By Peter & Venky
July 24, 2019

a european green deal | newsletter

Ursula von der Leyen’s name was initially not in the top drawer of candidates to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. And yet, after an unexpected turn in the labyrinth of European decision making, she emerged from the shadows to become the first woman to take the European top job.

As the world is starting to understand von der Leyen’s agenda, it is becoming clear that her vision of Europe has many shades of green.

A mother of 7 children, von der Leyen outlines her aspiration as follows: “For the generation of my children, Europe is a unique aspiration. It is an aspiration of living in a natural and healthy continent. Of living in a society where you can be who you are, live where you like, love who you want and aim as high as you want. It is an aspiration of a world full of new technologies and age-old values. Of a Europe that takes the global lead on the major challenges of our times.”

In this context, we are highlighting some leading-edge European solutions to plastic pollution in this week’s Ubuntoo Digest.

You can use your Ubuntoo login to browse our solutions as you read this newsletter.


In community,

Venky & Peter,



New European Commission President Von der Leyen committed to issuing a new European Green Deal within her first 100 days in office. Based on her document “A Union that strives for more – my agenda for Europe”, we can expect that the focus will be on climate change action (buoyed by the youth climate movement). But we should also see an accelerated effort on plastic pollution and specifically micro-plastics.

Some highlights:

  • A first European Climate Law, with 2050 target to become the first climate-neutral continent.
  • De-carbonization of energy-intensive industries, and a “Just Transition Fund” to support people and regions most affected.
  • Part of the European Investment Bank to be turned into the “European Climate Bank”; the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan will support €1 trillion of investment over the next decade.
  • A new Biodiversity Strategy 2030 + support of farmers with a new “Farm to Fork” strategy.
  • Zero-pollution ambition: a new circular economy action plan. The single-use plastics policy will be extended with a focus on tackling micro-plastics.


Our Ubuntoo database houses 275 Europe-based solutions – and counting. In this newsletter we highlight only a few unexpected and highly innovative examples. For a more comprehensive overview, please enter “Europe” in the location search option in the Solutions page on Ubuntoo.

  • Materials
    • At Mestic, Eindhoven designer Jalila Essaidi is turning manure (yes indeed: cow-pats!) into haute couture, creating a manure-based fabric that has been used to make clothes
    • 4 London-based designers at The Shellworks found a way to create a biodegradable and recyclable bioplastic using lobster shell waste
  • Re-use
    • BIRÒ O2 from Milan, Italy is an electric car made with 80% recycled plastic
    • Excess Materials Exchange is an Amsterdam-based Online marketplace for companies to exchange excess materials
  • Collection / Recovery
    • Oslo-based Empower has a Blockchain based model to pay people who collect waste plastic all over the world
    • Envac from Sweden is using vacuum technology for effective waste collection
  • Consumer facing
    • Berlin-based Flustix has developed a Product certification mark for reduced plastic usage
    • Eugene by Uzer has developed a Home barcode scanner that makes home recycling a fun, rewarding, and convenient routine


We are happy to announce that UBUNTOO has been asked by VERGE to select a couple of candidates to participate in the Accelerate at VERGE 19  fast-pitch competition - featuring entrepreneurs and startups with innovative circular economy technologies, products and services.  Selected candidates will get to pitch during the VERGE 19 conference to a live audience of over 3,000 thought leaders and a global online audience. For those innovators who are interested, please send an email to


An Ubuntoo member is looking for a sustainable alternative to printable Foamex boards (widely used in the signage industry; currently usually PVC). If you know of solutions, please respond using the link above.


Here is a selection of news articles that caught our attention last week:


We loved watching this webinar by Ubuntoo member Professor Ramani Narayanan from Michigan State University titled “Is Biodegradability a solution for plastic waste pollution?

“We have met the enemy and he is us!”

Walt Kelly’s memorable poster of Pogo standing at the mouth of a trash-filled Okefenokee Swamp

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