Arca is a collaborative research project led by the University of Exeter Business School, in partnership with Truro & Penwith College.
We ran workshops and courses to support Cornish SMEs to transition to the circular economy. We combine the latest business research with the hands-on experience of local entrepreneurs to deliver practical and engaging training programmes.
The project is part-funded through the European Social Fund (part of the European Strategic Investment Framework for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly).
Led by a team of experts from the University of Exeter’s Business School, our training programmes are rooted in the latest business and sustainability research.
We work closely with local businesses already working in the circular space – from designers and engineers to farmers and scientists. We understand the challenges of putting the circular economy into practice.
This insight and expertise enables us to adapt to your business needs, supporting you in your transition to the circular economy.
In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and throw them away as waste. Whether they end up as landfill or in an incinerator, the waste created by our current use and discarding of products is fast becoming insupportable. While recycling has gone some way to mitigate the issue, ‘recycled’ waste often makes its way to the same places. This system – the ‘take – make – waste’ system – is known as the linear economy.
The circular economy offers a way to break free of this cycle.
In a circular economy, the ‘waste’ stage is intentionally designed-out of the lifecycle of a product, preventing it from being produced in the first place. Instead, products and materials are designed to last and are kept in circulation in the economy, eliminating waste and pollution.
The circular economy has the power to remedy damage already done to the environment by regenerating nature, creating a fresh approach to using our resources, and actively seeking to deliver social justice.
The circular economy is a practical solution to global grand challenges of the 21st Century: climate change, biodiversity loss and resource scarcity.
Traditional business models focus on taking raw materials from the Earth, making a product, and eventually throwing that product away as waste. This linear model is known as the ‘take-make-waste’ system. The circular economy offers a fresh approach that seeks to eliminate waste, circulate products, regenerate nature and deliver social justice.
The transition to the circular economy is already well underway across the globe.
Here are just a few examples of innovative and exciting companies and projects already pioneering the circular economy space:
Cornish Lithium is a pioneering mineral exploration & development company focused on the environmentally responsible extraction of lithium in the historic mining district of Cornwall.
The Ellen MacArthur foundation develops and promotes the idea of a circular economy, working with businesses, academia, policymakers, and institutions across the globe.
Falmouth-based company Chocolarder creates bean-to-bar chocolate using ethically sourced cacao beans, which are transported to the UK by sailboat. This video is about their collaboration with Gylly Beach Café.
Fairphone is the only smartphone manufacturer to use Fairtrade gold and is also B-Corp certified. The phone is made to last and to be easy to repair, with their business model focused on addressing global environmental and social issues.
ArcMarine creates products for the marine renewable energy sector made from Marine Crete®, a carbon-neutral, non-toxic concrete alternative made up almost entirely (98%) of waste products from clay mining!
Bennamann captures methane emissions from slurry pits on dairy farms, turning the methane into biofuel which can be used to power generators or vehicles, offering a clean substitute for fossil fuels.
About Planetary Boundaries - “What is the safe operating space for humanity on Planet Earth?” These suggested limits act as guardrails to keep us a safe distance from catastrophic tipping points.
Green&Blue use recycled china clay waste to manufacture the ‘Bee Brick’.
The bricks are made from 75% recycled materials & help to eliminate waste whilst providing a home for wildlife.
Porthleven-based company Flexi-hex have created an innovative and thoughtfully designed packaging solution: the Flexi-Hex® sleeve. A patented honeycomb design made from paper that helps protect your products and our planet.
Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees and supports regenerative farming projects around the world.
Ecosia is climate-negative, not just climate neutral, and are also a private search engine.
Circular&Co. Founder, Dan Dicker explains what the 'circular economy' means.
Circular&Co creates products including reusable cups and bottles, out of single-use waste.
Built by the community, for the community, Newquay Orchard helps local people to get outdoors, be part of a community & learn new skills. This can be beneficial to their mental & physical health.
Reducing food waste is an effective method to tackle climate change.
OLIO, the food sharing app, enables you to share food & confront one of the biggest environmental problems of our time.
Oltco have created the world’s first recycled driveway solution which uses waste plastic already in circulation.
This is used in the Eden Project Biomes & utilised the equivalent of 255,000 straws.
Penryn-based company Skinflint sources and restore unique and historic vintage lights; manufactured between 1920 to 1970, and utilised in a variety of industrial environments.