Sustainables focuses on removing all single-use items from research and healthcare. By cleaning disposables they can be used for recycling, with the end goal of reusing them.
1. What is your value proposition?
We treat scientifically contaminated waste so that it is not incinerated, but recycled. In this way we want to make science circular.
Sustainables primarily complies with SDG goal 12: Responsible consumption and production. Next to this we also comlpy with SDG goals 6: Clean water and sanitation, 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure, 13: Climate action and 14: Ocean life.
2. What is your mission?
We basically want to leave a place better than how we found it. We place enormous value on science and how science improves society. And precisely because of this, it is so painful to see that the waste scientific research produces causes so much pollution. The annual, global plastic consumption of life science research alone is enough to cover the municipality of Nijmegen with an 85-meter thick blanket of waste. So, what we want to do is recycle this mountain and prevent the waste from being burned.
3. How did Mercator Launch help you?
Mercator Launch and the Improve Program helped us so much. During the program, we learned how to create a business plan, which questions to ask ourselves and potential customers and we learned how to really push ourselves! Without Mercator Launch, we would probably continue to validate forever.
Thanks to our business coach, we now have insight into our process and the steps that lie ahead. Where are we now, what have we done and what needs to be done to take the next step forward? This way of thinking really gave us peace of mind and makes it possible for us to only look forward and work on things that take us further!
Mercator Launch introduced us to people, places and networks that we did not even know existed. That really helped accelerate the development of Sustainables enormously.
And last, but not least: being surrounding with peers – all starting entrepreneurs – during the Improve program, creates a lot of momentum and sense of urgency to starting your company. The deadlines of the program help you progress and the other participants give you the inspiration and energy to tackle the risks involved in creating a start-up.
Simply put: without Mercator Launch we would definitely not be the start-up we are today.
4. What are the future plans for Sustainables?
We are currently setting up our company within the municipality of Nijmegen. And we’re processing the plastic waste of various research departments of the university and converting it into high-quality and reusable raw materials. After this, we want to look at other institutes on campus and the Novio Tech Campus to see if we can help convert their waste into reusable material.
Sustainables is successful when we are able to ensure that 0% of the scientific waste in The Netherlands goes to the incinerator and that 100% of the waste is being processed into reusable material, using a sustainable and circular method.
5. What do you need to make this happen?
To reach this goal, we are looking for:
- Ways to expand our knowledge and expertise;
- A network within the research world;
- An office;
- A location with the necessary machinery; and
- The starting capital to get off the ground;
So, if you know something or someone that can help us… let us know!
6. If you can give one piece of advice to future entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Talk to many different people about your idea. Anyone might have an idea that can potentially change or push your business forward in the right direction. And the real bonus is the energy and inspiration you get from talking to people about your idea! Never be afraid to ask someone for help: people always love to help! Time and time again, we are positively surprised by the enthusiastic reaction people have to our story. People always want to help or share their knowledge with us. The worst that can happen is hearing ‘no’. But then you can always ask someone else! 😊