Best of Europolitan - Sustainability, Circular Economy and the Idea of TrashCoin

TrashCoin is led by three German scholars Eliot, Ibrahim and Hafeez who are originally from Nigeria, and have experienced firsthand the effects of pollution caused by poor plastic waste management in their home country before moving to Germany where the reverse is the case due to the ambitious plastic refund system implemented. 

This is an excerpt from our club magazine, you can find the entire article in Europolitan 2/2021 (login required).

Sustainability, Circular Economy and the Idea of TrashCoin

The business idea is owned by the three cofounders who mutually agreed that the German waste management system operated in a unique way, coming from the same country where the issue of waste management was a big problem, they took several weeks to refine the idea to suit the realities of their country Nigeria. To validate what they have done so far, they participated and won the Move Your Idea Competition hosted by the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Reutlingen. Eliot writes about his journey from seeing an obvious problem to a business solution.


Getting to Sustainable Economics

The more we advance into the twenty-first century the more 'pumped up' a lot of people are concerning issues related to sustainability, especially environmental sustainability. More and more businesses are now trying to plan along the line of environmental sustainability. TrashCoin is proud to be one of those companies earnestly concerned with the issue of sustainability. Before we dive deep into this article, it may be important to let the readers know that what we mean by the term environmental sustainability is "acting in a way that ensures future generations have the natural resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life as current generations" (United Nations). The previously mentioned definition in our view is direct and clear. Admittedly, putting the definition into practice is not always a new endeavour. The issue related to environmental sustainability has been going on for decades and there seem to be myriad challenges in ensuring that the target of improving our planet is achieved. Many measures have been proposed to deal with this environmental degradation but this article shall focus on circular economy which is of crucial importance for TrashCoin’s business model.


From Theory to Action

According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation's definition of Circular Economy is “looking beyond the current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles: design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; regenerate natural systems.”


As for the The World Economic Forum Circular Economy is “an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models.”


The previously mentioned definitions can be illustrated by the diagram below.


Source: © Recycling Council of Ontario


In sum, alluding to the diagram above one can note that TrashCoin is intervening at crucial stages of the circular economy model:
TrashCoin is encouraging the design of better products to its stakeholders when it collects waste on behalf of manufacturers

TrashCoin is reducing process waste by providing recyclable material which takes less time to make and reduces energy consumption

TrashCoin encourages its stakeholders through the app to consume products that are less harmful to the environment (alternative consumption)

In addition, we promote the reuse of materials through incentives we give at our machines that collect trash We have improved the collection of waste that would have otherwise remained in landfills or the ocean chocking life of marine life By taking waste to companies that recycle, we are directly encouraging the culture of recycling materials

TrashCoin will continue to invest in environmentally friendly infrastructure for waste disposal such as the machines that shall be used for giving trashcoins


Thank you Eliot, Ibrahim and Hafeez for your exciting insights!

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