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Interview with Helen Newcombe on the Circular Economy, Sustainable Swimwear and Designing to Last

· Circular Economy,Natural Capital,Water Pollution,Plastic Pollution,Podcast

Our latest episode features entrepreneur Helen Newcombe, founder of the active women's swimwear brand DavyJ:

Recognised as one of 2017's Women of the Future, in May 2017 Helen launched her line of stylish, durable swimwear made from recycled ocean waste.

Show Notes

01:00 - Introduction to DavyJ

01:40 - Use of recycled nylon regenerated from waste materials

02:25 - Finding key partners like AquaFil

03:20 - Origins, motivations, and development of DavyJ

05:40 - On designing and producing swimwear for the 1st time

06:25 - On the strong initial response from customers

07:50 - Customers' reactions to products made from waste

09:30 - Engaging customers on ocean conservation.
Helen mentions partners like Surfers against Sewage, Econyl, Marine Conservation Society, World Animal Protection.

At the end of a DavyJ's swimsuit's life, customers can send the suit back to DavyJ's where it will be reconstituted into a new swimsuit.

13:20 - What is a 'circular economy'?
Moving from a Linear Economy (Take-Make-Dispose) to Closing the Loop where waste is also an input into production process.

A core principle is that circular products need to be designed to last, including the ability to take it apart and replace it.

For more on the theory of the Circular Economy, check out the work of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, e.g. 'What is a Circular Economy?'.

An example of the linear economy is 'designed' or 'planned' obsolescence

15:38 - Biggest challenge in the 'shift'.

(1) We must change to how we value products

(2) We must shift away from short-term ism. We don't *value* the long-term durability of a product.

17:35 - Circular design by large companies and smaller players.

20:45 - What's next for DavyJ?

Recently accredited by Positive Luxury.

Experimentation with use of limestone neoprene:

  • Traditional neoprene - made from oil. Bad for many things, but great at keeping you warm in the water.

  • Limestone neoprene - made from limestone. Looks and feels very similar. Beautiful material to work with.

24:00 - What's keeping Helen enthused and engaged in the environmental space...

25:20 - Helen's suggestion to adopt circular thinking in *your* life...

For more on DavyJ, check out their website and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

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