Every Friday, Circulate rounds up a collection of interesting circular economy related stories and articles. This week, our selection includes an article on “The Plastic Bank”, Veolia announces that Leeds will become a circular economy hub and more…

Mimicking filtration and absorption mechanisms in earthworms to make agricultural soils more effective at holding nutrients, developing traps to farm insects for protein and a solar desalination plant inspired by mangrove trees were just three of the finalists for this year’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, which was eventually won by “Windchill”, a food preservation unit that requires no electricity and is inspired by the temperature regulation of mammals. See all of the competition’s finalist and innovative entries on the challenge website.

Veolia has announced its intention to make Leeds a “hub for circular economy innovation”. Veolia’s chief executive Estelle Brachlianoff spoke at a stakeholder event for the company’s new flagship energy-from-waste plant based in Cross Green. Reported in Edie, Veolia expects the new facility to put Leeds at the forefront of recycling technologies in the UK.

The various issues around plastics and their negative impacts economically and environmentally have come to the fore over the course of the last 12 to 18 months. Whatever collaborations are developed and courses of action taken to resolve the problem, the solutions are likely to be multiple in number and multi-faceted in nature. In that spirit, Guardian Sustainable Business ran an interesting story this week on The Plastic Bank, a small business that has turned plastic into a currency, acting as a broker between recycling companies that receive discarded bottles and other recyclable materials and individuals in under-privileged rural communities. Leah Messinger writes that several companies looking to innovate around new plastic products are already interested in collaborating. Perhaps The Plastic Bank will always operate in a relatively small niche, but they do represent another story showing the value that can be extracted from material that has traditionally been viewed as waste.

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