As people become more and more aware of the impact they have on the planet, we are seeing a growing number of entrepreneurs who are starting businesses primarily designed for change, rather than for profit.
Ahead of Earth Day on Monday (22nd April), we’ve compiled this list of who we think are the 20 most exciting eco entrepreneurs to watch in the UK in 2019.
Keith Abel – Abel & Cole
Launched in 1988, Abel & Cole is a subscription box for organic, seasonal and wild food created by founder Keith Abel. Focusing on organic produce that both tends for the land and is better for the environment, Abel & Cole is also committed to minimising its plastic use. Since launch, it has pioneered a low-plastic approach to business with 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging. It also only delivers to each area once a week to keep carbon emissions down.
Joel Remy – Bamboo Bamboo
Joel Remy is the founder of Bamboo Bamboo, a range of quirky tableware for children designed to reduce plastic, make mealtime more engaging and, most importantly for parents, stop the bowl from ending up face-down on the floor thanks to a grinning toddler. Made entirely from bamboo, one of the world’s most eco-friendly materials, the bowls also feature a plastic-free suction bottom to prevent spills and flips.
Arthur Kay – bio-bean
Arthur Kay is the founder of bio-bean, which is the first company in the world to industrialise the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels and biochemicals. Through bio-bean, Arthur’s mission is to reduce the thousands of tonnes of waste coffee grounds that go to landfill where they emit methane, which is 28x more potent than carbon dioxide.
James Butterfield & Tim Bouscarle – Chilly’s
James Butterfield and Tim Bouscarle are on a mission to accelerate the everyday use of reusable products with Chilly’s, a range of water bottles designed with an active urban lifestyle in mind through distinctive style and high-performance technology. Launched in 2010, the Chilly’s Bottle keeps water ice cold throughout the day, and now the entrepreneurs are exploring other products to help in pursuit of their mission.
David McLagan – Ecoffee Cup
David McLagan is the founder of Ecoffee Cup, a range of reusable coffee cups made with natural fibre, corn starch and resin. Launched in 2014, David set about creating right and vibrant designs to make reusable coffee cups stand out as part of its mission to reduce the three trillion single-use cups that end up in landfill.
Charlie Guy, Jack Farmer & Ben Crowther – LettUs Grow
Charlie Guy, Jack Farmer and Ben Crowther are the founders of LettUs Grow, a tech company leading the way in sustainable food production. Its aeroponic technology allows for crops to be grown indoors and in vertical glasshouse farms using a fine mist, resulting in greater oxygenation, better flavour and faster growth, all while using 95% less water than traditional farming.
Toby McCartney – MacRebur
Toby McCartney is the founder of MacRebur, a company that repurposes non-recyclable waste plastic destined for landfill for roadways. Sparked by something he saw on a trip to India, the plastic replaces bitumen, a fossil fuel used to create asphalt, therefore reducing environmental impact. With each kilometre of road asphalt using MR products, 684,000 plastic bottles are saved from landfill or oceans.
Ina Plesca – My Mantra Active
Ina Plesca is the founder of My Mantra Active, a range of body positive activewear made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and other materials. After leaving behind a busy London life for the idyllic island lifestyle of Thailand, she created eight lines of leggings in eight months from a hotel room. Now, with more lines added regularly, My Mantra believes oceans are for ‘skinny dipping, surfacing and snorkelling’, not plastic. In addition to using recycled materials for its clothing, spare pieces of bikini fabric are used to individually wrap every order.
Mark Tremlett & Peter Tindall – Naturalmat
Mark Tremlett and Peter Tindall are the founders of Naturalmat, which produces 100% natural and sustainable mattresses that offer the ultimate comfort. Failing to understand why the majority of mattresses are made using synthetic materials, the pair set about making a product that is entirely biodegradable, uses environmentally friendly packaging and uses materials harvested according to Fair Trade principles. Naturalmat uses local suppliers as part of its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
Ryan Mario – Petit Pli
Petit Pli is a range of children’s clothing designed to grow as children grow, launched by Ryan Mario in 2017. During his masters in Global Innovation Design, Ryan used his education as an aeronautical engineer to address the environmental problem of fast fashion. Petit Pli uses recycled materials to produce versatile and rainproof products that allows them to grow with a child from nine months to four years, encouraging ‘slow-fashion’ as children grow up.
Jenny Dawson – Rubies in the Rubble
After seeing the amount of produce discarded from fruit and veg markets across London, Jenny Dawson created Rubies in the Rubble to tackle the problem. A range of chutneys, jams and preserves made entirely from discarded fruit and vegs, Rubies are ‘condiments with a conscience’ on a mission to reduce some of the 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste every year.
Krista Taylor – Scence
Krista Taylor is the founder of Scence, a natural skincare range for those who care as much about the impact they have on the world as what they put on their skin. Formulated using entirely from natural and organic ingredients, Scene products also use paper-based packaging that is fully compostable and recyclable.
Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez & Pierre-Yves Paslier – Skipping Rocks Lab
When many are switching from plastic packaging or focusing on reusable products, Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre-Yves Paslier are on a mission to scrap packaging altogether. Skipping Rocks Lab is the company behind Ooho, the edible water bottle made from seaweed extract. Able to hold almost any liquid, Ooho can also be used for fresh juices and sauces at restaurants. Skipping Rocks Lab are working closely with Virgin Sport to have Ooho used at mass participation events like marathons, where vast amounts of plastic bottles are used and discarded.
Tom Szaky & Jon Beyer – Terracycle
Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer are the founders of Terracycle, a company ‘eliminating the idea of waste’ by recycling the ‘non-recyclable’. Working with individuals, offices, schools and industrial factories, Terracycle is able to reuse, recycle, upcycle and compost almost every type of product it receives.
Tom Pell & Jeanette Wong – The Clean Kilo
The Clean Kilo is the UK’s largest zero-waste supermarket, created by Tom Pell and Jeanette Wong. Based in Birmingham, customers are able to fill their own clean containers to purchase products, eliminating plastic packaging and the use of plastic carrier bags. The Clean Kilo sells everything from oils and vinegars to workout supplements, freshly baked bread and pasta to cleaning products and freshly ground coffee.
Sophia Ferguson – Tickle Tots
Sophia Ferguson is the founder of Tickle Tots, a range of reusable nappies and accessories. Sophia launched the company from her kitchen table shortly after her first child was born, realising how much money she was spending on nappies, and the chemicals used in disposable nappies. In addition to reducing the waste of disposable nappies, Tickle Tots uses minimal, recycled and biodegradable paper packaging for its products.
Chris Wilson & Jamie Crummie – Too Good To Go
Chris Wilson and Jamie Cummie are the founders of Too Good To Go, a food marketplace designed purely for food that is set to be wasted. The pair created the business after seeing huge amounts of perfectly good food being discarded following a buffet. The app allows customers to order food at the end of the day when a restaurant or similar is about to throw it out, while helping businesses to reduce waste.
Harry Dennis – Waterhaul
Harry Dennis is the founder of Waterhaul, a range of equipment designed for adventurers made from recycled ocean plastic and fishing nets. Starting with its sunglasses, Waterhaul works with the fishing industry to provide an alternative to landfill or abandoning fishing nets in the ocean, while also protecting marine life affected and killed by discarded nets.
Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander & Jehan Ratnatunga – Who Gives a Crap
Who Gives a Crap is a range of toilet paper using entirely recycled materials and bamboo, one of the world’s most environmentally friendly materials. Launched by Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander and Jehan Ratnatunga, Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of its profits to charities that install toilets and proper sewage systems in deprived parts of the world after learning that 2.3 billion don’t have access to a toilet.
Georgia Lovell – Wyatt and Jack
Georgia Lovell is the founder of Wyatt and Jack, a brand of sustainable bags and accessories. Made entirely from the vinyl PVC of old bouncy castles, discarded inflatable beach toys, and the canvas of old beach deckchairs, Wyatt and Jack reduces waste among products that typically wouldn’t be seen as recyclable or reusable in a unique way.
Entries for the 2019 NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards are now open. You can register and enter for free by clicking below.