Founder & CEO, Alterwaste Ltd.
Mon, 3 June 2019
Where did the idea come from?
Martina Zupan was pursuing a degree in Product Design at Edinburgh Napier University when she cracked it. While making scrambled eggs one morning, it occurred to her that the eggshells she was about to bin were tough, lightweight and eco-friendly…and yet in 2016, more than 17,000 tonnes of eggshell waste were disposed of in landfill.
This moment of inspiration developed into the basis of Martina’s degree project. She formulated a material from powdered eggshells that could be used to make disposable cutlery and tableware, offering a solution to the by-product waste and an ideal sustainable alternative to plastics.
The next steps…
Martina’s innovative product quickly garnered attention. With support from Napier’s Bright Red Triangle she founded Alterwaste Ltd to develop and promote products based on her eggshell material. In 2017 she entered and won Round 11 of the YoungEDGE competition, and advanced through the early rounds of SIE’s Fresh Ideas Competition to an overall victory in March 2018.
The same month, she was accepted onto ECCI’s 18-month Climate-KIC Accelerator scheme to develop her startup for commercial markets. Thanks to these early funding boosts and a wealth of expert guidance, Alterwaste Ltd went on to collect even more awards as the company grew – including another win in round 12 of ScottishEDGE, the Bright Red Sparks ‘Business for Good’ award, and a victory in the Shell Livewire Smarter Future competition.
Where are they in 2019?
In January, Alterwaste Ltd secured 2nd place in the 2018/19 Innovator Launchpad competition, they were shortlisted for Converge Challenge and Martina made it to the final 6 of the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Competition.
Martina’s innovative eggshell material is now being promoted and is to be licensed as a sustainable alternative to plastic across industries from construction to cosmetics. As a result of her success, Martina is a regular speaker at enterprise and entrepreneurship events across Scotland.