Six Innovators Disrupt How We Reuse, Recover and Recycle Waste

November 28, 2016

Imagine a world where bacteria helped recycle plastic. Or a world where designers could access fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfills. Or a world where your old office chair was given a second life at a start-up or charity.

This is exactly what three of this year’s six LAUNCH Nordic Innovators envisioned and are now working on making a reality. To help them succeed and scale, LAUNCH partners IKEA Group, Nike Inc., Novozymes, Kvadrat, as well as Leading Scientists, Investors, and Nordic Government Representatives will team up with the innovators in Malmö, Sweden, Dec. 1st.

"We want to have a positive impact on people and the planet and that includes playing an active role in the transition to a circular economy. We are looking forward to meeting this year's innovators with disruptive ideas and fresh mindsets who can help us on this journey. I’m looking forward to helping and interacting with this year's six selected innovators.”

Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group

The 2016 Challenge

How do we create closed loop systems and material streams? How do we shift to new business models that support durable products and re-use? And how do we introduce new platforms that enable second life of products and materials?

These questions were at the center of this year’s LAUNCH Nordic Innovation Challenge that received 120 applications from innovators from 36 countries covering six continents around the world.

“Being partners in LAUNCH Nordic has been highly inspirational for us. We are looking forward to helping this year’s innovators, but we learn a lot from them as well. We look forward to share knowledge and hopefully find meaningful and relevant technologies and innovation suitable for co-investment.”

Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat

The Innovators

A panel of subject matter experts has carefully reviewed the applications. The LAUNCH Nordic partners selected the top 6 innovators who are invited to participate in the LAUNCH Nordic Forum in Malmö, Sweden.

    The top 6 LAUNCH Nordic innovations 2016 are (in alphabetic order):

    • BioCellection: a biotech solution that uses bacteria to upcycle plastic. (US)
    • Globechain: a platform to connect businesses, charities and people to reuse unwanted items. (UK)
    • Infinited Fibre Company: a closed loop solution for the textile industry. (FI)
    • Kabadiwalla Connect: a system to help cities manage recyclable waste, by leveraging the informal waste ecosystem. (IN)
    • Shrilk: a biodegradable alternative to plastic that is inspired by the insect cuticle. (SI)
    • Queen of Raw: an online sustainable materials marketplace for suppliers and designers. (US)

    The six LAUNCH Nordic innovators were selected based on their positive environmental or social impact potential. Their respective innovations have the potential to significantly increase sustainability in production, manufacturing, and recycling by introducing new types of materials, or alternative ways of using known materials, closing the loop and driving circular economy. 

    Ranging from start-ups to established companies, the selected innovators will present their ideas and technologies to the LAUNCH Nordic Council that is comprised of leading global companies, ministries and research institutions. 

    “What is special about LAUNCH Nordic is the strong partnership between government, academia and industry. Public Private Partnerships is exactly what we need to help sustainable innovations get to scale. We look forward to help this year’s innovators and shape a more sustainable society.

    Claus Stig Pedersen, Senior Director, Sustainability, Novozymes

    At the LAUNCH Nordic Forum on December 1st, 35 industry executives, materials experts, government officials and investors will gather to offer insight and guidance to help scale the six innovations. The innovations represent new business models, platforms and technologies that all support the creation of an alternative supply chain and all demonstrate potential to disrupt the linear economy. 

    “Region Skåne is a partner in LAUNCH Nordic because it makes it possible for companies and entrepreneurs in the region to tap into a unique global network of organizations and entrepreneurs. Skåne has pointed out three strategic areas for innovation, Smart material, Smart sustainable cities and Personal health. LAUNCH Nordic offers a unique platform to identify and collectively scale innovations that can play a role in all three of these areas.”

    Carin Daal, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Region Skåne

    LAUNCH Nordic seeks to scale innovations that can play a crucial role in market evolution by exploring how businesses and alternative solutions use the circular economy to drive opportunities across complex global supply chains. Together with the innovators LAUNCH Nordic aims to disrupt and capture the value of the circular economy and by scaling innovations and taking action.

    LAUNCH Nordic Innovator Stephanie Benedetto comments on her expectations for the LAUNCH Nordic Forum:

    "We are excited about the LAUNCH Nordic Forum.  It's a unique opportunity to learn from and collaborate with some of the world's leading organisations. Together we can scale our innovation and change the world!”

    Stephanie Benedetto, co-founder Queen of Raw 

    Following the LAUNCH Nordic Forum, innovators will take part in an accelerator program to help them bring their innovations to scale.

     
    The LAUNCH Nordic Council participants include: Håkan Nordkvist, Head of Sustainability Innovation, IKEA Group; Anders Byriel, CEO, Kvadrat; Morten Elkjær, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mikkel Stenbæk, Deputy Head of Division, Danish EPA; Carin Daal, Head of Department, Region Skåne; and Mike van der Zanden, Sustainability Director, Supply Chain Innovation Europe, Nike, together with more than 25 other industry representative, entrepreneurs, scientist and investors. They will provide access to capital, credibility and capacity to help the ten innovators scale globally.

    Special Message from Astronaut Cady Coleman

    On Wednesday November 30, NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman joined LAUNCH Nordic innovators on Twitter. It was especially poignant given that after 33 years, 3 space mission, and 180 days in space, Cady Coleman is retiring from NASA today. Coleman, shared these thoughts with the 2016 LAUNCH Nordic Forum participants via video message.

    For more information on the challenge, please visit the Closing the Loop challenge website or contact LAUNCH Nordic Lead, Sofus Midtgaard: +45 30220111 – or sofus@launch.org

    For more about LAUNCH Nordic partners, please contact:

    Background

    LAUNCH Nordic is a global innovation platform by: IKEA Group, Novozymes, and Kvadrat, as well as the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Region Skåne, Malmö Stad, VINNOVA, and The Capital Region of Denmark. LAUNCH Nordic was created in collaboration with LAUNCH founders NASA, NIKE, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) & The U.S. Department of State.