UK circular economy start-up awarded European prize

UK circular economy start-up awarded European prizeAdaptavate, a UK company developing an ‘eco-friendly’ alternative to traditional plasterboard, was named as the winner of the 2015 Green Alley Award in Berlin yesterday (5 November).

The competition, which was launched last year by Green Alley Investment GmbH and the German crowdfunding platform Seedmatch, recognises entrepreneurs and start-ups from the circular economy. This year’s central theme for the awards was the circular economy as an economic driving force.

Adaptavate is a UK start-up developing. ‘Breathaboard’, a fully-compostable plasterboard alternative comprised of up to 75 per cent agricultural waste. The company says that more than 500,000 tonnes of plasterboard enter construction waste streams every year, either as off-cuts from new buildings or scrap from demolition.

Commenting on the product, Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Green Alley Investment GmbH, said: “Adaptavate really convinced us due to the advantages of its product compared to conventional construction materials. Breathaboard is manufactured mostly from natural waste products, it consumes less resources and it can be disposed easily as it is fully compostable. Moreover, its breathable nature improves the indoor climate of homes.”

Adaptavate’s prize will consist of cash and non-cash benefits, valued by Green Alley at up to €20,000 (£14,300), including six months of free co-working space in the start-up capital Berlin.and the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs in the industry.

The awards and finalists

The six finalists, chosen from 100 applicants from 17 countries, presented their green business ideas in a three-minute pitch to the jury in Berlin yesterday (5 November).

The Green Alley Award, self-described as Europe’s first start-up prize for the circular economy, seeks to encourage reflection on the way waste is handled and aims to increase the conservation of resources.

Before their pitches, the finalists took part in workshopps and were given support by the CEO of packaging recycling company company TerraCycle, Tom Szaky, and winners from the 2014 awards FoodLoop.

The remaining five finalists of this year’s awards were:

  • German company Binee, developers of a ‘smart bin’ to optimise the collection and recycling of electronic waste;
  • Entocycle, a UK start-up hoping to breed black soldier flies to create an animal feed rich in nutrients while reducing the volume of food waste;
  • InFarm, a German and Israeli project to develop vertical greenhouses in supermarkets and offices, providing sustainable fresh produce;
  • German company Solstrøm Furniture, which seeks to extend the lifespan of photovoltaic systems to supply mobile phones and laptops with solar power; and
  • Irish start-up Voltechnik, who are developing an automated process that removes toxic elements, facilitating the work of electronic waste recyclers.

Reflecting on the quality of the finalists, CEO of ward partners Seedmatch, Jens-Uwe Sauer, said: “All finalists have an incredible potential for setting new trends in the circular economy. I’m excited to see what we’ll hear and read about them in the future.” 

Find out more about the Green Alley Award.

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