Meet this year’s Circular Economy Innovators and Entrepreneurs.
Innovation and adaptability are hallmarks of human nature and the historical revolutions in science, agriculture and industry show us how just quickly and profoundly a paradigm shift can change our lives. Our challenge now is to re-examine our relationship with the material world and built environment to forge a more regenerative, sustainable and circular global economy.
The Zero Waste Conference is pleased to introduce four trailblazing individuals who are following their passion and forging ahead with innovative circular economy business models that are finding commercial success.
Fun & Philanthropic Furniture
Ciiru Waithaka is the Founder and CEO of the Nairobi-based children’s furniture company FunKidz. Her brand repurposes wooden shipping pallets and draws on Kenya’s bustling second-hand clothing market for soft furnishings.
FunKidz has been recognized far and wide for their ingenuity and commitment to education and sustainability. Michelle Obama even gave a shout out to Ciiru at the United State of Women Summit in 2016 for helping to create opportunities for other women and girls. FunKidz also organizes donations of used desks to schools in need and is launching an outreach program for providing balanced meals to kids as well.
Brewing & Baking: A Match Made in Heaven
Dihan Chandra is the Founder and Managing Director of The Spent Goods Company. Their circular business model focuses on two of Canadians’ favourite indulgences – beer and bread. They facilitate the reuse of leftover grains from beer brewing process into new baked goods. This creates a circular flow of resources and saves the brewers money as they no long have to pay someone to haul away their spent grains.
To date, Spent Goods Company has partnered with 17 local businesses, fed 38,565 families and diverted 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Designing Out Waste at the Office
Keilhauer is a leading furniture company known worldwide for designing sustainability into their products. Their CEO, Mike Keilhauer, is proud of their environmental legacy:
“We have been focused on design activism and environmental leadership for 40 years and are committed to inspiring our industry toward more sustainable practices.”
The brand recently released Swurve, a carbon-neutral office chair. The chair was inspired by biomimicry design principles and is made to be disassembled and easily recycled at end-of-life. Josephine Abate, Keilhauer’s Sustainability Officer, joins the panel to share her insights on circular design.
One Person’s Trash, Another’s Building Material
ChopValue is a leading circular economy business creating décor and furniture pieces from an unconventional resource – used chopsticks. Founder and CEO Felix Böck, got the idea when he came to Vancouver to pursue a Ph.D. in structural bamboo composites and developed a sushi addiction.
“To date, we’ve recycled close to 30 million chopsticks from restaurants, businesses and malls that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill. As our concept has grown, we have indeed created a circular economy concept that adds value to already existing resources in our cities without having to use any virgin materials from our natural forests.”
Join us at the virtual Zero Waste Conference on November 13 to be inspired by these circular economy success stories.