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CiRCLR: The environment’s version of a dating app

CiRCLR is matching waste takers with waste makers, removing the nitty gritty ‘getting to know each other’ phase for what really matters: making social impact.

12.5 million tonnes of waste is created per year in New Zealand – roughly 571 Sky Towers. To combat this whopping number, Sara Smeath has created CiRCLR.

Early in May, in the heart of Auckland, Smeath chatted to a crowd in Spark Arena for the Future State conference, alongside Jayden Klinac of anew and Rachel Brown of the Sustainable Business Network on what businesses can do to better combat this pressing issue.

The answer to tackling this problem is being a collective and working together.

With that answer in mind, Smeath talked about her venture, CiRCLR.

CiRCLR is an app that connects those who contribute to the 12.5 million tonnes of waste to those who are using waste to make new solutions.

“The whole idea around CiRCLR wasn’t necessarily about being circular, it was about connecting circles and building business community where they can exchange and grow brand value through that,” she says.

“It is really important to understand that everyone plays a part and trying to make it as easy as possible. I don’t think it’s necessarily about being perfect as well, but it’s about trying and actually having the data actual. I think that’s really important. You don’t have to have the solution for everything. It’s a start because you’re being honest.”

Before founding the platform, Smeath worked within the fashion industry at brands such as H&M where she focused on sustainable practices that could combat the waste that fast fashion generates.

“I think the fashion industry is a really good industry to come from, because we were so scrutinized,” says Smeath.

Read more: The trend of climate innovation in New Zealand

Her experience working in the industry motivated her to create CiRCLR, an app that allows for both bigger and smaller businesses to put sustainable practices in place by connecting each other and ultimately giving consumers a product or experience that is better for the world.

“So much weight gets put on the consumer, and we don’t know the financial situations of different people and why they’re having to buy from different markets. I don’t necessarily think it’s the consumer fault that there’s not infrastructure in place,” she adds.

Sara Smeath.

“There are things within the supply chain that we can identify where the infrastructure is needed. I think that’s where, again, the accountability, the measuring and the recording of different waste streams, why it’s so important because it is not just better for your business, it’s better for the community and for the people at the end.”

Through CiRCLR, Smeath is transforming how Kiwi businesses see their supply chains and give those consumers a chance at an infrastructure that supports sustainable options.

With the help of the app, Smeath adds that businesses can quantify their waste, a good start to making their business more sustainable, and those who are using waste to create solutions can pick up your waste.

“It comes down to the quantification of what their waste is, how much they’re making, how often they are making, even if there’s not actually a solution right now, it’s actually having that knowledge so that you can understand what other businesses around you are having this problem as well. How big is this problem? Do we need infrastructure to help solve this problem? Is there an innovation or a solution that will solve this problem?” explains Smeath.

“Things are changing and we needed to understand what resources were available within different markets and different countries.”

CiRCLR, founded in 2022, is making waves in the cleantech industry, with Smeath and her team invited to Singapore by the Cleantech Group to connect with policy makers, industry, corporations and technology solutions to support greater outcomes for the future.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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