Waste to Wealth Workshop, St. Andrews, 14 June 2019

Across the country, there is a growing interest from both industry and academia in recovering or transforming waste products into useful materials. As we are all so much more aware of our impact on the environment this sort of research is vital to help save the planet from our own damage.

Last week, CuanTec attended ‘Waste to Wealth: Opportunities in a Circular Economy’ where we learned all about the fantastic ongoing research from experts throughout the UK who are concentrating on repurposing waste.

There are many, many ways in which this is being achieved. From electronics to whisky co-products, the event demonstrated the wide range of waste that could be reused. For instance, by melting down and extracting gold from unused electronics, we can recycle this finite metal. It also decreases the need to mine for gold, which can be dangerous. Another example is the repurposing of electric car batteries. As the demand for electric cars increases, there will naturally be an increase in the production of electric car batteries – but what happens to then when they can no longer be used in this capacity, but are still in good condition? Instead of throwing them into landfill, they can be used as energy storage for renewable sources. Not only does this stop unnecessary items taking decades, or centuries, to decompose in the ground, it reduces the need to produce energy storage (which is also increasing due to the need for renewable energy).

Andrew King, Head of Marketing at CuanTec spoke proudly of our efforts in creating a circular economy, by taking waste shellfish shells from fisheries and generating our biodegradable, antimicrobial bioplastic. As a bonus, the side product from our process can be used as fish feed, so we do not really have any waste from the production of our bioplastic. After our presentation, we had lots of interest in our method and product from other delegates.

Supported by IBioIC, ZeroWaste Scotland, ScotCHEM and Energy Technology Partnership and hosted at the University of St Andrews, the event brought together academia and industries to discuss what they are doing to tackle the environmental issues caused by waste. The main thing is to decide if waste truly is waste – or can it be used elsewhere? As research in this field continues to expand and companies are more mindful of what happens to their waste, we can be sure to see improvements in our environment.

Our Ocean Wealth Summit 2019

On 10thJune CuanTec had the honour of speaking at the ‘Our Ocean Wealth Summit 2019’ in Cork, Ireland with our investors, Sky Ocean Ventures.

Sky Ocean Ventures is an investment group aiming to clean up and protect our oceans from plastic. As a major investor in CuanTec, they gave us the opportunity to speak at this international event about our company, which we are extremely grateful for. Our CEO, Cait Murray-Green, made the presentation and afterwards she received a lot of positive feedback from audience members about our company and what we are trying to achieve.

Our Ocean Wealth was set up to protect and invest in Irish marine resources. As a government plan, it brings together multiple departments to work together to take advantage of Ireland’s vast waters as well as safeguard the marine environment. The summit was the flagship event for Irelands marine sector and was attended by several distinguished guests from around the world including politicians, diplomats, business representatives and climate change activists, all with one message: we must act now to save the earth as we know it.

Keynote speaker, former US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of how each nation must start working harder, and together, to protect our oceans and deal with climate change as the two are not independent of each other. He expressed concerns about slow-moving policy makers and emphasised the need for action now, advocating to the people in the room “lets just get it done”.

Many other speakers echoed the same message and the hunger to make a real difference in the room was obvious. Some spoke of the challenges that their nation faced and the changes they are implementing to do their part and save their oceans. Cait spoke proudly of our efforts in the blue economy. By taking waste fish products from fisheries and turning them into products that can replace current thermoplastics, our methods are much more environmentally conscious than for standard plastic. As our end-product is compostable, it removes the problem of plastic in the ocean or buried in landfill.

The stand-out speaker for us was 17-year-old Alicia O’Sullivan. As Ireland’s Youth Ambassador for Oceans, she gave an impassioned speech telling us all in no uncertain terms ‘climate change is now’. Encouraging a collaborative approach from government, scientists and activists across the globe, Alicia articulated the frustrations of youth around the world. The young people of this world will no longer tolerate empty words and promises from politicians and policy makers.

 They want change.

They want action.

We all need it now.


To find out more about Our Ocean Wealth: https://www.ouroceanwealth.ie/

Link to Alicia’s speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn5lQoT22Cc&feature=youtu.be

Last week CuanTec welcomed a Sky filming crew to our Oban site to make a movie about what we do. As a major investor in our business, Sky Ocean Ventures commissioned the film to be included on our websites and various media outlets. As might be expected from a world-class media organisation, their film crew embraced all elements of CuanTec's business and followed the whole life-cycle of what we do - from the fishing of langoustines - to our processing of fishery waste into the production of our bio-plastic - to its final use as a packaging for seafood ......  it was all covered in just a few days! We can't wait to see the final result ...... and we'll share it with you as soon as we can!

(above: Our CEO, Dr Cait Murray-Green being interviewed just out the back of our Oban site)

(above: Creel boat moored after a successful fishing trip off beautiful Siel near Oban)

(above: Sky camera man filming production at Inverawe Smokehouse)

(above: preparing an interview with our Head of Microbiology, Tracy White at the Oban lab)