Newsletter November 22

Re:mix blender by Open Funk


This week I met a familiar friend, the idea vampire. You’ll know them too. They’re someone who takes an idea and sucks the life out of it by outlining all of the reasons it won’t work.

They’re often right, but they miss the point. Being right, about the here and now, doesn’t mean they’re not spectacularly wrong about the future.

It takes a leap of imagination to envisage a world where it’s cheaper to act more sustainably. We can be so attached to the comfort of the status quo that we lack the mental flexibility to imagine future world orders and future business models.

Despite being a perfectly nice individual, I didn’t spend long with the idea vampire. They drain my mental energy. Also experience has taught me that these individuals only change when innovative competitors start to pass them out, and I’d much rather talk to the innovative competitor!

And on to this months circular economy & design news …..

Blowing my own trumpet

Thrilled to have my article on Circular Economy Opportunities featured on in the Nov/Dec issue of Building Services Engineering magazine by Pressline Ltd

Also enjoyed being a guest lecturer at the Technological University of Dublin, not once but twice.

Thrilled with the success of the 3rd workshop of the Circular Upholstery Textiles project I’m running with IWIN (Irish Wood & Interiors Network). We have concepts for three circular products and three new industrial symbiosis opportunities being explored.


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation are building a Circular Startup Index

A new easy-to-use carbon calculator for products has just been launched

Want to know what you can do in your job to prevent climate catastrophe? Here’s a guide

Tongue in cheek article on how to Greenwash like a pro

Recordings of the EPA’s conference are now available online

The EPA’s recent report titled Climate Change’s Four Ireland indicates that those doubtful or unworried about climate change are most likely to be male, 45-59 years of age and older, and moderately educated.

Some Bad News

The EPA has warned that Irish emissions are back to pre-pandemic levels. Read more in The Irish Times.


Seville is building subterranean canals powered by renewable energy to help cool part of the city above. The Cartuja Qanat project uses vertical shafts pierced along the canals allow the cooler air to escape, a technology that was used in ancient Persia.

Researchers at Swedish-Finnish firm Stora Enso, Europe’s largest forestry company, discovered that lignin could be transformed from an unwanted by-product of its paper mill business into a bio-based alternative to graphite anodes found in lithium-ion batteries.

France has become the latest country to pull out of the controversial energy charter treaty (ECT), which protects fossil fuel investors from policy changes that might threaten their profits.

Aeromine’s blade-less wind turbine generates up to 50% more power than other sustainable energy options at the same or lower cost.


German tech company Open Funk has developed a more sustainable version of a food processor, which is repairable, upgradable and compatible with glass jars that people already have in their homes.

Norwegian tech retailer Elkjøp Nordic has teamed up with Minecraft owner Microsoft to launch Urban Miner, an initiative that rewards Minecraft players with in-game currency, Minecoins, for returning their e-waste for recycling.

Tallinn-based materials company Myceen has released a series of pendant lampshades called B Wise made from mycelium, which were shown at Dutch Design Week.

MGG Polymers is recycling hard plastic from consumer goods back into consumer goods.


A new buoy-to-satellite system has been switched on in San Francisco Bay to alert ships to whales in the area, allowing them to avoid fatal collisions. The Whale Safe system has already been a success in the Santa Barbara Channel, where there have been no incidents of ships striking whales since it was installed a year ago.

Oslo will become the world’s first capital city to have an all-electric public transport system by the end of 2023. In the city’s most recent tender, electric buses came in at 5% cheaper than diesel equivalents. “The maintenance is cheaper, it’s also cheaper for the operators of the electric buses. All in all, this is a win-win situation.”

Electric trucks dominated the biggest trucking show in the world in Germany last month, indicating that scepticism about the future of battery long-distance freight is gone.

Electric flying car completes public exhibition flight

Did you know? Hydrogen planes have been around since the 1980s 

Overhead power cables for trucks are proving successful in Germany and there will be a UK trial on the M180, a 26 mile spur of motorway near Doncaster.


How concerts are going green

Circuleire are hosting a half-day conference titled Demonstrating Irish Circular Economy Innovation online on the 23rd of Nov


The organic certification GOTS has introduced new rules in India to fight fraudulent certification claims

Now we can have tree-free paper bags made from leaves!!!

New York state is giving farmers and textile producers a boost with a $10 million grant to fund sustainable innovation.

DCU scientists awarded for creating more eco-friendly plastic from brewery waste

Interplasp has successfully incorporated circular polyol obtained from the recycling of polyurethane foam in its industrial production of foam for the mattress and furniture market. The industrial tests have been carried out with the experimental polyol from Repsol Reciclex® using the VPF (Variable Pressure Foaming) technology existing at Interplasp.

According to Prof Mark Miodownik ‘It’s greenwash’: most home compostable plastics don’t work’


Virgin Media O2 uses recycled aggregate during network expansion

The Irish Green Building Council published the “Building a Zero Carbon Ireland” report presents a set of recommendations to halve our built environment sector emissions by 2030, and to decarbonise Ireland’s built environment by 2050.

Six ways in which researchers and designers are working to decarbonise concrete

Circular office design and fit out in action in the UK


The public consultation on the Latte Levy is now open until November 25th.

The European Union’s environment ministers have approved that USBC will be the only charging port for small devices by the end of 2024.

The European Commission has delayed work on the Right to Repair legislation for at least 6 months after a negative assessment from the Regulatory Scrutiny Board.

California bans toxic ‘forever chemicals’ used by many brands

Not new, but new to me, in December 2021, the European Council came to an Agreement that social enterprises can be subject to reduced VAT (no less than 5%).

Circular Business Models

Sports superstore Decathlon has reversed its name to ‘Nolhtaced’ in three Belgian cities, highlighting “reverse shopping” initiatives from the brand, which include allowing customers to resell old or unused sporting goods to Decathlon so that they can be repaired and resold in the store under warranty.

London-based clean-tech start-up Again has gained £2.55m to create supply chain infrastructure, enabling packaging to be refilled and used again.

Tesco will align executive pay performance targets to key sustainability measures, including reducing food waste.

To fight back against counterfeits, Ligne Roset is piloting a buy-back program in France that will refurbish and resell Togo sofas, chairs, and ottomans.

Lidl trials cheaper on-shelf refills

Interesting insight into the sustainable shoe brand Veja


Applications for Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme (CEIGS) are now being accepted. This fund supports pioneering Irish circular economy projects on plastics, construction and demolition waste, food waste, resources and raw materials (electrical and electronic equipment, textiles, furniture. The closing date for applications is 5pm on 16 December 2022 and is open to companies with less than 50 employees.


If you’d like to discuss how any of these developments will impact your business feel free to get in touch via our contact page.




Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy