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Catherine Weetman

Catherine Weetman MSc FCILT FRSA - Director, Rethink Global Catherine gives talks, workshops and advice on the circular economy and sustainability. Her award-winning book, A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains, published by Kogan Page, includes wide-ranging examples and practical tips. Catherine has over 25 years' experience in contract logistics, manufacturing, retail and supply chain consultancy, and her career spans food, fashion and logistics, including Tesco, Kellogg's and DHL Supply Chain. She is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, and a Mentor and Regional Organiser for the Circular Economy Club

Circular Economy Podcast Ep92 Elmar Stroomer Africa Collect Textiles

92 Elmar Stroomer – circular textile solutions in Africa

Elmar Stroomer is the founder of Africa Collect Textiles (ACT). Africa Collect Textiles does exactly that – collecting used textiles across Africa, for reuse, recycling and upcycling.

Elmar Stroomer has a strong background in the circular economy and design, and lived in Kenya and Uganda between 2012 and 2017 to get Africa Collect Textiles up and running. Now, Elmar is working full time on the expansion of ACT in Kenya and Nigeria. ACT aims to develop solutions to end the textile waste issues across Africa. It distributes free and affordable clothing to underprivileged communities, and currently has over 40 collection points in Nairobi and Lagos for used textiles. It provides employment to more than 50 people, who help collect, sort and upcycle fashion waste, used uniforms and off-cuts, creating products such as rugs, backpacks, toys and much more. On top of this, for every kilogram of used textiles it recycles, Africa Collect Textiles (ACT) donates 10 Kenyan shillings to charity. We hear about how fashion waste imported from the global north has undermined the existing textile and clothing sector in Kenya, and why Elmar decided to create a circular economy for locally produced textiles. Elmar tells us about some of the circular initiatives that ACT has set up, including repurposing workshops, services for resellers that overcome some of the major issues with the system for reselling imported end-of-use textiles, and innovative ways of repurposing end-of-life clothing for local businesses.

Circular Economy Podcast 91 Michael Smith - Investing in regenerative startups

91 Michael Smith – Investing in regenerative startups

Catherine is talking to Michael Smith, General Partner of Regeneration.VC, an investment fund set up earlier in 2022 that is investing in solutions addressing the climate emergency.
The Regeneration.VC advisory board includes Bill McDonough, one of the early and leading thinkers on the circular economy, and co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. The board also includes Leonardo di Caprio, Academy Award®-winning actor, producer, and activist, and a longtime champion of global environmental issues.
Michael explains how Regeneration.VC is focusing on potential game changers – for example, those using biomimetic approaches to innovation for materials, or on new recycling technology – and why it’s important to focus on regenerative innovations, as well as circular models.
We hear about Regeneration.VC’s investment strategy, which looks at new ventures through 3 lenses: design (systems and materials inspired by natural processes), use (circular brands and products) and reuse (technologies repurposing materials and products).
Michael shares highlights of a few of the companies in the portfolio and explains why he thinks they are such exciting investments.

Circular Economy Podcast - Ep90 Does circular mean sustainable?

90 – Does circular mean it’s sustainable?

Does circular mean it’s sustainable? Or, are companies just using circular economy solutions to grow their business (and their footprints)?
In this episode, I want to shine a light on something that’s been worrying me.
Over the last few years, I’ve come to realise that the circular economy is not fit for purpose. It’s not helping create the future we need. Instead, it’s being watered down, and cherry picked. I’m seeing increasing numbers of businesses and policymakers choosing strategies that ARE circular – but aren’t improving sustainability. I’m going to be talking about loopholes, rather than loops…
I think we’re at a critical turning point. We need to evolve the circular economy into a framework that supports the future we want – the future we know is possible.
If we don’t, we’re letting all our work, our innovations, our struggles, go to waste. (And you don’t need me to remind you that waste shouldn’t exist in a circular economy!)

Circular Economy Podcast Ep89 Simon Hombersley - Xampla

89 Simon Hombersley – plastics from plant protein

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, shares the story of how this Cambridge University spin-out has created the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use, pioneering the replacement of the most polluting plastics with natural alternatives. Xampla’s ambition is to become the leader in natural polymers, and it’s been developing its natural polymer resin over the past 15 years. The polymer, which Xampla describes as a breakthrough material, performs just like synthetic polymers, but decomposes naturally and fully without harming the environment at the end of life.
Xampla is the first UK University spin-out to be awarded B Corp status and is working with multi-national companies, including Britvic, Gousto and Croda on new technologies.

Circular Economy Podcast Episode 88 Alexandra Rico-Lloyd - the Bike Club

88 Alexandra Rico-Lloyd – the Bike Club

Alexandra Rico-Lloyd is one of the UK’s circular economy entrepreneurs, and is passionate about inspiring the next generation to get active and outdoors.
Alexandra says there are over 12.5 million unused kids bikes, just in the UK. That spurred her on to create Bike Club back in 2016, to provide a better way to cycle; better for the environment, better for parents and their children.
Bike Club has revolutionised the traditional model of ownership, aiming to change family cycling forever. It’s had over $40million of funding and reached 40,000 cyclists so far, and Bike Club says that makes it the largest micro mobility network in the UK – larger than Uber and Santander Cycles (what we used to call Boris Bikes).
Alexandra, who was recently listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, shares the story of how the Bike Club grew from a self-funded ‘minimum viable proposition’, with a few bikes packed into an attic spare room. She explains how it’s delivering deeper levels of value for customers, and how its collaboration with one of the UK’s leading retailers has opened up its next development phase.