We hear from David Greenfield about Tech Takeback, a partnership he set up to collect end-of-use consumer technology and get it back into the loop.
“Tech-Takeback” is a partnership between SOENECS, Freegle, EraseMydata and Brighton & Hove City Council to collect stranded resources through pop-up shops.
We talk about how it got started, the complexities of secure data removal, lessons learned, and David’s plans for the next phase of the project. David tells us about his favourite circular economy example: Biohm, in London – and I’ve saved some more of David’s examples for the next ‘Best Bits’ episode (#20).
David is the Managing Director of SOENECS, the independent environmental research and innovation practice he set up in 2014, after 15 years in leadership roles in local and regional government.
SOENECS provides strategic advice and support to the public and private sectors and specialises in the creation and support of innovation in circular economy, resource- and waste-management.
David supports the Circular Economy Club (CEC), with several roles, as a Mentor, as the organiser of CEC London and co-organiser, with my colleague Peter Desmond, of Circular Brighton & Hove
Podcast host Catherine Weetman advises businesses, gives workshops & talks, and writes about the circular economy. Her award-winning book, includes lots of practical examples and tips on getting started. Catherine founded Rethink Global in 2013, to help businesses use circular, sustainable approaches to build a better business (and a better world).
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Read on for a summary of the podcast and links to the people, organisations and other resources we mention.
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Links we mention in the episode:
- A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains
- David Greenfield on LinkedIn com/in/dr-david-greenfield-646b6b6 and Twitter @DrResources
- Tech Takeback http://techtakeback.com/
- SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL & ECONOMIC SOLUTIONS (SOENECS) Ltd http://www.soenecs.co.uk/
- Circular Economy Club https://www.circulareconomyclub.com/
- Cat Fletcher of Freegle https://www.ilovefreegle.org/
- Meanwhile Foundation https://www.meanwhile.org.uk/
- Andy Burdon of Erase My Data http://www.erasemydata.uk/
- Martin Charter, Director of The Centre for Sustainable Design & Professor at University for the Creative Arts org.uk linkedin.com/in/martin-charter-frsa-6289097
- Ugo Vallauri, one of the founders of the Restart Project – a people-powered social enterprise that aims to fix our relationship with electronics https://therestartproject.org
- Biohm https://www.biohm.co.uk/
Dr David Greenfield FCIWM FRSA CEnv
David is the Managing Director of SOENECS, the independent environmental research and innovation practice he set up in 2014 following 15 years in leadership roles in local and regional government. SOENECS provides strategic advice and support to the public and private sectors and specialises in the creation and support of innovation in circular economy, waste management and resource management. SOENECS offer energy opportunity assessments to the faith and private sector. David has also spent over 20 years advising local and regional government on major procurement, renewable deployment & partnership delivery. In 2018, he authored a chapter for the UK Chief Scientists report.
In the last two years David has co-created and is managing:
- The Department for Transport (DfT) funded research project “Pothole Spotter” – using existing assets (RCVs’) to prevent potholes using HD cameras and the potential of AI.
- “Tech-Takeback” – a partnership between SOENECS, Freegle, EraseMydata and Brighton & Hove City Council to collect stranded resources through pop-up shops.
- “The Hove Trinity Trust” – a revolving fund for investment in energy efficiency and community access in churches in Hove.
David is responsible for External Affairs in Europe for the “Circular Economy Club (CEC)”, he is also a Mentor and the organiser of CEC London and co-organisers Circular Brighton & Hove. The Circular Economy Club (CEC) is the international network of over 3,100 circular economy professionals and organizations from over 100 countries.
He is an experienced board director and advisor, being non-executive Chair of the CIWM Enterprises Board, Trustee and Director of Freegle, Chair of the ICE Resource Management Panel, Non-Executive Director of Biohm, past non-exec Chair of ADBA, Government Adviser to DEFRA as part of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) working group and MHCLG as National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) advisor on waste and design. He is an advisor and past chair to the local authority National Waste Network Chairs (WNC). He guest lectures at 5 different universities.
He is a Chartered Waste Manager, a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and a Chartered Environmentalist.
What we talk about
[04:00] David tells us how he and Cat Fletcher started Tech Takeback, and some of their experiences so far with pop-up shops to collect end-of-use consumer technology and get it back ‘into the loop’ using circular economy principles.
[09:00] David explains how Tech Takeback complies with the European GDPR regulations, using special software to remove data from hard drives and other storage devices.
The business ‘ecosystem’ around Tech Takeback
[13:10] We talk about the ‘ecosystem’ around the project, including charities and local governments, and David talks about using a ‘Meanwhile’ lease for an empty high-street shop.
Tech Takeback – the next phase
[17:15] The sixth pop-up shop was in London, in September 2019, aiming to provide circular economy solutions for people businesses in the ‘Square Mile’, collecting their consumer technology for re-use. When we recorded, David was planning for this.
[18:26] David tells us about his plans for the next phases of the project, and outlines some of the challenges of running pop-up events. At the moment, he is on the lookout for ‘pre-loved’ mobile libraries!
[22:18] We talk about the possibility of offering repair services, and dig into the detail of why it’s so important to get your data properly erased.
Exciting times for the circular economy
[27:46] David tells us about his favourite circular economy example, Biohm in London. David has lots more great examples, and we’re saving some of these for the next Best Bits episode (#20).
[31:05] Finally, David tells us how we can get in touch with him, and we remind everyone about the (free to join, non-profit) Circular Economy Club – get involved!
To find out more about the circular economy, listen to Episode 1, read our guide: What is the Circular Economy or buy the book: A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains
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Want to find out more about the circular economy?
To go deeper, you could buy Catherine’s book, A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach. It includes lots of real examples from around the world, to help you really ‘get’ the circular economy. Even better, you’ll be inspired with ideas to make your own business more competitive, resilient and sustainable.
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Thanks to Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow, otherwise known as the brilliant, inventive and generous folk duo, O’Hooley & Tidow for allowing me to use the instrumentals from the live version of Summat’s Brewin’ as music for the podcast. You can find the whole track (inspired by the Copper Family song “Oh Good Ale”) on their album, also called Summat’s Brewin’. Or, follow them on Twitter.