£1m Circular Future Fund winners unveiled
- Four projects have been awarded a share of the John Lewis Partnership’s £1m Circular Future Fund
- The winning projects were chosen from more than 200 projects aimed at tackling waste and extending the lifecycle of new products
- Winners include: Expandable children’s shoes, a reusable period product, a revolutionary new dye removal technique and a ‘lend and mend’ scheme
The John Lewis Partnership has unveiled the winners of its £1m Circular Future Fund, including a children's expandable shoe to an innovative new period product. All four pioneering projects have proved their potential to invent ways to ‘design out’ waste and extend the lifecycle of products.
Expandable and recyclable children’s shoes, a game-changing period service the use of new CO2 technology to separate dyes from polyester to enable recycling, and a ‘lend and mend’ scheme in Scotland are the four trailblazing projects that have been awarded a share of the John Lewis Partnership’s £1m Circular Future Fund. In addition to the much needed funds to develop each winner’s projects, the environmental charity Hubbub will measure the impact of the grants.
Fund raised from plastic bag sales
The million pound challenge was launched in November 2021 to find scalable projects with an alternative approach to the outdated linear ‘make, take, dispose’ model. The fund was raised from sales of 10p plastic bags.
The winners were chosen by an independent panel of industry experts, including senior representatives from John Lewis & Partners and with support from Hubbub. Overall a staggering 245 projects applied for the fund, with eight selected to pitch to the panel and a final four organisations were awarded grants. The four winners will be supported by Hubbub over the next year to develop and achieve their ambitions.
The winning ideas
- Sustainable Footwear, Pip & Henry. On average a young child replaces its shoes every four months with a staggering 85 per cent of those shoes going to landfill*. Pip & Henry is exploring two solutions to radically disrupt the industry; creating designs for expandable shoes that grow with the child, minimising the need to replace them as regularly, as well as investigating design options that will allow for shoes to be more easily recycled into their separate materials to reduce landfill waste.
- Polyester Infinity, University of Leeds. Polyester is the world’s most consumed textile fibre and yet recycled polyester only contributes to 15 per cent** of the total production almost all of which is made from plastic bottles. There has been a barrier to recycling polyester fabric because until now it has been difficult to remove the dyes from it. The Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour working alongside the Wolfson CO2 Laboratory in the School of Chemistry are researching a solution that uses new CO2 technology to separate dyes to enable easier recycling of this popular fabric.
- Period Product Service, DAME. The perfect circular period product, the menstrual cup, has existed for decades, yet it remains a niche product. How can we make it easier and more desirable to use the menstrual cup? DAME's idea is to launch a campaign and new digital platform which educates and supports users as they make the switch. Interested people with periods will receive a starter kit of various shapes and sizes to test while only paying for what they keep, all supported by a digital assistant.
- Lend and Mend Spaces, Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). Scotland’s libraries are visited over 40 million times each year providing a captive audience for this pioneering project. Inspired by the ‘People’s Workshops’ in Norway, SLIC wants to launch a pilot to turn up to 10 Scottish libraries into ‘lend and mend’ spaces. They want to develop a long-term model for libraries to be a hub of circular economy activities.
Fighting throw-away culture
Marija Rompani, Director of Ethics and Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership said: “Our throw-away culture and the waste it generates are unquestionably among the biggest challenges we will face in our lifetime and tackling them will require a different kind of thinking. All these inspirational projects have the potential to create real impact and will provide valuable learnings in promoting the urgent need to adopt a more circular way of living. With the funding awarded for the year ahead we want to help these amazing ideas to thrive for the long-term benefit of us all.”
Saskia Restorick, Director of Hubbub said: “It is vital to rethink waste at this critical time for the environment, which means looking at new ways to value the goods we produce, buy and use. The quality and quantity of entries for the fund has shown us the wealth of ideas out there and given us real hope that things can be done differently. The four winners have the potential to deliver a positive and innovative impact on a national and even global scale and we look forward to supporting them to bring their visions to life.”.
To find out more on how the Partnership is achieving our sustainability goals, please click here to read the latest Ethics & Sustainability report.
Notes to Editors
For further information on the winning ideas please visit our website at: www.circularfuturefund.co.uk/winners
*Better Shoe Foundations
**Preferred Fribre and Materials Market Report 2021 - The Textile Exchange
For more information please contact:
Sophie Brinsford - [email protected] / 02075926642
Sue Finnegan or Polly Hughes.
ZPR / Finn Partners
T: 020 7046 8230
About the John Lewis Partnership
The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical experiment over a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with over 80,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. The Partnership is purpose-driven, existing to create a fairer and more sustainable future for our Partners, customers, suppliers and communities. Our Purpose not only inspires our principles, drives our decisions and acts as our guide to be a force for good, it steers us to do things differently and better - all in service of creating a happier world for everyone and everything we touch.
Hubbub is an award-winning charity and social enterprise that inspires ways of living that are good for the environment - disrupting the status quo to raise awareness, nudge behaviours and shape systems. Their aim is to revolutionise communications with the public about environmental issues - using everyday language and good design to make environmental actions desirable and tapping into things people are passionate about such as food, fashion, homes and neighbourhoods. This innovative approach saw Hubbub win the Charity of the Year Award at the prestigious Charity Times Awards in 2020.
Since its formation in 2014, Hubbub has delivered more than 60 trailblazing environmental campaigns in collaboration with over 700 partners, helping to shift the national debate on key environmental issues such as food waste, sustainable fashion, air pollution and recycling. Hubbub’s campaigns include #LeedsByExample which brought together 25 of the UK’s largest companies to boost recycling on the high street, a 3-year partnership with IKEA to create the world’s largest consumer-facing sustainability campaign ‘Live Lagom’ and creating a Network of 200 Community Fridges across the UK, each redistributing on average 2.4 tonnes of food every month that would otherwise have gone to waste.