The world is in bad shape and effective solutions for the circular economy of the future are desperately needed. The exact shape of that economy is still to be determined but its features will undoubtedly vary due to differing market needs across the globe.

Reuse is one of the Five R’s of the circular economy. Greater reuse is vital if society is to move from a linear economy where almost all resources are wasted to a circular economy circular where waste is minimised. Allowing products to reach the recycling phase does not make sense if those products can be returned and used repeatedly. The challenge is how to achieve that efficiently within complex supply chains.

It is a sad indictment of the modern economic system that society is having to redevelop sustainable models that have fallen out of use. The glass milk bottles found on every doorstep 40 years ago are a good example of a container that was repeatedly returned, washed, and re-used. It was effectively a closed loop system and relatively simple to operate. What are needed are similar solutions that can operate at scale and operate across a wide range of product types and applications.

Reusable packaging is one area that offers huge potential for improvement because of its reliance on plastics. There is increasing recognition that building a circular economy for plastics is critical and that the world cannot simply recycle its way out of the issue. This requires rethinking how we bring products to people without relying on disposable packaging. Various models have evolved to tackle the scourge of plastic packaging but at the crux of the issue is the acceptance that all stakeholders, including the consumer, must be incentivised otherwise the chain breaks.

Solving circular economy challenges is a key focus for Innovate UK. Support from Innovate UK and Innovate UK EDGE has played a vital role in the development of Voittaa Limited and their Veribli product as MD Matthew Houldsworth says:
“Following support from Innovate UK EDGE we were successful in applying to an Innovate UK Fast Start competition. That funding has allowed us to innovate and create our Veribli product which aims to engage the consumer and incentivise them to play their part in re-using packaging.
The support given by Innovate UK EDGE specialists has involved more than guidance around grant funding. The introductions made, and connections being built, are gold dust to us. Continuing guidance from the EDGE team is helping us to become investor ready and will allow us to deliver our growth plan for Veribli.”
Innovate UK EDGE are here to support growing, innovative, ambitious, and scalable businesses. If your business is looking to innovate and you are interested in exploring what support is available, please get in touch and let us help you –