggs for sale in supermakrets every week. Pancholi realised that he was paying £45,000 each year to have broken eggshells taken away only to be landfilled. The solution pulled together in collaboration with researchers at the University of Leicester and engineers at Delta Engineering, sees the tough, crystalline calcium carbonate of the eggshells cleaned and crushed down into a fine powder, which can be added to plastics as a filler material to strengthen products. Most exciting about this innovation is the fact that as well as being a clever idea, Pancholi has made sure that all of his waste can be utilised in a scaled up industrial process.
Circular economy fund-raising success story
One of the world’s most circular economy focused private equity funds, Helsinki-based Taaleri Circular Economy, collected investments from over 350 different investors during a six-week fund raising period. Investments are set to be most clearly focused on waste from manufacturing being used to create heat. In general, the company reports highest levels of investment interest in renewable energy, recycling and materials handling. The appetite from the financial community for more ambitious circular economy models is still growing, but the rapid success of the Finnish fund does suggest that interest in the concept is growing.