Launching at Green Grads 2023, Renée Materials is a new start-up seeking to divert waste from landfill towards small-scale creative projects.
As we strive towards a more circular economy, design brands and manufacturers are looking at many ways in which they can divert waste from landfill through initiatives centred on reuse and recycling. However, one start-up is looking to provide a digital solution which might make it a little easier by connecting your off-cuts to creatives, artists and hobbyists who can utilise the remnants in upcoming projects.
Renée Materials, founded by graduates Frieda Bischoff and Vassi Deij, initially launched its platform at the Green Grads showcase which took place as part of London Design Festival in 2023. Since its launch in September, the platform has gathered surplus materials from fifteen brands including names such as Bill Amberg and fashion designer Phoebe English. While the duo’s mission is based primarily on reducing the quantity of material that ends up in landfill or incineration, they also hope that in connecting it to other areas of the creative world, it can inspire new projects to emerge and provide an affordable solution for artists looking for such resources. And, in return, companies can turn their waste into a new income stream – a positive opportunity in a challenging economic climate.
“Our mission is to establish a new creative economy centred around waste,” states Bischoff. “This entails creating a system that competes effectively with the current economy, ensuring a win-win for all involved. Companies turn their waste into revenue, creatives gain access to high-quality materials at half the price, and the planet benefits from reduced waste and carbon emissions!” Led by a passion for change and an inherent sense of purpose, this dynamic start-up is certainly one to watch. Looking ahead, Bischoff hopes it will become the go-to platform for those seeking a more environmentally conscious material choice. “I envision being the premier online destination where individuals can confidently access high-quality materials for their creative endeavours,” she comments. And, with the benefits already being proven within its first four months of trading, we can’t wait to see its journey unfold.
Paying tribute to the support of Green Grads in bringing the idea to life, Bischoff says how it offered different opportunities to showcase the concept with the chance to directly present its mission and vision to influential people within the creative industry and beyond. Led by renowned journalist, photographer and curator Barbara Chandler, Green Grads is an initiative dedicated to graduates working on projects which are focused on positive environmental change. Since its inception in 2021, it has hosted several physical exhibitions which display the work of graduates while also reaffirming how design can be the catalyst towards the creation of a greener future. “Visitors who came to see the Green Grads show in September were in fact the first who gained access to our online marketplace,” explains Bischoff. “And, during The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester, at which Green Grads exhibited, we gained further interest in our reusable materials from a variety of creatives.”
While starting within London, the Renée team hopes in time the platform can have a presence in other locations. And, with the vast quantity of what is thrown out by businesses and manufacturers completely reusable, disrupting this model and closing the loop is key for the industry’s future. In a world where resources are rapidly diminishing, Renée Materials is a welcome initiative which could help reverse this devastating trajectory and, in talking to visionaries such as Bischoff and Deij, it fills us with hope that change is possible, resulting in a greener future for all.
Imagery courtesy of Renée Materials and Barbara Chandler.