Five female-run businesses using design to create a waste-free world

From working together with bacteria to make material for trainers, to unplastic made from brewery waste, these female-founded companies enlist the power of creativity to do away with waste

1,400 entries. 100 nations. 16 winners.

With innovations as varied as growing a brand-new generation of textiles, running a network of repair clubs, and creating naturally degradable sanitary wear from pineapple leaves and corn husks, business owners are proactively finding services to deal with waste.

Nyungu Afrika turns pineapple leaves into environment-friendly sanitary items. Credit: Khalid Amakran

In honour of International Womens Day, weve picked 5 inspiring female-led teams.

In January 2021, worldwide design organisation What Design Can Do launched an international competitors: a require entrepreneurs to send ideas for taking on waste. The No Waste Challenge received scores of entries from creatives across the world, from which judges selected 16 winning teams.

1. Nyungu Afrika

To deal with duration inequality, Mureithi launched Nyungu Afrika in 2020. With the very first products scheduled to be distributed later on this year, the business creates biodegradable hygienic pads from pineapple leaves and corn husks.

Whats more, hygienic products are not constantly made from the most natural of products. “Most period products in Africa are complete of plastic and toxic chemicals,” says Mary Nyaruai Mureithi (imagined above, left), who is from Kenya.

In the future, Mureithi intends to open an African research study and development centre for womens health, which “is viewed as a specific niche topic and is ignored when it concerns research and innovation,” says Mureithi. “Organisations like ours are here to end that.”

Lori Goffs Outlander Materials developed a plastic alternative using brewery waste. Credit: Josje Deekens/ASN Bank

2. Outlander Materials

A youth dream to save the planet, a biotechnology degree and a homebrewing hobby influenced Lori Goff to start Rotterdam-based Outlander Materials in 2018. Utilizing the wastewater produced by breweries, she and her group have developed a non-toxic, non-plastic product, which they call unplastic.

Emy Bensdorp is tackling the growing scourge of forever chemicals. Credit: What Design Can Do

Goff is now working and fundraising on scaling up production of the semi-transparent, compostable product. The group intends to focus on food, cosmetics and retail applications. “We have terrific lab-based samples, but we need to be able to prove that we can do it on an industrial scale,” she states, including that theres currently interest throughout Europe and from prospective partners in south-east Asia.

In a sense, Goff remains in the company of resource security: “Were entering a products shift stage around the world and we require brand-new products,” she describes. “Design is important for our development and what were trying to develop for the future.”

“I was teaching myself to brew, speaking to a lot of breweries and the subject of waste kept coming up. I thought maybe there was a method to combine biotech and brewery waste to make brand-new compounds. I left my task to begin the company.

3. Loading up PFAS

PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have actually been utilized in muches given that the 1950s, in applications as diverse as firefighting foam, non-stick pots and pans, water resistant clothes and food packaging. But the damage theyve done to the environment has only recently ended up being clear.

” Theyre called permanently chemicals because they do not break down and we dont know how to eliminate them,” states Emy Bensdorp, creator of Packing Up PFAS. “There are parts of the Netherlands where youre advised not to consume food grown in the soil due to the fact that of the contamination.”

Bensdorps graduation task at the Design Academy Eindhoven concentrated on discovering a solution. Sandy soil can be washed however clay soil is harder to clean up. Bensdorp found that by heating soil with a high clay content to 1,000 C (1,832 F), PFAS could be broken down. After reaching such temperatures, the soil is too damaged to grow anything in, however Bensdorp had a brainwave.

Design-driven innovations to alter the world

The No Waste Challenge is a worldwide design competitors that attends to the effect of waste and consumerism in the world

Take a look at the 16 winners

Nature is the ultimate circular economy, states Jen Keane (r), creator of Modern Synthesis. Credit: Hannah Burton

” Clay plus heat is ceramics. I realised we could take this contaminated clay soil, put it in the kiln and utilize it to make bricks. We can destroy the chemicals and get a clean, usable item at the end.”

The reaction to her company, Claybens, from the structure sector, has been positive and Bensdorp is delighted about bringing her development to market. For her, the finest part about being an impact business owner is teaming up with others to make positive change.

4. Modern Synthesis

Jen Keane invested many of her profession working for sportswear giants such as Adidas and Nike. However in 2019, after completing a masters degree at Central Saint Martins in London, she co-founded Modern Synthesis. The startup is focused on creating the next generation of products utilizing biology. “Natures the ultimate circular economy. Its had 3.8 bn years to find out its system of making,” she states.

Camila Naveira and Melina Scioli inform school kids about the circular economy. Image: Reparadores Club

Its an example of how cooperation has made this development a truth. “We have to work with scientists, engineers, and the financial investment community if we desire to make real modification.”

The group has actually developed a method to grow textiles made from nanocellulose, a very great form of cellulose, which is 8 times more powerful than steel. “One of the biggest difficulties to biomaterials so far has been structural integrity and getting the effectiveness that a synthetic or polyurethane material provides,” Keane says. “Weve created a brand-new hybrid category of materials thats partially woven, partly grown to assist address this problem.”

5. Club de Reparadores

The UK presented right to fix legislation in 2021 however for much of the world, throwaway culture continues. In Buenos Aires, Camila Naveira, Melina Scioli and their group founded the social enterprise Club de Reparadores in 2015.

Whats more, hygienic items are not always made from the most natural of products. “I was teaching myself to brew, speaking to a lot of breweries and the topic of waste kept coming up. I thought possibly there was a method to combine biotech and brewery waste to make new substances. I realised we might take this contaminated clay soil, put it in the kiln and utilize it to make bricks. Its had 3.8 bn years to figure out its system of making,” she says.

” We learned how discouraging and ineffective recycling can be and how much budget plan governments are spending on it,” Scioli says. “But there werent any efforts in terms of promoting repair work.”

Main image: Lori Goff, creator of Outlander Materials. Credit: Josje Deekens/ASN Bank

The power of repair stretches far beyond the product being repaired, Naveira says. “Theres a magic that emerges when we do these events. People are helping their neighbours– theyre genuinely delighted to exist.” Its about the power of neighborhood, Scioli includes. “We believe most of the obstacles we face in regards to the environment and environmental crisis will be solved by community-based services.”

Motivated by repair work cafes in Amsterdam and by electronic devices repair celebrations in the UK, the duo have been running volunteer-led repair occasions across Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico, and recently introduced an online directory site so individuals can find repairers in Buenos Aires. Theyve developed circular economy educational programs for schools, and are wishing to drive the motion for right to fix legislation in South America.

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