It's clear that 2021 was a huge year for the circular economy movement. Many companies are now proactively implementing their own circularity initiatives. To help prepare you for 2022, we decided to give our readers some expert insight and sit down with one particular company who is leading the circularity conversation. We caught up with Sascha Bloemhoff, Marketing Director of Niaga®.
What is your company’s circularity initiative?
Niaga® helps producers who want to design products for circularity to redesign their products from scratch with the end in mind. We provide the design principles, material science, and altogether new technology to help them make it happen, step by step. This enables our partners to come up with fully recyclable products that never have to become waste anymore. All materials can be retrieved and reused at the end of each use cycle, bringing a world without waste within reach. The products that are designed and produced this way are discernibly marked with a scannable Niaga® tag, which gives access to our standardized product passport that shows exactly what a product is made of and how it can be returned.
What are your end goals?
At Niaga® want to design out waste, completely. This requires a full-fledged systemic change to facilitate not just product redesign, but also return and recycling. In the end, a product is only circular once it is returned and its materials reused. We want this to become commonplace.
What is your biggest motivation?
Outsmarting material complexity is what makes us tick.
Over the decades, industrial production has become increasingly complex. Product composition has gone up from just several to many ingredients that are often put together in irreversible. This leaves the components’ base materials useless at the end of a product’s life cycle.
This status quo has turned all of us into participants in trashing valuable materials that are becoming more and more scarce as time progresses. Many of them are perfectly recyclable if only we’d adapt our designs and production methods to serve this purpose. Additionally, redesigning products for circularity allows us to also design out toxicants that are hazardous to both our health and that of the planet.
Niaga®-tagged products are simple, clean, and reversible. They are designed modularly, which makes them easy to take apart at the end of a product’s use cycle so the different materials can be returned to their respective material streams. Together with our partners, we are leading the way forward by honoring materials’ value and making sure they can be retrieved and reused, again and again.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
We are charting a new future. The waste-free world that we are building requires new designs, a different use of materials, different production methods, return and recycling infrastructure that doesn’t exist yet, as well as supporting laws and regulations, tax enforcement, and so on.
Our mission is to redesign products for circularity and, while we’re at it, we keep realizing that we need to rebuild entire systems to make it work. So systemic change has become another one of our goals. Ingredient transparency is vital here. The precise, public disclosure of a product’s ingredients is the only way to assess a product’s recyclability as well as its impact on personal and environmental health. That’s where Toxnot comes into the picture.
How has Toxnot helped you meet your circularity goals?
Toxnot helps us, our partners, and their supply chain to manage their material and ingredient data. This helps our partners and the value chain to gain insight into the ingredients used in different products, in order to accomplish our overarching joint mission to keep moving forward towards a fully circular future that respects both people and planet.
Toxnot facilitates a simple and accessible way to manage our partners’ supply chain ingredient data. It is enabling all sorts of companies, big and small, to make use of their smart and highly structured system. When working on a grand mission like ours, it’s essential to have a partner like Toxnot on board to help make it happen.