Episode 61 Astrid Wynne – IT Sustainability expert

Episode 61 Astrid Wynne – IT Sustainability expert

Catherine Weetman talks to to IT sustainability expert, Astrid Wynne.

Astrid is the Sustainability Lead at Techbuyer, a global sustainable IT solutions provider, which specialises in product life extension. She is also head of partnerships at Interact, a software tool that optimises energy and carbon usage of servers.

Astrid has co-authored a number of academic papers including ‘Optimizing server refresh cycles: The case for circular economy with an aging Moore’s Law’, which looked at how past generations of IT can provide a net positive on use-phase energy, economic benefit and retaining precious materials.

She is a board member at the Free ICT Europe Foundation, chair of the Sustainability Special Interest Group at the Data Centre Alliance and represents Techbuyer on the Interreg-funded research project CEDaCI, and we hear about some of the work at these collaborative and open-data projects.

This episode follows up on a previous conversation with Techbuyer, and digs into some of the perceptions around refurbished and remanufactured tech hardware, including reliability and performance. We hear how a remanufacturered server is able to outperform a latest generation machine, and why they are at least as reliable as new machines, too.

We hear how Techbuyer’s investment in research to understand the benefits of refurbishment and remanufacturing helped it to fledge a sister company, Interact.

We discuss why keeping critical materials ‘in the loop’ is essential if we want to have those same materials available for renewable energy, electric cars and so on.

And we hear about the kind of people who want to work for companies like Techbuyer, with interesting jobs that include problem-solving and creativity.

Podcast host Catherine Weetman is a circular economy business advisor, workshop facilitator, speaker and writer.  Her award-winning book: A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business 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: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business – buy from any good bookseller, or direct from the publisher Kogan Page, which ships worldwide (free shipping to UK and US) and you can use discount code CIRCL20 to get 20% off. It’s available in paperback, ebook and Kindle. If you buy it from online sources, make sure you choose the new edition with an orange cover!
  • Sign up to get the podcast player and shownotes for each new episode emailed to your inbox
  • Astrid Wynne-Rogers https://www.linkedin.com/in/astrid-wynne-rogers-29807114/
  • Techbuyer techbuyer.com
  • The INTERACT tool to conduct component and rack level analysis to recommend vendor neutral new and remanufactured solutions for your hardware. Its detailed reporting provides optimum solutions for cost, energy reduction and carbon savings. interactdc.com
  • Data Centre Alliance http://dca-global.org/
  • The Circular Economy for the Data Centre Industry (CEDaCI) aims to enable trans-sectoral and transnational learning and develop circular economy solutions for the Data Centre Industry in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK https://www.cedaci.org/
  • Open Compute Project https://www.opencompute.org/
  • Social media
  • Research report on refurbished ICT by University of East London https://www.computer.org/csdl/journal/su/5555/01/09246737/1oqGe9mvgcg

About Astrid Wynne

Astrid Wynne is the Sustainability Lead at Techbuyer, a global sustainable IT solutions provider, which specialises in product life extension. She is also head of partnerships at Interact, a software tool that optimises energy and carbon usage of servers.

Astrid has co-authored a number of academic papers including ‘Optimizing server refresh cycles: The case for circular economy with an aging Moore’s Law’, which looked at how past generations can provide a net positive on use phase energy, economic benefit and retaining precious materials.

She is a board member at the Free ICT Europe Foundation, chair of the Sustainability Special Interest Group at the Data Centre Alliance and represents Techbuyer’s partnership status on the five-year Interreg-funded research project CEDaCI.

Interview Transcript

Provided by AI – add ~2:50 mins for the finished episode

Catherine Weetman  00:05

Astrid, welcome to the circular economy podcast.

Astrid Wynne  00:09

Thank you for having me.

Catherine Weetman  00:10

So it’s great to be talking. Again, we’ve spoken a couple of times in the past. And I know that you wear a number of different hats, perhaps you could run through them all for us.

Astrid Wynne  00:20

Okay, so my day job is that I’m the sustainability lead at Techbuyer, which is a sustainable IT solutions provider. And I am also head of partnerships at interact, which is a sister company that looks at energy efficiency for data centres, and has a machine learning software tool to analyse that. I’m also the chair of the sustainability special interest group for the Data Centre Alliance. And I’m a former board member of Free ICT Europe, who works for the interests of freedom in it choice of IoT hardware in the secondary market, with the commission. And I also represent tech buyer on a project called CEDaci, which is circular economy in the data centre industry. And that is now a four and a half year project that will cover seven countries as of April next year, all in northwest Europe. So that’s the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Denmark.

Catherine Weetman  01:31

 that’s quite a bio. Isn’t that. Is there anything else to add on to that list?

Astrid Wynne  01:35

Yeah. I’m also on the consensus body for the revision of the American National Standards Institute standard on the remanufacturing and with the Remanufacturing Industry Council in the US.

Catherine Weetman  01:51

Wow, that’s, that’s an amazing portfolio career, I can’t begin to imagine how you keep on top of all of that. But I’m curious to know more about your background and how you got into this.

Astrid Wynne  02:04

Well, I spent a large number of years in Asia, in Singapore, in Malaysia, where I was a journalist, and I was also copywriter for companies and worked on sustainability projects for loads of companies, and swarowski’s outreach to a local community in on an Indonesian island, for example. And then I came back to the UK because my husband and I wanted our children to be more connected with their family, and found a tech buyer and approach them as a communications manager, looking at their messaging, unique selling points, and found out about the circular economy. I think it’s a second day, I was working with them and realised that actually, they were the perfect circular economy model. So from there with the team, we started building on that and saying, what can we do with what we already have as a core business to make ourselves more circular? And more importantly, who can we find to help us drive that conversation forward? from a business standpoint, it makes sense for a company that specialises in product life extension, to make circular economy more mainstream. But from an ethical standpoint, as well, a company like ours does attract people who believe it’s the right thing to do. So generally, people are very supportive of saying, Okay, what can we do with packaging? What can we do to help a research project that’s looking at this in our sector? What information can we provide to other people? And what actions can we take as citizens as well? So it’s all kind of dovetailed nicely and grown as a result. And I guess I’ve become the company representative for circular economy. And also facilitator for things that people inside the company wants to do.

Catherine Weetman  04:23

Yeah, and I’m quite curious to know whether the company attracts employees who already have those kind of values, or whether people sort of start out, you know, doing a job that they’re qualified to do or whatever, and then realise that they’re part of something bigger and more world changing, and it kind of wakes up their internal values, or is it a bit of both?

Astrid Wynne  04:55

I’d say possibly a bit of both and given the sector that work in, it attracts a very curious mindset. And people all over the company see challenges every day that they haven’t had to deal with before. Because we have new products coming online, you have to be quite proactive about finding out how to process those products to the best of your ability. And so it’s quite an inventive ethos, at Techbuyer, it is quite, er

Catherine Weetman  05:30

quite creative.

Astrid Wynne  05:32

Yeah, yeah, get in there and make solutions happen. And a lot of people who work there relish that challenge. And circular economy kind of dovetails into that. Like, it gives you the confidence to say, Okay, well, this is a business solution in this way. What can we do about this? What can we do about that? specific think that that’s kind of part of it. And as the company’s grow, and its reputation for circular economy has grown, that we are getting people who are applying for jobs, saying part of the reason I was interested in the company, is because of the sustainability credentials, and what I can help do on the back of that. So yeah, I think it’s a bit of both. I’d also say that, when I’ve ever I’ve had conversations with people on the front line of this, like people who are handling repairs, or people who are working in good stead or goods out that very knowledgeable, proactive about what can we do better? You know, like, we had a meeting, like two or three years ago now, or we were starting to expand into other areas of the business and see what we can do. And the guys in that meeting that we’re seeing packaging come through day after day after day. we’re much more engaged in it and knowledgeable about it. Then anybody else in the company? I think that’s because they see it coming in. And it kind of you know, breaks your heart when you know that there’s like peanuts that can’t be recycled, that you’re seeing boxes off come through the warehouse.

Catherine Weetman  07:25

presume you mean expanded polystyrene peanuts, not. Yeah, not real peanuts!. That could be

Astrid Wynne  07:33

Yes, yes. Or bubble wrap. Everybody knows about bubble wrap, or, you know, high density foam.

Catherine Weetman  07:39


Astrid Wynne  07:41

Everybody was aware of microbeads. Yeah, yeah.

Catherine Weetman  07:44

But there’s all this other stuff. So perhaps for those people who didn’t hear the episode, a few episodes back, where I spoke to Mick Payne from Techbuyer back in Episode 53, could you just give us a quick reminder of what Techbuyer does in terms of the types of products and so on.

Astrid Wynne  08:04

So the core business, the background business was servers storage and networking. And the company began selling new equipment back in 2005, and refurbished equipment, but there was a financial crisis that you may have heard of in late, and they saw an explosion in demand for refurbished equipment. So they specialised in that. And over recent years, they’ve expanded their product line out, they now handle PCs and laptops. And they have a division that collects IT equipment from organisations offers a secure chain of custody, certified data sanitization to sort of facilitate things coming back into the value chain, as well. And, and the company does still stock a small amount of new equipment. I think the majority of that is things like people have overbought equipment and they sell it back onto the secondary markets. It’s used for rebuilding machines and upgrading machines. So it kind of goes into be manufacturing fully configured servers for people. And we also have machine learning tool, which is a sister company. Now, that came out of a two year research project with the University of East London. And that looks at measuring energy draw of servers, sort of rack level solutions down to individual servers, and offering the best solution in terms of energy usage over time, and cost usage over time. And it will give a carbon readout as well that’s tied to the energy Usage

Catherine Weetman  10:01

that sounds really useful is is that something that people can access easily online? Or is it part of the buying process? How does how does it work?

Astrid Wynne  10:13

Well both Iinteract has its own website, which is interactdc.com. And that will give you an overview of the tool and what it is and how it works and the research behind it. And if you wanted to request a demo, you just fill in the form, one of the team will get back to you and show you exactly how it works. It’s also used by our sales department to ‘check homework’. So you know, say somebody comes and says, We want this. Yeah, we want a server that will give us this, we can benchmark one service solution against another and double check that what we’ve got is the most energy efficiency option. And if the energy efficient option over time as well, which some customers find very, very useful.

Catherine Weetman  11:00

Yeah, that sounds that sounds excellent. And I think it’s obviously in line with circular economy thinking, isn’t it to look at the whole lifecycle of use that you’re going to get out of a product and think about all the costs, including depreciation, and also maintenance and other kind of servicing costs like energy. So I guess more and more companies are starting to think about those whole life costs in a more systematic way. And just just to come back to, you know, the buying decisions and customer perceptions, you mentioned that there was a big explosion in demand for refurbished equipment after the 2008 crash. And I think the same is happened with the pandemic, pandemic. And maybe we’ll come back to that. But just thinking about customer perceptions, on the pros and and what people perceive as the disadvantages of refurbished and remanufactured technology products, maybe maybe you could run through some of those, you know, what, what do people see as advantages? And what do they What are they worried about? And how can you overcome those worries?

Astrid Wynne  12:10

Okay, so there are two answers on this that are worth exploring. The first is perception. So we had a piece of research carried out for us by the University of Leeds 2019, just before we started our research project, that looked at the reasons why people buy secondary equipment, and why people don’t. And it turned out to be the same thing, cost and performance. So people who do buy refurbished equipment, buy it because it’s cheaper, and it performs identically to new, and people who were not buying at the time, we’re saying, well, because we’re worried that because it’s cheaper, it’s going to break, which you can either to a certain extent by offering a three year warranty, which is something that tech buyer has done for a long time, which is equivalent to the warranty if, if new equipment. You can publicise returns rates, which for us are very, very low. We believe although it’s difficult to get published, because we believe that they are slightly less than manufacturer of return rates, we think that’s because every item that comes into our facility is tested, is tested on the way in, and then it’s tested on the way out, again, every single line item, whereas if you’re looking at manufacturing model, it’s more batch tested, perhaps, and that might explain it. But we know that our return rates are very low. But I guess that’s kind of part of the rationale is setting up the knowledge transfer partnership that we conducted with the University of East London. And that looked at performance and energy draw of refurbished equipment versus new equipments. So it began by just doing a like for like comparison. So if you refurbish a Gen 10 server, and you get a new Gen 10 server out of the box, what’s the difference in performance, and we found out that there was no discernible difference. And we published that in the IEEE Transactions on sustainable computing. So it’s peer reviewed research now. Not only that, we also started messing around we started pulling parts out and replacing them with refurbish parts, so putting together hybrid machines to see if anything was going to happen at component level. And again, no discernible difference. So that’s barely power A full piece of research that proves the performance of refurbed versus new. But it wasn’t on the market when we first started talking about it. So I think that that kind of handles some of the perception questions. And another argument that you used to see in the data centre a lot was that they’d say, yeah, we understand that there’s a massive amount of embodied carbon in the servers, there’s a huge amount of waste. There’s a problem with the processing of that waste. And we know that there’s some precious metals in there, and some critical raw materials. But anyway, they’d say, Well, yeah, we can save all that. But if we’re losing on the energy bill, by keeping by sweating the asset longer than we should do, then what’s it all for, because carbon at use fades is higher than embodied carbon. So therefore, the sustainable message should be refresh often and refresh to the latest generation. Because of the efficiency gains that are described by Moore’s law, which is, in simple terms, we’ll get a doubling of performance every two years. So that’s something that we looked at with the University of East London as well.

Astrid Wynne  16:19

And a simple way of testing it was to a look at CPU trends. So CPU trends at maximum capacity have been tailing off in performance gains over recent years. And at low power mode, the machines, the CPUs are getting less efficient. Now, you might think that doesn’t matter too much. But in a lot of real life situations, servers are operating around 20 or 25% of capacity. So if you’ve got a decrease in efficiency gains, at low power mode, you’re potentially losing over time, unless you, like max out the performance of the servers. So we kind of looked at that. And then we started testing, what would happen to a server, if we instead of refreshing it to the latest generation with the latest CPU, if we upgraded the previous generation, we found that we could get a previous generation, like the immediate past generation, to outperform the latest generation, by putting the high spec CPU in for that generation, by increasing the storage and increasing the RAM. Which basically means that a souped up immediate past generation is better on performance than the base configuration of the latest generation. And it will cost you a lot less.

Catherine Weetman  17:54

Wow. So there’s some significant thinking and design approach and analysis, gone into kind of reconfiguring servers to make them really fit for purpose for the user. And yeah, incredible value and, and, you know, reduce it reducing the footprint of what you’re buying, and its usage footprint over over the lifetime.

Astrid Wynne  18:23

Yes, so, but also on cost, which is good as well, because it helps you sell the idea. So what the research gave us was a reliable snapshot of what was working and what wasn’t, we had that homework checked by the IEEE. And then we built a tool on the back of that, which will, as I said, project over time, energy usage, and cost that particular hardware solutions, and give you a readout on that. So that you can like as a stainability person can make the case to the board for why you should go for refurbished options or remanufactured machines, or upgrading bits of what you’ve got, or being more smart about that. And the board’s going to be really interested because actually, you’re saving hundreds of 1000s of pounds. Yeah.

Catherine Weetman  19:23

And I guess also the sustainability person can have an intelligent conversation with whoever’s responsible for it and overcome any concerns that they have about uptime performance, specification or that kind of thing as well. So it enables the right the right kind of facts to be to be discussed, instead of it coming from, you know, emotive gut feel for the sustainability person that buying preused has got to be better but but you know, how do I how do I convince my colleague?

Astrid Wynne  19:58

Yes, and The IT managers point of view, the emotional fear of war, my jobs on the line, if I use refurbished equipment, if you’ve got research that proves the Valley of that, then that positions less dispensable.

Catherine Weetman  20:15

Yeah, yeah, definitely that that sounds incredibly useful for people. And thinking about the bigger picture of challenges for technology and information processing products, and so on. I’m guessing there are a massive number of different materials involved. Some of those are going to be what the EU called critical raw materials. So could you unpack that a bit for us? And and, you know, talk about what’s going on at sector level?

Astrid Wynne  20:50

Okay. So in terms of five of have the issue, where Gartner says that we’ve got 121 million new servers, coming online between 2019 and 2023. That’s a conservative estimate. They’re about a metric tonne of C – embodied co2 in the manufacturer, and transport and mining to produce those servers. They’ve got between 10 and 12 of the critical raw materials, which have been identified by the EU as in low or politically unstable supply, and are predicted to run out within decades when they’ve modelled usage. And many of these critical raw materials are also used in the infrastructure to produce renewable energy. So when people are talking about build better, they’re looking for renewable energy as a pathway towards that. And they’re also looking at digital transformation as another pathway towards that to reduce physical transport. So you’re kind of getting pressure on those materials coming from two directions. Which makes me wonder whether those predictions of rolling out in several decades now needs to be revised. And maybe you know more about that, certainly, than I do. So that’s kind of what we’re looking at. The data centre sector as a whole is predicted to grow by 500%, globally by 2030. Wow. And so that’s things like driverless cars. It’s like smart manufacturing. It’s things like, increasing reach of education. It’s things like optimising our farming. It’s everything. And digital is talked about in every single one of the 17 un sustainable, sustainable development goals as a solution. Oh,

Catherine Weetman  23:03

yeah, you’re right. I mean, there are just so many things that we’re able to do better by using digital processing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, sensor, technology, all those kinds of things, but it’s all data transmission, isn’t it? And just things like Bitcoin, which is just one element of blockchain technology, you know, apparently uses I can’t remember which it’s, it’s, it’s more date more energy than a couple of decent size countries. And when you start looking at all the other problems that blockchains being proposed as a solution for then, you know, we can kind of see just just, you know, that those even 500% growth, I think you’re right, that there could be lots of things yet yet to be invented, or yet to be scaled that could make that picture even worse. So it’s incredibly important, isn’t it? But But there are some challenges, aren’t there not not everybody in the industry is on board with the need to make it really easy to refurbish and re manufacture things. And I know you’re involved in some initiatives to try and overcome that resistance.

Astrid Wynne  24:17

Yeah. What’s interesting is that if you look at the really big players, they’ve been using circular economy in their data centres for years. So Google published a report way back in 2015, saying that things refurbishing it servers, I think 19% of servers that came online will remanufactured machines, and a large chunk of the inventory of spares and upgrades were refurbished equipment, and that they made no distinction between refurbished a new parts for spares and upgrades. So when we read that study, we thought a list is gold. We thought, Well, if Google’s doing it, and now Microsoft is public about doing similar things, and some of the other large, large organisations have been very public about it. Why is it not happening in the enterprise sector? What’s stopping it? And I guess part of the answer is that if you’re Google, you have control of the entire lifecycle of your service. You know, you manufacture your own servers, you get to refurbish in house, and do that. Okay, yeah, they run on sort of vanity free servers. So I don’t know what Google probably runs on something similar could call two machines called Open Compute, which open source hardware, I don’t think Google runs on exactly that. But they have their own designs, they can design their own stuff, they can design 3d manufacture, they can design for this assembly, I guess it’s more difficult in the enterprise sector, because you’ve got a number of different manufacturers that have their own fittings that have their own product lines, and it’s much more difficult to integrate those. And it’s, it requires a sea change in decision making, to get industry to come together and make something that’s more compatible. We are involved with an organisation called CEDaci, which I mentioned in the intro. And they are an academic and Business Network partnership of players from all over the value chain, who are trying to help emphasise the value of circular approaches, and put some numbers against that and help people make decisions based on measurements in their data centres. One of the things that they’re doing really, really nicely, they’re bringing together actors from all over the value chain. So designers, recycling experts, refurbishers, like ourselves and users, and having lots of different perspectives on the same issue. which increases awareness and increases thinking, because when you’ve got a complex situation, you need lots of different perspectives to try and make that work. And so that’s, that’s a project that we’ve, we’ve now be made full partners off. That is a very worthwhile project, I think, in the greater scheme of things, but also for us, because it allows us to have direct influence and give direct information to a project. That’s fairly objective, I guess, in scope. It’s not like, yeah, so it’s not like selling anything.

Catherine Weetman  28:03

Yeah, I think, you know, looking at what those big players are doing could be really transformational, and not not just for the IT sector. But for other sectors thinking about how do we jump from this linear business as usual, there’s all based around sell more than planned obsolescence, and so on. And, you know, lowering the cost on things, which means taking an approach to design a manufacturing that might make it harder to re manufacture or, or even recycle something,

Astrid Wynne  28:37

looking at it in terms of ecosystems is also useful when you look at other parts of the business. So it’s kind of like these reuse patterns and pathways out there. Which at the moment, I guess, are quite limited in what we have in society, because people have thinking about this properly yet. And you’ll get these sort of minor solutions that are happening. And I would like to see that develop more. And people share libraries have we’ve got this material, we can’t do anything with it, or we can sort of thing and have these networks, where you can have a Yeah. A kind of map of where you can put things if you’re unable to process them yourselves.

Catherine Weetman  29:30

Yeah, exactly. Those kinds of material exchanges, which Excess Material Exchange, and Rheaply and, to some extent, Floow2, that we’ve interviewed on the podcast, and globe spans another one. They’re all kind of starting to do that. And I think even even Google coming back to them. I’ve seen the potential for that. They coined this phrase that waste is just a data problem. And obviously they’re, they’re ideally placed to it. use data to to help solve that problem. So, Astrid, coming back to Techbuyer, I know you’re doing a few things to help push the circular economy forward, maybe you could quickly just pick out one or two of those for us.

Astrid Wynne  30:15

Okay, so we’ve already discussed this CEDaci project to involve with, we’ve discussed the research that we did on energy efficiency, which kind of makes the case for bringing it into the mainstream there. We are members of various organisations in different countries that try to push the circular economy message forward. So part of the work that we’ve been doing with the Data Centre Alliance is to look at other circular solutions that are available on the market for data centres, not just for it hardware. So there’s a growing trend towards reusing the water that’s used to cool it equipments, in domestic heating supplies, and having circular solutions there. So the work that we’re doing with the Data Centre Alliance is looking at those solutions, publicising those solutions. And as a group chat, trying to generate a best practice document for data centres, who aren’t Google, you don’t have those resources. You know, leavers that you can pull right now, to make your organisation more sustainable ways that you can help. Things that won’t cost you anything that might save you money might make you money, and are a good use of resources. And so that’s, you know, one of the things we do, we’re involved with the local climate change coalition, to see if we can help out with some information about the carbon cost of data usage, not just in the devices, and how much carbon we can collectively save by refreshing our laptops every five years instead of every three and our phones every three years instead of every two. But also the way that we use data, like riches are global it directed as a lot of work. publicising the fact that, you know, if you transfer data on 3g versus 4g, you’ll save about three times as much energy. Wow, if you use your Wi Fi network, as opposed to a mobile network, you probably save another three times the amount of energy, so it’s much more efficient to have to stream stream at home and avoid streaming at all, if you can possibly manage it and download things and watch them again. It is a lot of work. publicising the effects that that has.

Catherine Weetman  33:09

Yeah, that’s, that’s very interesting. And, you know, thinking about my own use of data, as you were talking about that, I haven’t subscribed to any streaming services, mostly because I kind of see it as a hook you in and then, you know, exploit you with, in all sorts of ways and, you know, knowing your data and all that kind of stuff. But just that thing about if there’s going to be a song that you’re going to play more than once. It’s, it’s better for the for the world from a data usage and energy usage point of view, if you buy that and download it once. And it’s probably much better for the artists as well, but they might actually earn a bit of money out of the out of the song instead of all the money going to the likes of Spotify and so on.

Astrid Wynne  34:02

Yeah, quite possibly. Yeah.

Catherine Weetman  34:04

Yeah. And Astrid, I always like to ask people for either their favourite circular economy example, or to recommend the guest for a future episode of the podcast. So which of those would would you like to share with as an example or, or recommend a guest?

Astrid Wynne  34:24

Both. And I think your recommended guest would be Deborah Andrews, who is the project lead, for CEDaCI, who has got a design background, I think she’d be very interesting to talk about wider picture of circular economy. And what that means from a social standpoint, as well as an environmental standpoints across Europe, and my favourite circular economy example, at the moment is chickens and eggs. That’s my favourite Circular Economy example. Yeah, if the chickens they create food from food, and they’re byproduct to the fertiliser. And I like that example because it shows what the natural world can do and what we’re trying to emulate. But also that sometimes there are creative approaches involved. So chickens don’t eat eggs, the kitchen scraps, they transform those into x. And they don’t generate fertiliser, you have to leave it for three months and that you wrote down. So I like them because it gets you thinking about, you know, how complex a circular example is, and the offshoots that it takes you on when he’s trying to find answers.

Catherine Weetman  35:54

Yeah, good example. Though, unfortunately, in our, in our household, our chickens ignore kitchen scraps that we’ve tried to feed them apart from apples, cause they quite like those. But one or two of them are adept at getting past all the fencing and other barriers that are put over my veggie plot. So like it fresh from the ground, not when it’s, you know, been sitting in the fridge. Brilliant. And Astrid, how can people find out more about all the brilliant projects that you’re involved in and get in touch with you?

Astrid Wynne  36:29

So, the Techbuyer website is www.techbuyer.com. Interacts website is www dot interact dc.com Data Centre Alliance, if you Google that you can see some of the things that the sustainability special interest groups up to and I’m on LinkedIn as Astrid Wynne Rogers.

Catherine Weetman  36:52

And that’s when W y double n a?

Astrid Wynne  36:55


Catherine Weetman  36:57

Excellent. So Astrid, thank you very much for talking through some really interesting aspects of information technology and servers and storage and all that kind of stuff, with lots of relevance to other sectors as well. And giving us some insights into into things we’d probably not thought about, but will have opened up circular mindsets for for lots of people, I’m sure. And good luck with I can’t I still can’t believe the range of projects that you’re involved in. So yeah, I shouldn’t shouldn’t think you get that much time to sit and admire and keep an eye on what your chickens are doing. But yeah, good luck with all those projects, and look forward to seeing what you’re up to what you’re up to next, changing the world to be more circular and energy conscious and, and switched on. Thank you very much, Astrid.

Astrid Wynne  37:54

Okay. Thank you very much.

Want to find out more about the circular economy?

If you’d like to learn more about the circular economy and how it could help your business, why not listen to Episode 1, or read our guide: What is the Circular Economy

To go deeper, you could buy Catherine’s book, A Circular Economy Handbook: How to Build a More Resilient, Competitive and Sustainable Business. This comprehensive guide uses a bottom-up, practical approach, and includes hundreds 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. 

Please let us know what you think of the podcast – and we’d love it if you could leave us a review on iTunes, or wherever you find your podcasts.  Or send us an email

Podcast music

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.

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