Giving companies the opportunity to turn their waste to value.
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Over het initiatief / About the initiative
In welke fase zit jouw initiatief? / In what stage is your initiative?
Heb je jouw initiatief al gevalideerd? / Did you validate your initiative?
We currently have 2 customers. One is the "Verband der deutschen Bahnindustrie", the umbrella organization of all train companies in Germany, including the "Deutsche Bahn". They have made an order of 250 pouches for an industry fair in September. The second client is the Railpower Gmbh, a railway manufacturer from Germany. We are currently in talks with them about what product they want as employee gifts.
Meer informatie over jouw initiatief / More info about your initiative
We are Neota. As many others, we realized that there is a huge problem with textile waste. Millions of tons are thrown away and incinerated each year. The opposite of sustainability. Since huge problems are not as easy to tackle as small ones, we looked for a niche where we could have an impact to approach the problem. Personal Protective Equipment such as high-vis jackets and trousers used by industry companies all over Europe is a good starting point. Due to high safety regulations, equipment with minimal damage is often discarded up to twice a year (!). The textiles themselves are mostly still in good shape and are made from long-lasting, durable materials that can be perfectly upcycled to create value. And that is exactly what we do. Using what was before their own trash that was produced in mass amounts, we create long-lasting, authentic marketing products for the firm. Such products include pouches, tote bags, and laptop cases. These products can be used for employee onboardings, industry fairs, and client projects. Instead of buying new, branded products for these occasions (that will likely be thrown out rather quickly anyways) the firm now has a marketing product that: 1. carries the DNA of the firm within itself. 2. looks fashionable and attracts attention due to high-vis colors and 3. contributes to the circular economy by effectively giving waste a new life.
Wat is er anders/nieuw aan jouw idee/oplossing t.o.v. bestaande oplossingen? / What is different/new about your idea/solution compared to existing solutions??
There are currently several players in the market that offer ‘somewhat similar’ upcycling solutions. Firms like Freytag and Feuerwear use old materials such as fire hoses and old truck tarps to make products like bags and laptop cases. These materials are sourced externally from partnering firms and are then sold to the end consumer in the B2C market.
What differentiates us is how our business model is set up and how we achieve circularity this way. What we try to achieve is to create customized B2B upcycling solutions that allows firms to use their own materials to create value for themselves while also decreasing their disposal of textile waste.
According to our research, there are currently no companies in the European market that operate under the B2B upcycling model that we envision.
Wat zijn jouw volgende stappen om het verder te ontwikkelen? / What are your next steps to develop the initiative?
The next steps are to fulfill the standing client orders with the small funding that we have received from Erasmus University Rotterdam. We then plan to use those reference clients to start the sales scaling process and also attract more investors.
We are also currently in the process of implementing another idea that would increase the emotional and experiential value of the product. The idea involves printing a QR code on a tag inside of the e.g.: laptop case. Lets assume this laptop case is used as an employee onboarding present. Upon scanning the QR code, the employee could be greeted with a welcome video by the management board or general guidelines for the first weeks on the job. The information conveyed here is up to the firm itself and allows them to be creative. The employee is then taken through a life story of the product, showcasing that this laptop case that they are holding in their hands, was once a safety jacket that was once worn by a worker out in the field, effectively contributing to bridging the gap between white-collar and blue-collar workers that is found in a lot of industry firms.
Wat heb je nodig om (nog meer) impact te maken met dit initiatief? / What do you need to make (more) impact with this initiative?
To make more impact, funding is required. Funding would allow us to streamline our operations, expand our product portfolio and implement new innovative ideas like the QR code. Additionally, more connections within the industry would allow us to showcase to professionals that an upcycling solution like ours is overdue and should be developed further before more trash goes to waste.