The Technology Strategy Board has a simple aim, to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. They offer advice and funding to help businesses develop new products and services and therefore bring them closer to market. One of their main priorities focuses on Resource Efficiency. A large part of the challenges faced focuses around a move towards a more circular economy as we try to deal with the issue of material and resource scarcity.
On the 21st October I was lucky enough to attend a briefing session for one of their latest competition calls. The competition is for collaborative research and development funding which aims to preserve the value of materials or products at their end of life and keeps the items in productive use for longer. As populations continue to grow and our consumption rises in line with this there is a key need to conserve our resources as supplies become scarcer.
At Low and Behold we have long advocated the need to reduce waste and encourage reuse of materials wherever possible. The briefing event highlighted the many different ways businesses have contributed to this. As part of the event, past projects that have received funding were discussed. These ranged from the shockingly simple idea of creating a system whereby all of those half empty tins of paint sitting unused at home can be collected and remixed to then be resold. To ideas that change our way of purchasing as businesses, with offices hiring equipment rather than buying, allowing less materials to be consumed while serving more. In these ways we can focus on getting the most out of the items already in circulation.
One of the great aspects of these TSB calls for funding is their focus on the entire supply chain, it can often be forgotten that the design stage of a product can be critical when it comes to the options available at the end-of-life. As part of our reuse work we are constantly finding homes for items that would be impossible to recycle. With increased commitment at the design stage to sustainability and the circular economy the amount that needs to be wasted could be reduced significantly.