Scottish EDGE Round 13

Last week, we were at the Scottish EDGE 13 Live Final and amongst the winners, we spotted some fantastic low carbon businesses! 


As a previous Scottish EDGE Winner of Young EDGE and Wild Card EDGE, we were delighted to be at Round 13 as a supporter of other Scottish businesses this year!

Scottish EDGE supports Scotland’s most innovative, high-growth potential startup businesses with up to £150,000 in cash and an all-encompassing business support package. The competition, to date, has created an additional 1381 Scottish jobs, generated an additional £104.22 million in turnover, and received additional investment to the sum of £82.47 million.  

Sir Tom Hunter, entrepreneur and supporter of Scottish EDGE said: 

“We are resolute in supporting Scotland’s future leaders of business and that’s why this is never just about money, all entrants, win or lose, receive vital support packages to help them on their way and come back again to EDGE when they are ready to do so.”   

Meet the low carbon winners of EDGE 13!

Clean Water Wave, a social enterprise developing a community-scale, very low-energy, water treatment system making it a long term, sustainable solution for rural or semi-urban communities across the world. The Clean Aqua For Everyone (CAFE) system is specifically designed to be simple, robust and very effective. They won £65,000! 

Winning £50,000, Boxenergy is a Scottish startup with the vision to electrify domestic heating and reduce fuel poverty by offering energy as a service with heat at 1p/kWh, delivering annual savings of 7 tCO2 and £500 per customer. Boxergy accelerates decarbonisation of domestic heating whilst their business model secures the benefits for consumers.

Sofa for Life, a modular and customisable sofa which is better for you and the environment by increasing the sofa’s lifetime. It is integrated into a circular service, which promotes repair, component replacement, reuse and recycling. Sofa for Life demonstrates that sustainability is no longer a compromise, but an advantage and took home £10,000!

Crover won WildCard EDGE, taking home £10,000. They are using the first ever technology locomotion in bulk solids, developing a remote probing device for the monitoring of cereal grains stored in bulk. This is allowing customers such as farmers, brewers and grain merchants to identify critical conditions early and maintain the quality of their stock. 

We also loved...

Good-Loop who won an impressive £40,000, run ethical ads for global brands like Unilever, Universal and Canon and consistently deliver up to double the ad engagement and brand uplift – all whilst doing some good for the world! Read more about Good-Loop here.

Although we were there to support other businesses this year, we are excited to compete in the main round in the future, watch this space! 

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Reducing your waste this Christmas

When you think of Christmas, you think of green and red… the tree, the Christmas lights, the Santa hats. But have you thought about how to actually be green

Read on to find out how you can reduce your holiday waste this Festive Season and why it matters! 

Steps To Being Greener This Christmas

Get creative with gift wrapping

Last year, we threw away 108 million rolls of wrapping paper in the UK!  Why not try using creative materials to wrap your presents this year? Try using old maps, magazines, newspapers, scarves, fabric, handkerchiefs and reusable tins and jars. Check out some ideas here.

Visit second-hand shops

Save money by going thrift shopping, find pre-loved classic books, vintage accessories and even “new” second-hand items. 

Charity shops are great for finding unwanted gifts, that someone you know might just love!
You can even do your second-hand shopping online, with Scottish-based Social Enterprise One Cherry.

Home composting

Instead of throwing vegetable peelings away, turn them into compost. It’s great for your garden and even better for the environment. These items can be added to your compost bin too: egg boxes, scrunched up newspaper, tea bags and fruit scraps. 

Click here to see full list of compostable items.

Buy less

Let’s be honest, you probably don’t need another Christmas jumper! Go easy on the new decorations too… nope, you don’t need more tinsel. Get creative by making your own! Here’s some inspiration.

Remember your re-usable shopping bags

We all have a cupboard in our kitchen filled with plastic shopping bags. When shopping for Christmas presents, decorations and food this festive season, try to remember to take bags with you. 

If you do have to buy plastic bags, remember to keep them away from the recycling bin, they tend to clog up recycling systems.

Freeze leftover food

Plan ahead, eat everything from your freezer before Christmas! You’ll thank yourself when there’s plenty of space for leftovers on the 26th! 

Follow this link for some great festive leftover recipes!

Embrace the washing up gloves

The thought of doing the dishes after Christmas dinner may seem daunting. It can be pretty tempting to bust out the plastic plates, cups and cutlery to save on dishes, but we promise that the planet will thank you for it if you make the effort to skip the disposables! 

(Or opt for eco-friendly compostable products that can go straight into your compost bin!)

And finally, remember to relax!

So you’ve put up your decorations, bought your presents and started emptying the freezer to make space for the 26th.

We know that among the chaos of planning, it can be pretty easy to forget to enjoy the small things. So if you take one thing from this blog post, try to remember to kick back and relax this Christmas.

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GBEA Awards 2018

This month we were at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards!

Our founder, Martina Zupan was up for the Young Entrepreneur award. We were so happy to see the award go to fellow entrepreneur Michael Harkins, founder of Turtle Pack. Congratulations Michael!      

Entrepreneurs from across Scotland and Northern Ireland came together in Edinburgh to celebrate their success at the first regional gala final. 

A big congratulations to Michael Harkins from Turtle Pack for his win in our category ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ and to overall winner, Alan Mahon from Brewgooder. We were excited to see a social enterprise taking the night’s top honour! 

Meet the winners of GBEA 2018!

Entrepreneur for Good | Alan Mahon, Brewgooder

Scale-Up Entrepreneur | Jo-Anne Chidley, Beauty Kitchen 

Service Industries Entrepreneur | Alex Barron, Triyit 

Young Entrepreneur | Michael Harkins, Turtle Pack

Great British Entrepreneur of the Year | Alan Mahon, Brewgooder

Head of Entrepreneurship for Royal Bank of Scotland, Gordon Merrylees said: 

“We are incredibly proud to support these important awards again in 2018. The number and calibre of entries this year proves that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Scotland and Northern Ireland.” 

We are delighted to be a part of the entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland, and hope to be making an appearance again next year! 

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Shell LiveWIRE Winner


Martina scoops £5,000 award for Alterwaste 

The Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future programme offers monthly start-up grants of £5,000, coaching and online business support to 16-30 year old entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas for a more sustainable and efficient future. 


We encourage entrepreneurs with a positive impact to apply, it really is a fantastic opportunity!


On winning the award, Martina said: 

“It is exciting to have finally won Shell LiveWIRE after being in the top 5 a few times before. The great thing is that Shell LiveWIRE is a competition for low carbon businesses, so it felt like a win even when another startup got the chance to accelerate their low carbon mission!”

As a result of her win, Martina will now be considered for the title of the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the opportunity to receive an additional grant of £25,000. 

Martina joins a host of notable Shell LiveWIRE Award Winners, including recent winners Biohm and Chips Board

Gareth Thistleton, Head of Social Investment, Shell UK commented: 

“There is an urgent need to balance the resource requirements of a growing population with the pressures this will put on the environment. Meeting the scale of this challenge will require a collaborative effort on an unprecedented scale- including with low-carbon small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – the source of disruptive technologies. 

SMEs account for over 90 per cent of the UK’s low-carbon sector, estimated to be worth £121 billion to the UK economy. That’s why the Shell LiveWIRE delivers an integrated approach to supporting UK entrepreneurs in starting up and growing innovative enterprises.”

A huge thanks from Alterwaste to Shell LiveWIRE for supporting startups through this great project! 

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Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards

Our founder, Martina Zupan was honoured to be awarded with an Entrepreneurial Spirit Award at the Converge Challenge this month, alongside two other fantastic female entrepreneurs, Saskia Goeres and Ruth McLaren.

Martina said:

“Running a start-up means a lot of ups and downs – and to make it through the downs, having an entrepreneurial spirit is vital.
I’m delighted that through the Converge Challenge competition my determination and passion for making a positive environmental change didn’t go unnoticed.
And I’m very proud to be one of the Converge Challenge winners closely supported by Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, who clearly created a powerful community of game-changers that are needed to run a positive change.


Other ECCI winners, including the top winner can be seen here.


Dr Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge said: 

 “Congratulations to all this year’s winners and finalists. It is impressive how much they have progressed in just a few short months and we are looking forward to supporting them during the coming year and seeing their businesses thrive. This year has been particularly exciting for me due to our record female participation with 35% of entrants, 60% of our finalists and 70% of winners this year being women led or co-founded businesses. This has been a personal cause of mine to see many more women entrepreneurs coming forward.”


The recognition and support for women in business is rising and we are very excited about it!  

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Packaging Innovations 2018

Last Wednesday, the Alterwaste team hit London for Packaging Innovations 2018!

During the exhibition, we had the chance to check out some of the hottest innovations in packaging and hear some inspiring talks during the speaker’s programme. It seems that sustainability is being taken seriously in the packaging industry and the reduced waste movement is real!

Between talks, we had the chance to check out the Plastic Free Aisle, brought to Packaging Innovations by international environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet.

The aisle had a variety of products wrapped in innovative materials including wood, cellulose and plant pulp, compostable biomaterials as well as traditional materials including glass, metal and carton board.

Unsurprisingly, we were extremely excited by this concept and hope to see it come to supermarkets in Scotland soon! 

How can waste become opportune?

Reusing plastic waste was a topical subject at this year’s Packaging Innovations.

Working towards zero waste is not all about coming up with new, plastic free materials. By making small changes and caring more about which bin we use, we can make sure plastic products are making their way to recycling plants and encourage manufacturers to turn one person’s waste into another’s treasure.

Check out how people around the world are taking plastic bottles and turning them into eco bricks for construction here

Consumer’s are moving towards a more environmentally friendly mindset and even in the luxury packaging industry, there is a demand for sustainability. Unfortunately, a lot of luxury packaging is still hugely unsustainable, particularly with the use of glossy films covering paper. The good news is, 75% of consumers believe in living an ethical/sustainable lifestyle and this mindset is driving change.

After such a successful trip, we are already excited for Packaging Innovations 2019, with the aim to exhibit next year!

Not to forget, we thoroughly enjoyed the free tasting of Artic Blue Gin from Finland after a long day on our feet at the exhibition! 

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Welcome Our Intern!

We are excited to welcome a new face to our office, our marketing and communications intern, Lara Winnington-Ingram!

For the next six months, Lara will be working on all internal marketing initiatives, so keep an eye out for her on our social media channels, emails, and blog posts!

Lara is in her final year of studies in Marketing Management at Edinburgh Napier University, where she is writing her dissertation on sustainability in a marketing context. On her first day in the office, we had the chance to learn a little bit more about her, and we’d love to share a small part of her story with you.

  1. How did you hear about Alterwaste and why did you want to get involved? 

I recently finished my work placement in Berlin with Uhlala and told myself I would take a year off from internships to focus on my fourth year of university and write my dissertation, on the topic of sustainability. When I came across the internship position at Alterwaste on LinkedIn and realised that it matched up perfectly with my career aspirations and dissertation topic, so I thought that it would be silly not to apply.

2. What does sustainability mean to you?

It isn’t all about wearing bamboo socks and keeping worms in your kitchen. It’s just about paying attention to our environment, being aware and making small changes to our everyday lives to reduce the unnecessary amount of waste that we produce every day.

3. Do you do anything in your everyday life to contribute to sustainability? 

I am passionate about local produce and the notion of “nature to plate” in the kitchen. A term The Eggshell Project brings a whole new (literal) meaning to! I was lucky enough to be brought up growing my own food and educated on the topic of sustainability. Although it can be difficult to be sustainable as a student, I try my best to buy from supermarkets that stock local and regional produce. The community greengrocer DigIn, in Bruntsfield, is my favourite in Edinburgh.

4. How do you think Scotland is doing with sustainability? 

Having lived in Berlin for the past 6 months, I think Scotland has a long way to go! Berlin’s attitude towards a general environmental change for good is something that Scotland could learn from. The city’s returnable bottle policy, bicycle and public transport culture, 900km2 of green space, eco supermarkets and plant-based cafes all inspired me to come back to Scotland with a more sustainable mindset. It’s startups like Alterwaste that are bringing the environmental change that Scotland needs.

5. Are there any other sustainable products/services currently out there? 

The first thing that came to mind is Too Good To Go. It’s a free app that tackles food waste. Instead of restaurants throwing away their unsold food, they put it up on the app at a reduced price for users to pick up! Food is usually available when restaurants are closing, so it’s great for students who have been stuck in the library all day. It makes you feel a bit better about getting a takeaway!

6. How do you think marketing and sustainability can become more connected? 

More marketing and outreach is needed to promote sustainability and show that broader topics such as “green”, “recycle”, “renewable”, “ethical”, “conscious” and “environmentally friendly” are all part of sustainability. So many people are confused by the “S” word and it needs to be defined more clearly through marketing.

7. What are you hoping to get from this internship?

I want to work with a purpose and I know that working with Alterwaste is going to give me that opportunity.

8. Tell us one fun fact about yourself:

I never wear odd socks. 

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SIE Fresh Ideas Winner 2018

FRESH IDEAS is Scotland’s longest running national student enterprise competition for ideas at an early stage. The competition is designed exclusively for students and recent graduates of all subjects.Our founder, Martina Zupan, applied for the competition as a recent graduate. 

The first round of the competition was split into monthly rounds, running over 4 months between October and January. 

The winners from the first round went on to attend the Exploration Day in February 2018, where all shortlisted candidates has a chance to develop their business ideas and prepare for the finals. The top 15 candidates were then chosen to pitch in front of a panel of judges in the final, in order to compete for cash prizes.  

With our eggshell material invention, we were successful in making it to top 15 and went off to pitch in Glasgow in March 2018.  All 15 finalists were invited to an awards dinner, where the winners were announced. There were 5 winners, receiving an award of £1,000 each and an additional 5 ideas were awarded with £500.

We were happy to announce that our business idea was one of 5 winners and we were absolutely delighted to have received the cash prize, to help us cover the costs of developing the business further.

It was a fantastic evening and we were delighted to have spent it amongst other influential entrepreneurs!

Meet the other winners of Fresh Ideas 2018!

Ana Betancourt & Gabrielle Haley, (University of Edinburgh)
Winning idea: A post-production sound & audio design company creating affordable solutions for creators.

Lauren Leisk, (Queen Margaret University graduate)
Winning idea: Freshly prepared IBS friendly convenience foods.

Michael McPhillimy, (University of Strathclyde graduate)
Winning idea: Customised high value milled golf putters, made in Scotland.

Lorenzo Conti, (University of Edinburgh)
Winning idea: An innovative remote probing device to give early detection of potential grain spoilage and help farmers reduce losses.

Listen to our interview about Fresh Ideas

Following our Fresh Ideas win, SIE director Fiona was hosted by BBC Radio Scotland where she talked about the fantastic work they do with the SIE. As a winner, Martina had the opportunity to join the interview. Click here to listen to the interview.

Listen from 2:54.07 to hear Martina chat about her expirience.

Happy listening!

ECCI Climate-KIC Accelerator Stage One

Climate-KIC Accelerator 1

Trying to build a low-carbon business is not an easy job. We are always on the lookout for any support available that can help us grow faster. One plave that we have been interested in for a while and have been hoping to get involved with is Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation.

At the beginning of 2018, ECCI had applications open for the European-wide Climate-KIC Accelerator Programme. This is a programme that helps startups turn their inventions into business plans and with the help of grant funding, business coaching and masterclasses it helps those businesses take their markets by storm.

And luckily for us, we applied and got in!


ECCI Climate-KIC Accelerator Stage One Group, 15/2/2018:
Martina Zupan from Alterwaste Ltd.
Photography for ECCI (Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation) from: Colin Hattersley Photography – – – 07974 957 388.


Seven other businesses or individuals were successful in getting into the Accelerator programme, and each of them aims to make our planet a better place in their own, fantastic way:

  • ApparelXchange aims to combat textile waste by reinventing the way we buy and use school uniforms.
  • Bespoke Fabrics are developing a range of bedding products that will combine the company’s expertise in good design, luxury, the circular economy and longevity.
  • One Cherry is a smartphone app that lets shoppers browse items from local charity shops from the comfort of their home, or on the move.
  • Kasey Hou aims to reduce electronic waste by creating products that are designed for repair, thus extending the lifespan of gadgets and avoiding reliance on unreliable recycling options.
  • SCORRES is an affordable smart irrigation product that provides ‘right-time, right-volume’ irrigation to crops.
  • WeeWash is a tiny portable dishwasher specifically designed for small households, saving water and energy.
  • uFraction8 technology address challenges in the bio-manufacturing industry by using microfluidics – the science of manipulating and controlling fluids – at scale as a liquid-particle processing technology.


ECCI Climate-KIC Accelerator Stage One Group, 15/2/2018:
Back row from left are Accelerator Stage One Group group members Dalimil Hajek, Anton Puzorjov and Daniela Gargya (all from One Cherry), Michael Shaw (SCORRES), Izzie Eriksen (ApparelXchange CIC), Joan Johnston (Bespoke Fabrics), Kasey Hou, Martina Zupan (Alterwaste Ltd), Brian Miller and Monika Tomeka from UFraction8, and Francisco Carreno with Pierre Guglielmi from Wee Wash.
Photography for ECCI (Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation) from: Colin Hattersley Photography – – – 07974 957 388.


You can read more about the businesses mentioned above over here:


We are very excited about the next few months. It will be hard work and very long days, but it will be more rewarding than ever. We are excited to work alongside very talented people who are changing the world and aim to support each other in the accelerator journey.
We will do our best to share our progress with you over here.

© Sandy young Photography 07970 268944
Scottish Edge Final - round 11.


Scottish EDGE Journey & Winning

Year 2017 was spectacular. After our business was formed we had to go and raise some money to help us establish the solid grounds of our business.

Scotland is great for offering a number of funding opportunities for startups and there was one particular we were very excited about – Scottish EDGE. It’s a Scottish wide competition for startups who can win up to £100,000 across 3 main categories.

This was our first time applying for a funding and we were very excited about it. And scared. The journey was full of mixed emotions. After the application was submitted and after a short wait we have received the results of the 1st assessment stage. When the email came through, the blood pressure went up to the upper limit as we were reading the following lines:

Your outcome results following the 1st Stage Assessments are shown below:

  • Scottish EDGE (including Higgs EDGE & Creative Awards) – Invited to Scottish EDGE Semi-Final;
  • Young EDGE – Invited to Young EDGE Final;


Waaaaaaaa!!!!! we were successful in not just 1 but 2 of the categories!


The Scottish EDGE Semi-Finals was the first of the 2 pitches. This was the first time that we’ve pitched live in front of the judges and we think it went really well, considering it was our first time. Unfortunately, we didn’t progress into the finals in this category as the competition was really tough and we were at such early stage that we just couldn’t compete with the rest of the fantastic businesses who just had it more figured out and were further along with their businesses. The judges were super lovely and gave us a great feedback which helped us strengthen our focus and work on improvements.

But there was another pitch coming up – the Young EDGE. And we felt really good about this one. It turns out, for a good reason. A day after the pitch, an email came through saying:

Congratulations! I am absolutely thrilled to let you know that you have been selected as one of the winners of the Young EDGE competition.




Nothing else to add.


The funny thing is that Scottish EDGE asked us to record ourselves in those big moments like right before pitching, or right after, or when we opened the results, etc. to record our reactions. So I have decided to record opening the Young EDGE results email. I was actually in the middle of the work at a university and had to pop out of the office for that. Of course, I wanted to open the email as fast as possible but needed to find a quiet room to record myself as I didn’t want to do it in the office full of people staring at me. I felt nervous enough already. I managed to find an empty classroom and I could FINALLY open the email and see the results.
Right next to this classroom there was another office on one side and a meeting room with people inside on the other side. I knew I couldn’t have any loud reactions, so when I opened the email and read the GREAT news, I had to express my excitement in super excited and at the same time quiet way. If you are curious how that looked like, you check my reaction here.

We didn’t actually know how much money we have won before the Awards ceremony happened and we were eggstatic to hear then we have won all £10,000 we have applied for. And so did my dear friend Sydney Chasin with her Lil’pops and you can see it on our faces we could not be happier!

© Sandy young Photography 07970 268944
Scottish Edge Final – round 11.


And the whole Young EDGE bunch in one photo, the youngest of the competition:

© Sandy young Photography 07970 268944
Scottish Edge Final – round 11.


The one thing that makes me so excited and proud of what Scottish EDGE do is that there isn’t just one winner, but there are MANY business they help significantly in each round and they honestly change lives of many.

© Sandy young Photography 07970 268944
Scottish Edge Final – round 11.