Circular Economy Business Breakfast
Friday 27th September 2019 saw The Future Economy Network’s first North Somerset adventure! The business breakfast was held in the wonderful Stable Creative Hub in Weston-Super-Mare. Despite the rainy weather, an engaged and active audience arrived bright and early to discuss Circular Economy and to tuck into delicious pastries!
Katherine Piper, Director of The Future Economy Network welcomed attendees, highlighting the benefits of subscribing to the Network and also sharing exciting updates about The Future Economy Group’s Carbon Neutrality Hub in Bristol, Future Leap.
First up, we welcomed Elly Deacon Smith, Director at Arbor Architects. Elly stressed that we are in a pivotal moment, highlighting the recent climate strikes and how we all need a fundamental shift in the way we consume resources. She went on to describe the earth as a fragile, perfectly balanced ecosystem - where there is no such thing as waste, just mismanaged resources.
Shockingly, Elly showed us that we use 1.7 planets worth of resources every year, and that the construction industry is a huge percentage of this use. Primarily its main problems are in permanently mixed materials and hazardous waste. Arbor Architects use natural, biodegradable materials, finding a way to keep material in their circular loops at the highest grade possible. Arbor Architects use the principles of biological cycles and technical cycles to do this. Giving many successful examples across the world, Elly made it clear that construction using circular economy principles is possible, can cost less and can maintain a building's value better than traditional methods of construction.
Next, we welcomed subscriber Connor Bryant, Co-Founder at Loop Innovations, who gave the room a very engaging talk on plastics and what their role is in the circular economy. Connor explained that plastics are not a new problem, but we have only just woken up to it as a consequence of "The Blue Planet" or "The David Attenborough" effect. Connor asked, do we need to get rid of plastics completely, or are we demonising a very useful material? Connor then went on to outline the positives of plastics. Sometimes the alternatives are unsustainable - for example, mixed material projects that cannot be recycled and reusable bottles that have a much higher carbon impact. Connor also used plastic bag alternatives as an example - paper bags are much heavier and bulkier to transport, increasing transport needed to ship them. They also take up much more energy and water to create. Connor talked about his project, The Rubbish Cup, explaining how they collect all of the single use cups thrown away at festivals and use them to create brand new single use cups for the next festival.
The seminars finished off with some fantastic in-depth questions from the audience, followed by a lively 60 second pitch session from attendees. The event concluded with some valuable networking and finishing up the delicious sustainable selection of pastries, fruit and refreshments.
The Future Economy Network would like to offer sincere thanks to the speakers, and to Stable Creative Hub for their support. Also, a huge thank you to all attendees – we hope you found it an interesting and insightful event.