Newsletter January 2023

Bench made from whiskey Barrel

I recently got a chance to have a thorough look through the Climate Action Plan 2023, which was published on the 21st of Dec.

Some sections are quite well developed with clear, concrete targets but the Circular Economy chapter is totally underwhelming.

Very reactionary, too focused on downstream solutions, i.e. waste management and no future vision ideated.

And only undertaking to ‘Ensure implementation of ecodesign legislation’ and lead negotiations it. No mention of plans to help industry prepare for them.

Such a pity, such a missed opportunity. Hopefully there’s something in the pipeline to address this.

And for more circular economy & design news read on …..

Tooting my own Horn

Listen to me wax on lyrically about the circular economy with the Irish Wood and Interiors Network (IWIN), in the latest episode of their podcast.

Delighted to be one of the judges for this year’s Irish Business Design Award, which in 2023 is focused on sustainability! Have to say I’m really impressed with the Design & Craft Council of Ireland who are running it, quite a dynamic and enthusiastic organisation.

I’m very much enjoying being part of the European working group on the development of the Standard  CEN/TC 207 – Furniture – Circularity – Evaluation method for dis/reassembly capability. It can be a time consuming process but I really value being involved in shaping parameters for furniture design and manufacturing.

Construction & Interiors

Amtico has released a flooring product made from a renewable raw material by-product of the paper pulping process. Amtico Bio is made by converting paper pulp into ethylene and then into vinyl, cutting carbon emissions by more than 90 per cent compared to fossil fuels, according to company.

British start-up Water-Filled Glass has developed panes of glass filled with water that use sunlight to power a energy-saving heating and cooling system.

As of January 1st, new construction projects in Denmark must undergo a life cycle assessment and, if over 1000 m2 in size, must comply with a limit value of 12.0 kg CO2 equivalent/m2/year.

Clothing & Accessories

New Zealand company launches shoe that can biodegrade in boiling water in less than an hour

New York state has banned the sale of everyday garments containing PFAS by the end of 2023––two years earlier than California, even!

Israeli material science company Balena releases compostable shoe made from thermoplastic BioCir.

Stella McCartney has partnered with recycling start-up Protein Evolution Inc (PEI) on a project to find a way to transform nylon and polyester waste into ‘good-as-new’ fibres.


A designer based in The Netherlands has created a modular espresso machine prototype called Kara that presents an intriguing vision for the future of home kitchen appliances.

Shellmet is a recyclable hard hat for the fishing industry made from discarded scallop shells and recycled plastic.

Some beautiful furniture items made from repurposed whiskey barrels by the Irish company Primitive Boards (see top photo)

Production Next Door is a local furniture production platform in Hamburg Germany, which aims to support local furniture manufacturing.


US based B-corp Cabinet Health has set up a prescription service in stylish refillable containers and biodegradable pouches.

Using the French ‘Duty of Vigilance’ law, three environmental groups are filing a lawsuit against Danone over its ‘global plastic pollution’ 

Waitrose to save 320 tonnes of packaging by replacing small wine bottles with cans

Mars Wrigley Australia moves to paper-based wrappers for its chocolate bar lines


I thought this was an inspiring, vision-setting paper on what business needs to do to reach net-zero

Maalbar is a screening tool that calculates the environmental impact of a product. They offer monthly access to the tool or you can pay them to calculate the a ‘life cycle screening’ for you. I emailed the company to ask how ‘life cycle screening’ differs from ‘life cycle assessment’ but haven’t heard back from them yet.


Recoast in America recycles glass to use in restoring coastal erosion


New law in the UK means materials with harmful persistent organic pollutants (POPs), organic chemical substances with toxic properties like sofas, cushions and chairs must be incinerated and can no longer be landfilled.

Interesting article on the similarities and differences between the two EU chemical regulations REACH and SCIP

Just before Christmas the EU became the first big economy to legislate for a ‘green tariff’ on high-carbon imported goods, including iron and steel, cement, fertilisers, aluminium, electricity, hydrogen and some chemicals.


If you’d like to discuss any of these issues 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