Would you like to talk about yourself and why you decided to start your own startup?
After graduating, I had a great opportunity to continue with my old thesis supervisor as junior project manager refurbished products. After a while you find out that things are not going so fast and you do not have the freedom to tackle things. I was not in my place and then I started to think back to my study and where my interests were at the time. Just as you had algae, I was interested in waste separation, because it really does not run in Amsterdam. Then it goes from a spark of interest to business case, a business plan and then you think let’s do it: I’m going to cancel that job.
What is wrong with the waste policy in Amsterdam?
In terms of system, many things are wrong. My parents live in Maastricht and you pay for your leftover bag. There you pay a lot of money for your residual bag! Here in Amsterdam you pay the same amount regardless of how much you produce. The household is not encouraged to divorce. Nationally, 60% is separated, in Amsterdam only 30%. It can not be that simple but apparently. While I think that people just want to join in the change but do not know how. I want to have that fully pully focus and put pressure on you because you have to go.
You are now 6 months in full, busy … how did they look?
In the end you are going forward anyway, but slower than you had hoped. You do something because you have a kind of mission in mind and you want that percentage up, to implement the plan you come across facets that you have not thought of. You come to design aspects, tax office, a nice infographic, which you then make in illustrator. Things that you do not learn or have had on internships or uni.
If you give someone a tip about starting a sustainable startup?
If you have an idea, I would simply formulate that idea in a mission, vision and strategy. And then just a little bit of dreaming. Check whether the same mission holds for every research and coffee that you do with someone. If you always get confirmation then you just have to go full. But do not do anything else if you think it deviates from your mission because then you will focus on the market. In the end that does not drive you and maybe you did not quit your job for that.
Do you see more people around you who set up their own sustainable company in your area?
We have a chat with sizes that I see the most, a small circle of about 15 people in Amsterdam. In that group alone, there are two. One of the companies is “Planq”, with a q. They also have a design department, which is called “Rezign” and last week they have set up a new company called “Revv”, yes with double v at the end. Planq makes furniture from recycled reed that is removed from ditches by Waternet. Nothing can be done with that, but they have developed a kind of epoxy that enters a structure through a mold and can eventually be used for desks, chairs and the like.
Why do you think more companies focus on sustainability?
I think that is just what is now happening in Western society, becoming more and more aware, also know what the consequences are of the things they do every day. And some individuals will therefore start their own company to solve mismatch like me.
Even if you look at what Vandebron does. They involve farmers from another industry because they have a large roof. This is due to subsidies and initiatives that simply play here. Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht everywhere where there is a university there is something happening. Separating waste is not determined by intrinsic motivation but has become a standard because uni’s said that and because it is normal.
What is the reason that you have now made the connect with Carbon Suckers?
I think this is a win-win situation. I have a flaw in my entire process and that is what you can offer. The waste bins are made of sustainable FSC certified wood. I am not a wood worker alone. I do not know how I can have Ikea-wise delivered and designed so that it takes up as little space as possible in a container. But now you arrive, knock-knock, it is not that bad, we can do something about it. It gives people confidence and that is a win-win situation.
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