Supporting SMEs to go green

Our 'throwaway' model of consumption is devastating the natural world and cannot be sustained: the ecological costs are too high and some of our most valuable resources are already becoming scarce.

In contrast, a circular economy is designed to keep products and materials circulating within the economy at their highest value for as long as possible, through re-use, recycling, remanufacturing, delivering products as services and sharing.

This is more resource efficient and helps companies to protect themselves from fluctuating commodity prices. The potential benefits from a circular economy in the UK have been estimated in one study at £29bn per year with the creation of around half a million jobs.


In 2017 the London Waste and Recycling Board created Advance London – to provide business advice to SMEs wanting to transition to a circular economy.

Engagement with the SMEs includes exploring new circular economy markets, revenue streams and business models. By transforming waste challenges into business opportunities, the work of Advance London also contributes to meeting the city’s goal of zero bio-waste to landfill by 2026.

To give one example Advance helped a new startup called Biohm scale up their production of Mycelium construction materials, and locate food waste and agricultural by-products to grow them. The manufacturing process is estimated to be carbon-negative, sequestering at least 16 tonnes of carbon per month.

Other success stories include: KSBC responsible office relocation service; the expansion of OLIO, the food sharing app, to include local shops; Pluumo, a unique thermal packaging material made from surplus feathers; and Toast, who make beer with surplus bread rather than barley.

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