Greentech has been on the investors’ radar for a few years now, and the companies supporting eco-friendly initiatives have rapidly grown in demand. Truth is, the world we live in today needs to see the change-makers grow and thrive, and the shift is at the frontier of the greentech era. Companies using technology to create sustainable products are taking over the crowdfunding and accelerating platforms.
Renewable energy is currently the most talked-about niche within greentech. The number of companies falling in line with the changing industry, whether it be using recyclable materials or renewable energies, is growing rapidly, and we were impressed with the versatility of ideas brought to life by British entrepreneurs. We have composed a list of our favourite tech companies in the UK dedicated to the green future of our planet.
Businesses that create
Utilising non-recyclable plastic for road construction, Macrebur is a Scottish-based startup founded in 2016. Its innovative process involves adding carefully-picked waste plastics to the asphalt mix, improving the durability of the roads and reducing the use of bitumen at the same time.
A solution to the world’s two great problems, the idea for the business originated from Toby McCartney’s eye-opening experience during a charitable mission in Southern India’s landfill. Macrebur was launched after years of research and jumping through hoops of the patent application process by Toby along with Gordon Reid and Nick Burnett.
Shortly after the launch, Macrebur’s pitch made it to the finals of Virgin Media Business’ VOOM competition. The startup won a sizeable grant for the business growth and in March 2019, Macrebur has since opened its first factory for waste granulation.
Inspired by the relationship between nature and the urban environment, Kabloom created an innovative product known as Seedbom - a mix of organic seeds in the shape of a compostable grenade. Sounds risky? Well, it’s everything but. The Seedbom appears to enable one of the most selfless good deeds for the city, making the so-called guerilla gardening that much easier.
Created by Darren Wilson, designer and founder of Kabloom, Seedbom is made of 100% compostable material and contains various mixes of seeds, including catnip, wildflowers and herbs. What literally looks like a grenade, needs to be soaked in water and thrown anywhere in your garden or anywhere in the city. As a result, a unique plant will grow on the spot with no landscape designer help needed. Each with a different purpose, Seedbom’s aim is to sustain bee and butterfly populations with guerrilla gardening. Though you can use it in your own garden, you are also encouraged to “blow it up” in neglected public areas, where wildlife could benefit from an explosion of nature.
Businesses that repurpose
On a quest to a waste-free world, Worn Again Technologies has found a way to turn existing old textiles and plastic into raw materials.
Having launched in 2005 by Cyndi Rhoades, Worn Again has partnered with brands like Kering and H&M, which now prompt their customers to recycle their old clothing. Together with Dr. Adam Walker as the Chief Scientific Officer, Worn Again Technologies has developed a solution that transforms polyester and cotton textiles back into raw materials for the fashion industry.
The Worn Again founders believe that there are already enough non-reusable materials in the world, and made it their mission to stop overproduction where enough exists to satisfy the industry demand.
Founded in 2013 by Arthur Kay, the idea behind bio-bean came as a result of a cold americano. Having realised the amount of oil contained in coffee grounds, bio-bean launched collection services for coffee grounds across the UK.
Three years later, bio-bean has introduced Coffee Logs, a sustainable alternative to wood, burning 20% hotter and longer than the latter. For a rather new consumer product, it is already available across major retailers in the UK and is marketed as ideal for wood burners and multi-fuel stoves.
Aside from Coffee Logs, bio-bean produces pellets for industrial use and produce natural flavouring products for the food and beverage industry.
Did you realise that a third of all food produced is going to waste? As restaurants and takeaways have very strict guidelines on sell-by dates of their products, the majority of the food they don’t sell is thrown away at the end of every day. Though certain food-to-go chains have their own initiatives like donating the leftover produce, most companies bypass it altogether by throwing away food that was too good to go.
Too Good To Go is an app that aims to fight the waste: participating restaurants collect unsold food into the “magic bags” and mark them available for pick up. Once that’s done, anyone is welcome to choose a location and ‘rescue’ the magic bags free of charge.
Founded in 2016, Too Good to Go has grown into a community of over 2 million Waste Warriors and over 3 thousand participating stores and restaurants that have minimised their food waste and increased their customer base at the same time.
Businesses that use by-products for the better
This is a company offering a sustainable alternative to animal feed. BioKind produces a natural source of protein for aquaculture and livestock, as well as pets, with a minimal carbon footprint. Moreover, all this comes from agricultural waste, ensuring the contents of the product are high in protein and minimal in toxins.
This London-based agritech startup was founded in 2017 by aquaculturist Chien An Chua, who gathered a team of experts with the aim to provide high-quality sustainable protein feed with nearly zero water input.
Bringing the Scottish culture into the 21st century, the people behind Celtic Renewables have figured out a way to turn the waste from whisky production into biofuel. The company uses innovative microbiology tech to the classic fermentation process used by major whisky distilleries.
“Scotland’s whisky has a world-wide reputation for excellence and generates huge benefits for our economy. It’s fitting, then, that the by-products of this industry are now being used in an area where we have so much promise – sustainable biofuels.” - said Fergus Ewing, the founder of Celtic Renewables. He launched the company in 2012 after years of pioneering research at the Edinburgh Napier University.
With an aim to boost the economy by repurposing Scotland’s main source of export, Celtic Renewables is developing environmental and economic sustainability.
If you’d like to know what businesses in the UK you should watch among other industries, read our blog on the top ten thriving tech companies.