Unlocking Europe’s Silicon Valley of the Circular Economy: An In-Depth Look at the Circular Valley Initiative

New Start-ups Venture into Circular Economy’s ‘Silicon Valley’ • Recycling International

The Circular Valley initiative in Germany is on a mission to create a “Silicon Valley of the circular economy” in Europe. Founded by the Circular Valley Foundation in 2021, the initiative aims to close material loops in existing value chains, provide policy recommendations, and educate the public about the circular economy. Some of its notable members include BASF, Bayer, Evonik, Knipe, Vorwerk, and scientific institutions like Fraunhofer Umsicht Institute, Max Planck Society, and Wuppertal Institute.

Over the past year, more than 100 startups from around the world have been funded by Circular Valley. The latest 15 startups hail from countries like Egypt, Chile, India, and various European nations. These start-ups will now have the opportunity to spend three months in the Rhine-Ruhr region developing their business models starting in April. Throughout the programme, they will work with coaches and mentors, visit local companies and network with industry professionals. The culmination of this funding programme will be a demonstration day on 28 May where these start-ups will present their ideas to an audience.

Currently, the focus of this programme is on coordinating value chains, exploring alternative raw materials and bioeconomy as well as developing new techniques for chemical recycling. Amongst those selected for funding are Agrona (coordinating value chains), CarbonCraft (alternative raw materials), Flower Matter (bioeconomy) and T-phite (new techniques for chemical recycling). Other areas that these start-ups cover include Upcyde (alternative raw materials), Radical Dot (new technologies for chemical recycling) and Qaptis (waste management).

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