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Striving for a Circular Economy Through Sustainable Engineering

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Since the dawn of the industrial age, our society’s prosperity has been propelled by a linear economy. Raw materials are extracted and turned into products, which are then discarded as waste; incinerated and lifted into the atmosphere, or dumped and hidden in the outskirts of human activity. Out of sight, out of mind.

Without the responsibility of what happens to the products after use, manufacturers could apply a sole focus on cost-cutting; a highly profitable business proposition. That was until a few decades ago, when the true costs grew hard to ignore: such as an increasingly unpredictable climate and a natural world literally littered with trash.

To put things into perspective, pieces of plastic waste in our oceans are expected to outweigh all the planet’s fish by 2050.

Luckily, environmental responsibility has gone mainstream. Individual consumers demand sustainability, and new startups set out daily to provide it. But the crucial industries powering the world’s economic engine move slower. And to have a chance of restoring our planet’s health and reversing climate change, we need everyone on board – especially big business.

This is where oceansix comes in; in the design phase, where 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined. We apply our deep expertise in sustainable engineering to design new innovative products for large-scale industries, built of mainly post-consumer plastics. Our goal is to create better and more cost-efficient solutions while minimizing the need for raw materials, maximizing their lifespan and making sure that every piece possible reenters the economy.

Our approach to eliminating the world’s waste is highly practical. We believe the fastest way toward a sustainable industry is by helping companies understand and tap into the enormous financial upside of a circular economy, which for the EU manufacturing sectors alone can reach as high as USD 340 to 380 billion annually in material cost savings.

A two-angled product philosophy: reinvention and disruption

The EU’s target to reach climate neutrality and halt biodiversity loss by 2050 is a radical challenge for governments as well as companies. We have to fundamentally rethink how we produce and manufacture literally everything.

With so little time and such a widespread problem as waste, oceansix follows a two-angled approach to innovation. This means our team of engineers is constantly looking to reinvent existing solutions, making them better and more sustainable, as well as creating completely new and disruptive technology.

Reinventing existing solutions is a fast track to real impact. Improved versions of things that are already in use are not only easier to design, they’re also much more likely to be adopted at scale in the near-term. And in big, global industries, small changes to the process can result in a massively reduced environmental impact. 

Creating disruptive solutions is far more complex. It’s incredibly time-consuming. On top of that, the outcome is highly uncertain. However, these are the solutions that can completely change the way businesses operate, which is ultimately what we need to become a climate-neutral society.

Our first solutions to enter the market

2023 is a big year for oceansix. In the coming months, we will be ready to release more news about our first two solutions. Together they make for a suitable representation of our product philosophy; a refined and improved hydroponics system made from post-consumer plastic waste and a completely new and disruptive reusable packaging solution.

Although aimed at completely different industries, they are both positioned to meet a rapidly growing demand and bring businesses into the circular economy.

Hydroponic ground system

Hydroponics requires far less land and water compared to traditional farming. This makes it one of the most promising solutions we have to achieve sustainable food production. However, the systems available today are not cost-efficient enough to trigger widespread adoption.

Our hydroponic ground system is designed to help change this. As the first of several versions developed for different applications, this new design makes the instalment and management of ground systems in greenhouses much easier and faster, lowering the total cost for farmers. On top of that, it requires far less material than existing solutions and is made completely with quality post-consumer plastic waste.

We’re equally as proud and excited about the impact it will have, both for our environment and each farmer’s opportunity to build a fruitful business in hydroponics.

More information will be available soon.

Reusable packaging 

Reusable packaging has the potential, if designed correctly, to emit 80% less CO2 and waste 87% less plastic by weight compared to the standard single-use alternatives. This is an absolute game changer for our society, in which 159 billion parcels were shipped in 2021.

Although still in the development phase, we’re closing in on a finished solution that will realize the promises above. It will boast several superior properties in comparison to current packing solutions, such as better waterproofing, more impact resistance and great scalability to suit packages of different sizes.

And best of all, it will be fully circular. The packaging has a foldable and stackable design, made to last for at least 50 use cycles. Also, it’s built with 100% quality post-consumer plastic waste, which means it can easily be collected and reintroduced into the system after use.

Reusable packaging is a big step toward a circular economy, and we’re excited to be spearheading the development. Stay tuned for more news and updates about launch dates and availability on our website.

Looking ahead: bringing circular solutions to new industries

For now, our focus lies on the launch of the hydroponic ground system, as well as putting the finishing touches to the reusable packaging system. After that, our partner companies will continue the sales and expansion, while the oceansix team goes back to the design phase; to create new solutions for industries in need of reducing their environmental footprint.

This is effectively our blueprint for innovation. We pinpoint problem areas in supply chains for which we can design new and better solutions that result in greatly reduced waste, all while staying competitive in terms of efficiency and cost. And depending on the industry – whether it’s in agriculture, transport, energy, retail, or other – we’ll collaborate with suitable manufacturing partners or launch it ourselves through our sister companies.

It’s in these types of partnerships we can achieve maximum positive impact. Ultimately, more great ideas will become solutions actually implemented into supply chains. After all, a circular economy can’t be achieved in isolation. Everyone needs to do their part – and this is how we do ours.

sources:

1. Biodiveristy.org 

2. Statistics from the European Parliament

3. Ellen McArthur Foundation Towards a Circular Economy Vol:1

4. europa.eu

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