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Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics

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The Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) is organising a side session during the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) in Helsinki, Finland, on 3 June 2019: ‘Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics’.

The participants will address the key aspects for scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics and the main future opportunities and orientations for the circular economy in the plastics sector. They will also have the opportunity to learn how projects funded by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, address these and other challenges to boost circular economy solutions for plastics. 

The Side session “Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics” aims at bringing together innovators, researchers, companies, public authorities and policy makers to promote circular economy in the plastic sector. 

An interactive workshop with projects pitches, live pools, discussion tables, along with other activities will be organised to facilitate exchanges of views between participants.

Registration

To participate in the Side session “Scaling up innovative circular solutions for plastics” on 3 June contact Marco Ranieri and Stefania Rocca from EASME. The number of places is limited and they will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

U-START – Startup program by Veolia

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Veolia Germany initiated the U-START program in order to foster the cooperation with innovative startups in the fields of circular economy, climate protection and resource efficiency, and to reduce the time to enter the market with new concepts for a better world.

Veolia is dedicated to helping startups grow, and giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to engage directly in a co-innovation partnership. Depending on the individual needs and level of maturity Veolia provides different scale-up opportunities: prototyping, testing facilities for proof of concept, co-creation projects, access to distribution channels etc.

Circular Call 2019

Veolia is launching its fourth U-START call on circular economy together with EIT RawMaterials. Startups can apply here from 1 April to 31 May 2019 for the opportunity to participate in a startup acceleration programme to develop sustainable business ideas in circular economy.

For this edition, the call is focusing on sustainable ideas on the following key topics:

  1. Innovative recycling concepts for electronic waste (PCB, Li-ion batteries etc.)
  2. Alternative upcycling valorisation routes for secondary products (Recycled paper, glass fibre composites, recycled carbon fibres etc.)
  3. New technologies for sorting and recycling composite materials (Mixed plastic products and metal-plastic composites)

Eligibility

  • Entrepreneurs, innovators and companies with an early stage venture that can serve as a base for a viable new business.
  • Entrepreneurs should be working full-time on their venture.

Five good reasons to join the U-START program:

  • Global player: Team up with the world leader in energy and resource efficiency services for municipalities & industries
  • Seed funding: Benefit from up to 100 000 EUR to test your solution
  • Collaboration: Develop your project in a co-creation mode with Veolia experts
  • Testing: Test your solution on one of > 200 Veolia industrial sites in Germany
  • Scaleup: Deploy your solution on the German market with Veolia commercial teams
  • Market: Accelerate access to global market through the Veolia network

For any questions regarding this call or the U-START programme in general contact: de-ustart@veolia.com.

Launch of the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition: €150,000 for three innovations reducing plastic waste

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On 28 February 2019, at an event in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the European Commission launched the 2019 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition. Under the theme Challenging Plastic Waste, this year’s edition is looking for ideas and projects that reduce plastic waste by targeting systemic change at the local, national and European level. Independent Judges will determine the three projects that will each be awarded €50,000 in October 2019.

We collect more than 27 million tons of plastic waste in Europe per year. Whilst addressing plastic waste is a big challenge, it is also an opportunity to innovate and create new solutions. That is why this year we are calling for ideas to tackle this societal issue, laying the foundations for new business models, new forms of cooperation and stimulating new ways of doing things for a better, cleaner and more sustainable future for all,” said Slawomir Tokarski, Director in charge of Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the European Commission.

The European Commission has already implemented several measures, as part of a determined action to turn the challenge of plastic waste into a positive drive for the future of Europe. This includes the first-ever Europe-wide Plastics Strategy, the launch of the Circular Plastics Alliance as well as a voluntary pledges campaign. With these measures, the Commission is laying the grounds for a transition towards a more circular economy, fostering growth and innovation.

 The aim of the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition is to support ideas and projects that reduce plastic waste and littering through changing and improving existing processes or through introducing brand-new products and initiatives. These innovations need to reduce the amount of plastic waste created or encourage and enable the greater re-use and recycling of plastic waste. Solutions should be scalable and target change at the systemic level and be rooted in one of the following areas:

  • Reducing the consumption of single use plastic products;
  • Recycling, reusing, and upcycling existing plastic waste;
  • Dealing with accumulated plastic waste in landfills and the environment;
  • Changing consumer behaviours, or retail and wider business practices;
  • Implementing alternative business models and optimising supply chains;
  • Introducing new materials fit for a circular economy or that offer sustainable alternatives to fossil-based plastics.

The European Social Innovation Competition is seeking ideas from social innovators, entrepreneurs, students, designers, businesses, doers, makers and change creators – anyone who has an innovative and creative idea for turning the tide on plastic waste.

The 2019 edition of the Competition was launched in Ljubljana, a sustainability pioneer, former European Green Capital and winner of the 2018 Sustainability category in the European Capital of Smart Tourism Awards. This zero waste city collects 68% of its waste separately (more than any other European capital). Furthermore, two recent winners of the Competition are from Slovenia, demonstrating a burgeoning social innovation ecosystem in the country. Ljubljana was therefore a natural choice to host this year’s Launch Event for the 2019 Competition.

At the Launch Event attendees had the opportunity to learn about the Competition and hear from one of last year’s winners, HeritageLab, regarding their experience. In addition, attendees were able to gain insights from a discussion panel in which some of this year’s Judges discussed the issue of plastic waste, as well as take part in a mini hackathon thinking up solutions to the plastics problem. The event closed with an exhibition titled “Toasted Furniture” from Slovenian artists Nuša Jelenec and Nina Mršnik. It showcased the artists’ innovative method of actually toasting plastic waste, transforming it into beautiful and colourful panels, which are then used as the building blocks for furniture and lighting. This offered a fantastic and creative example of Challenging Plastic Waste.

Applications are open until Thursday 4 April noon CET. For full details visit: eusic.challenges.org

Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 associated countries. Now in its 7th year, the Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe. This year, the focus is: Challenging Plastic Waste.

EU Social Innovation Competition 2019

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The EU Social Innovation Competition is back for a 2019 edition, and will kick off on 28 February 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The competition was set up by the European Commission in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, who was chairman of the Social Innovation Exchange. The Social Innovation Exchange is a global community that encompasses several types of stakeholders including NGOs, global firms, academics and public agencies, working together to tackle modern societal challenges such as ageing, climate change and public sector services such as healthcare. Diogo also launched several initiatives, including the Entrepreneurs Academy, before his passing in July 2011.

The launch event in Ljubljana will officially open the 2019 edition and bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and policy makers to discuss and share ideas on social innovation. The event will see the unveiling of the 2019 theme and mark the official entry start date. At the event, participants will have the chance to meet and listen to previous competition winners and innovation experts, as well as explore how Ljubljana became the first European zero waste capital. Participants will also take part in group activities related to the 2019 competition theme.

To round up the event, there will be a ‘Toasted Furniture’ art exhibition focused on circular economy by Nuša Jelenec and Nina Mršnik.

Register for the launch event here and don’t hesitate to express your interest in the 2019 competition and learn more here.

Follow the latest event updates on Twitter via @EUSocialInnov and make sure to follow #diogochallenge.

From waste to circular economy – ecoBirdy: A European Toy Story

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Supported by the EU’s programme for the competitiveness of SMEs (COSME), ecoBirdy will unveil its first collection of design furniture for kids made of recycled plastic toys at the trade fair Maison & Objet in Paris from 19 January.

The launch follows an in-depth two-year study period exploring how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. ecoBirdy has created pieces that are 100% made of recycled plastic waste and can easily be recycled again.

The Antwerp-based designers, Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan, have not only created design pieces, but a whole system from the collection and recycling of old, unused plastic toys to the design and production of the furniture.

It was essential to the founders that each step be based on social and environmental responsibility. An accompanying storybook and school programme has been designed to introduce youngsters to the circular economy and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future. The design, recycling and production of ecoBirdy furniture is all done in Europe.

“We found that plastic toys use plastic more intensively than other consumer goods: 80% of plastic toys end up in landfills, incinerators or in the ocean. By giving old plastic a new life, our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact. As we use innovative technologies, made for the reuse of plastic, there is no need to add any pigments or resin.”

For the first collection, the designers have aimed to create pieces that enable kids to experience creativity and at the same time raise awareness of sustainability. All items are made entirely out of recycled plastic from European waste. Due to accurate sorting, cleaning and grinding during the recycling process, the plastic of all products is absolutely free from harmful chemicals. It is clean, pure and 100% safe. The whole collection is produced in Italy and includes a chair, a table, a storage container and a lamp.

The furniture will be available on the market from the end of January and can be ordered from the ecoBirdy online shop. ecoBirdy is one of the 10 projects funded under the EU programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs (COSME) 2016 Design-based consumer goods call.

Read the original article here on the EASME website. To find out more about other European sustainability and green projects, read about past EEPA entries in the Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency category.

Eco-Innovation: When business meets the environment

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Environmentally friendly innovation, is it possible? Can new ideas be sustainable, economically viable and still be innovative?

The Eco-innovation action plan aims to prove that innovation does not have to be separate from being sustainable and environmentally friendly. In fact, many of the projects supported under the eco-innovation scheme prove that the two go hand in hand! Through promoting the concept of circular economy and engaging in sustainable practices, SMEs do not have to be excluded from eco-innovation and can in fact make it a strong part of their identity and a unique selling point.

Sound interesting? Interested in finding out more about: Eco-friendly paper bottles, Eco-lights made from soda bottles or ECO°PAPER made out of confectionary production waste? Browse through the project gallery to discover the diverseness of Eco-innovation in Europe.

Source: DG Environment Eco-Innovation

For more information on how to apply and benefit from funding for eco-innovative ideas have a look at the DG Environment Eco-innovation website: http://ec.europa.eu

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