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Online marketplace to redirect corporate waste streams to crafts people for repurpose and upcycling, supporting local artists and SMEs.

Photo of Arianne Orillac

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Explain your idea

Problem: Our current industrial system encourages a "take, make and disposeā€ model that is not sustainable in light of our planet's limited resources. Industrial manufacturing processes generate by-products, among these many valuable left over materials that could be repurposed into other products. These materials are being wasted today, often sent to landfills. Corporations are facing increased environmental scrutiny and rising waste disposal and landfill costs. Trends and opportunities: - Upcycling, i.e. reusing (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, is an increasing trend, but it's still a very niche market. Access to reusable materials is limited and unstable and upcyclers often rely on friends, family or the local community. - Innovative materials: many people are working on new materials as alternatives to plastics, often using waste as input. Challenge: How might we leverage corporate waste streams and tap into the creativity of crafts people and material innovators to prevent valuable materials from going to waste? The idea: Create an online platform for corporations, crafts people and material innovators to collaborate in finding creative solutions to repurpose the "waste" materials into new value added products or projects. Business model: 1. Membership model: NextCycle would create a network of partners and build a catalogue of available waste materials and related repurpose opportunities by looking at the current corporate waste streams and the most commonly used materials in upcycling / crafts. The network partners would include: Corporations: manufacturers, material suppliers, warehouses, repair shops, restaurant chains. Crafts people: cooperatives and individual upcyclers, designers, makers, artists, charities. Education partners: art schools and universities. Institutions: Design museum, Crafts Council, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, among others. 2. Online marketplace: corporations publish the materials they need to dispose of to a community of crafts people, upcyclers, designers, makers, artists and local art schools willing to transform them into new value added products or projects. Member companies would have two options to engage with the NextCycle community: - By transaction basis: give away or sell the materials at a very low cost (preferably at cost of transportation) in the marketplace Geolocalisation technology would be used to optimise the transfer of materials from the corporation to the crafts person, giving priority to local initiatives (proximity index), therefore reducing the transportation CO2 emissions. - Trashformation challenges: a company presents a particular waste material to the creative members of the community who compete by submitting repurpose ideas/projects for a chance to win the material supply and/or a partnership with the corporation for support/funding to bring projects to life.

Who Benefits?

Local community of crafts people, designers, artists and students from art schools or universities: - Stable and easily accessible, free/low cost source of materials - Access to a catalogue of 'raw' waste materials to inspire the development of new practices - Scale impact through increased production - Growth of small business, generating jobs Corporations: Transform waste disposal costs into value: - Improved company equity and sustainability profile - Support local community - Increased trust from green consumers NextCycle benefits society and the environment: - Reduces the amount of waste to landfill - Generates new open data: possibility to quantify waste types, volumes, creative uses - Stimulates innovation - new uses for waste materials or new materials

How is your idea unique?

Many small scale initiatives already exist in upcycling and repurpose of materials. NextCycle wants to enable the possibility to scale up impact by working with corporations. A current player in this field is TerraCycle They have successfully partnered with corporations and been able to scale. The difference with NextCycle is that instead of making and selling it's own range of products like TerraCycle does, the materials are made accessible directly to crafts people supporting creativity, innovation and the growth of local businesses. In a second phase, NextCycle would expand their offer to include a B2C marketplace to support crafts people and designers to sell their increased volumes of upcycled products to the end consumer, increasing their visibility through marketing services. NextCycle will aim to be known as the go-to-online-shop for designer products from waste materials.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about you

My name is Arianne Orillac, aspiring social entrepreneur from Panama, based in London. I'm an individual working full-time on this idea and at the moment I'm focusing in conducting customer development research and building a network of partners. I have reached out to IDEO London and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for guidance and support. I'm also working on building my business plan and understanding if there is a possibility to receive funding for the design phase of this project. From my interviews with crafts people, I have already identified a series of appealing materials including leather offcuts, rubber (car tires or bicycle tubes), wooden pallets, outdoor signage, seatbelts, wine/spirit bottles, flooring and laminates (e.g. Formica), acrylic/perspex, cork, laboratory bottles and test tubes. Potential companies or institutions to reach out to: FMCG companies, tanneries, leather bags/shoe makers, tire manufacturers, garages, bicycle shops, warehouses, museums, car manufacturers, wine producers / distributors / restaurant chains, flooring companies, shop fitters, convention centers or events producers, NHS.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hi Arianne Orillac 

This is such a great idea. I'm just thinking, have you talked to craft people, designers and artists to have a feel of what different sorts of waste can be/or have potential to be upcycled? Or where they are currently sourcing the materials? I feel designing your solution based on what the artists/designers/creatives can use would guide how best to do a pilot.

My opinion is that Terracycle may have some insights on how to handle wastes such as adding value or treating the waste before it can be upcycled. So if the artists/designers can access already treated/safe wastes, the market place is a great offering.

Photo of Arianne Orillac

Hi Isaac,
I'm happy you like the idea. I have indeed talked to designers and crafts people.
Some ideas of materials are leather offcuts, bicycle tubes, laminates (like formica), acrylic, rubber tires, wooden pallets, wine bottles, cork. The upcyclers I've talked to focus on furniture and source materials from the construction industry or refurbishing of buildings and offices, so it is a space that is already serviced.
Thanks for your question. I'll make sure to integrate my idea proposal with my findings so far.
I will also try to reach out to Terracycle to gain some insights in waste handling and processing.

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