Circular Economy, Random Neuron Firing

Christo & nappy waste


IMG_2209I was thinking more about Christo’s latest work in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake featuring 7,506 pink barrels of oil. That glorious pink structure represents the amount of oil needed to make 5,000,000 nappies.

That may seem like a lot but it isn’t.

Every day in the UK, 8,000,000 nappies are landfilled.



Said differently, every day a tad more than Christo’s pink oil barrel barge is extracted from the earth as oil, made into nappies that are used for 3 – 4 hours at a time by just 5% of the population and then buried back into the ground for 500+ years.



In the US where 50,000,000 nappies are landfilled every day we need 10 of Christo’s pink oil barrel barges a day to grasp the impact.

In so many ways human beings are awesome but we so suck when it comes to product design and we are just starting to feel the affects of our suckiness (technical term) now.

We can do better.

We will do better.

We have to do better as there’s no other place to call home despite Elon Musk and the Interstellar movie.

Circular Economy, Random Neuron Firing

gCycle progress


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After a very balmy London weekend, today I headed to Exeter for some hardcore composting discussions while Kim headed in the opposite direction to Brighton to meet our first trial nurseries.

Our gCycle project is demanding a whole new take on how we manage nappy waste. We have a plastic-free nappy and are now looking at different ways we can treat that waste to create a valuable resource and avoid landfill.

Ridan is the very best of British engineering. They have developed a low-cost, highly effective piece of kit that nurseries, community centres and even the National Trust’s cafes use to turn food waste into a really good quality compost.I met Dan from Ridan at  St Sidwells Community Centre, one of their existing customers to check out the set up. They are a great candidate for gCycle and trials will get underway shortly.

The move from a linear (take – make – waste) world to a circular one (regenerative cycles)  takes time but progress is being made!

PS: 7,000 oil barrels standing 20 metres high and weighing 600 tons emerged in Hyde Park this morning. The latest from Christo.




Circular Economy, Conferences

Summary of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2018 Circular Economy Summit


The overarching theme this year was how can technology accelerate the shift from a “line to a circle” (Linear to Circular). We heard from:

New Harvest – making meat but not as we know it.

Provenance – Using Blockchain to create supply chain transparency. Material becomes currency because you know the value and can see the value.
The Real Real  –  A NY – based online luxury goods consignment store with market with $700M in revenue after just 7 years. They are seeing a switch buying habits to people buying things that have a better resale price. They are the antidote to fast fashion as quality luxury goods have a second, third and fourth life. They will be the first billion dollar Circular Economy company.

Estonia – The country boasts an “invisible” Government. Embracing technology including Blockchain, citizens can vote from their mobile phones and can complete tax returns in under a minute. Since 2012 all citizen’s details are on a closed Blockchain and kept decentralised across 2000 locations. No one location knows all the information.
And Citizens can see who has been looking at their data. Meanwhile in Australia, I need a utility bill to prove my identity. (#CuttingEdge)

Estonia will be paperless in 10 years. They are also  working on AI policy and using algorithms to rework legal / insurance frameworks. One consideration is: “does AI get their own separate legal entity?”. In 4 years, AI will be fully implemented and that will see a 50% reduction in civil servants and they are all happy with that as they know other employment opportunities will emerge. Contrast that to Germany where civil servants are still guaranteed lifetime employment.

The shift has got little to do with technology. It is culture and mindset. It’s about defining the relationship between citizens and the Govt, culture and mindset.

China – That massive country. They have embraced the Circular Economy since 1997. Their approach to the Circular Economy is fundamentally different to the West as they started 10 years earlier and started in the middle of their Industrial Revolution compared to the Developed World where the damage has been wholly done.
The developed world pollutes first and then looks for clean up solutions. In China, they do not want to pollute in the first place. In their recently announced 13th 5 year plan (gotta love a planned economy), their Circular Economy priorities are:

(1) Bio-design of products – upstream
(2) Extended Producer Responsibility – downstream

Two unrelated random facts of the day: 
(1) 50% of Facebook’s workforce earn more than $240K pa while California has the highest incidence of poverty in the US.
(2) Fortnite, the game every adolescent around the globe is playing is pulling down $300 million profit every month!

It was another great summit with some really good connections made.

Random Neuron Firing

Setting the tone

After 14 years on blogging platform Typepad I finally moved over to WordPress yesterday.

And the move has been revelatory. Back in 2001 (!) Typepad launched their revolutionary platform and then never got around to updating for like everything (mobile, media uploads etc etc) WordPress on the other hand is everything you want in a blogging platform: intuitive, customisable, mobile friendly with excellent customer service when you need a tip.

In posing a question to the WordPress customer service crew yesterday, I was first asked an unexpected question but one that really made me stop and think.

The question was “How do you feel”. That was pretty disarming. I thought about it and responded that I felt pretty good. And that’s pretty crucial data for the Customer Service agent about to surprise and delight me. Because if they know going in that I’m infuriated / ready to go Postal, they will probably manage the inquiry differently and more effectively.

By asking that question they know my state of mind and attitude which is sort of more important than the question itself. It almost guarantees a better outcome.

Self Management

You are the average of the five people you most associate with.

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It is often said that you are a product of the five people you spend the most time with. Who is in your five? A significant other + colleagues + kids + mates + a pup + out-laws?

It’s a bit frightening really because for some that circle can include people that you had no say in being in your inner circle. I speak of colleagues in work settings.

You are sort of just thrown together based on skill set and role but then spend far more time with them than your significant other in many circumstances. I recently read where doing an audit of these five is a healthy first step to really reflect on those people and how they may impact your way of being. You can then make a choice to rearrange personnel who you want to be around. Try it out!

gCycle, London, UK

It’s all happening.

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Day One in the UK and after a jet-lagged run through Kensington Palace Gardens we headed off for several meetings, before a quick feed at Borough markets. Heading back to our "office" (Thank you Pret A Manger's everywhere… ) , we witnessed a fleet of Range Rovers race past with none other than Rachel Zane, the paralegal from the hit US TV show Suits in her latest role as Duchess of Sussex. Today's episode was filmed at Royal Ascot with the horsies and all. I knew it was her as that hat was seriously battling to fit in the Rangie. 


Also today in London there is much "excitement" for The Donald's trip here on July 13. So much excitement in fact that a 6 metre high inflatable "Trump Baby" in a nappy and all will be launched over the Houses of Parliament in honour of his visit. Please note that that nappy is NOT one of ours…although at 70, statistically he probably IS wearing an incontinence product. I will just leave that there. 

If you want to get on board, the oversubscribed Crowdfunder is here.    

Today the work continues. Arrangements to start trials with nurseries, testing of new processing methods to turn our nappies in to resources, a PR agency or two to meet etc!