SUEZ and MakeSense teamed up in 2014 to create the Future of Waste program, focused on alternative solutions for reducing, reusing and recycling waste. For COP21, Future of Waste is taking action and launching its first Waste&Climate Impact Program, which aims to build public understanding of the links between global warming and waste, while helping entrepreneurs to highlight their positive impacts on climate. Each week, open_resource gives Future of Waste its own slot to talk about an entrepreneur from the Waste&Climate program. Credit: Tristan Everhard
If we stacked the billions of disposable cups thrown away in France each year on top of one another, they would be…25 times the height of the Eiffel Tower! This is even more impressive when we know that just 1% of these cups are recycled.
Faced with this situation, Gobilab, a startup, has developed a designer bottle and a free app that geolocalizes public water fountains, to encourage people to drink tap water, with zero waste.
Credit: Tristan Everhard
Over the past 25 years, the volume of waste produced in Europe has increased by 50%. 40 to 50% of this waste is made up of disposable products and packaging, which represent very inefficient uses of resources because they have a very short life and are often unnecessary. According to estimates from 2009 , the oceans contain 100 million tons of plastic waste (80% of which was disposed on land), which has notably led to the formation of the Pacific Trash Vortex – an island of waste that is the same size as France.
With downstream recycling, we need to take more care upstream with waste production, while developing eco-designs to facilitate the circular economy. To be able to take effective action to preserve resources and protect the climate, we must focus in priority on solutions that make it possible to reduce waste upstream by promoting eco-design products and more responsible and collaborative forms of consumption. The majority of countries acknowledge that the priority for waste policies must be reducing, before recycling and reclaiming. In France, the “Grenelle de l’Environnement” initiative has set a target, for the next five years, to reduce household waste production by 5 kg per year and per person, representing a reduction of 7% per person.
The company: Gobilab
How can we combine drinking water in the office or in the street and reducing the volume of waste relating to disposable plastic bottles and cups? Gobilab has found the answer to this with its launch of Gobi, a reusable bottle designed for the office and day-to-day life.
“We have carried out very advanced research and development work on eco-design and other design aspects to create a reusable bottle with very high standards of food safety and environmental performance. Our challenge was also to make this a fashionable item that users feel proud of and happy to adopt. Gobi, made in France, has been chosen to equip all the participants at the COP21, which is an outstanding recognition of everything we have achieved”, explains Florence Baitinger, Gobilab’s co-founder.
On average, one Gobi replaces 650 disposable cups per year per person, and more than 60 small disposable bottles. The savings calculated by Gobi’s eco-designers come to 2.9 kg CO2 eq. per year per user: this represents a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for water consumption when away from home, and a 75% reduction in the consumption of fossil resources, equivalent to 1.6 liters of oil per year and per user.
Many entrepreneurs are proposing alternatives to disposable products and wasteful packaging: the number of packaging-free supermarkets is growing, systems with guidelines are being put in place… Large numbers of consumers have been made aware of the environmental impacts of disposable items and are making the transition to a zero waste lifestyle, guided in particular by blogs.
To go further with Future of Waste
To go further, you can help encourage the emergence of these solutions by getting involved with Makesense to resolve the challenges facing entrepreneurs or take part in the discussions about COP21 on the Voxe.org platform.