What we do
Redesigning everyday products
What inspires us
The immortal jellyfish Alive, again and again
There is one species of jellyfish that is believed to be immortal, we read about in the New York Times back in 2012. This fascinating jellyfish can transform itself back into a polyp and begin life anew. The discovery about the Turritopsis dohrnii – better known as “the immortal jellyfish” – was unwittingly made by a Marine-Biology student, Christian Sommer, in 1988.
Now, decades after Sommers discovery, scientists still watch the jellyfish closely to understand how she does her trick. One man in particular – professor Shin Kubota – dedicated his life to the Turritopsis dohrnii.
Although most species are not immortal, most products can be. If made from a simple set of pure materials, they can be brought back to live again and again.
Photo credit: Takashi Murai
Don't mix what you can't fix
“I did not know what a PET bottle was when I started in the recycling business. I was just a young techie, very excited to build a recycling plant. New to everyone back in the nineties.
The volumes were small and the businesses were pretty conservative in sharing their knowledge. If you want to make recycling work today, you need legislators, designers, retailers, consumers.. the entire value chain. The process is too complex and too big to close the material loop alone. But if it works? It is possible to make virgin like polyester from e.g. used carpets or food plastics.
We recycle mostly polyester from postconsumer food plastics (like PET bottles) into rPET. The rPET goes to e.g. Ikea or Spin Group. Spin Group makes yarn from it for the Canary Polyester Carpet.
Pure waste streams (from high quality materials like PET) are relatively easy (low cost and low energy) to recycle. So don’t mix what you can’t simply fix.
We joined Niaga’s product passport journey because circularity is our business model. As a recycler, I need to know what waste is made from otherwise it is worthless.”
Mark Ruesink, Production & Innovation Director (r)PET at Morssinkhof.
Redesigning a complex product
The two founders of Yoni wondered where tampons are made of. After doing some research, they found out tampons consist of a rather complex set of materials that don’t seem to suit its purpose. That’s why the entrepreneurs behind Yoni decided to make a simplified alternative for tampons, consisting of one organic material, making it better for the environment as well as the female body.
The founders of Yoni inspire us for redesigning a mass consumption product from scratch, with the believe that simple set of pure and known materials just make so much more sense.
Materials scientist on why things are unnecessarily complex
Materials scientist Mark Miodownik inspired us by his view on material design for everyday products. In his talk for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation back in 2014, he explains some very impressive - but also very complex - material designs. The problem he poses is that the complexity of the materials makes them super hard to recycle. That makes Mark Miodownik wonder: “Shouldn’t we think first about materials that are recyclable, before we build millions of things?” Mark Miodownik’s story inspired our product design for carpets.
Photo credit: Mark Miodownik
Changing the material flow
The idea started when an Amsterdam based brewery asked a bunch of students to come up with a solution for their main waste stream; spent grain. The students discovered that the leftovers of the brewing process make a perfect ingredient for tasty and nutritious bread. Now a collaboration is set up between a local bakery and brewer for daily fresh bread from spent-grain.Visit Brouwbrood's website
Ecor makes materials from biobased waste. These materials can be used as packaging, tables, chairs and alike. Ecor’s technology allows to make these materials without extra ingredients, so from known ingredients and is recyclable after use.
Photo credit: ECOR