While pursuing their master’s degrees at Wageningen University and Research, and closely studying the concept of circularity and circular economy, the founders of Ephora recognized that businesses were struggling to implement the principles of circularity within their existing business models. A few traditional consultancies exist within the space, but Ephora wanted to be different in helping tackle the many obstacles businesses face when it comes to change.
Ephora began its journey with a specialty coffee importer as our very first customer. This customer was facing a challenging dilemma at the end of its supply chain--when coffee beans were imported into the Netherlands, a substantial amount of waste is generated and sent to incineration; large, multi-layered plastic bags and mixed-material jute bags. This particular customer recognized there was further value in the material resources they were sending away, and so our partnership began! Ephora helped by finding new pathways for creating value for the material that was otherwise labeled “waste.”
Given this experience, Ephora has focused on finding circular alternatives for bulk-food packaging from imports. The Netherlands, along with many countries around the world, rely heavily on imported food products. The packaging required to safely transport products across long distances is an essential service and therefore cannot be undermined. Given the large quantity and reliance on plastic packaging, Ephora took this challenge as an opportunity to push limits and find alternative uses, scalable solutions, and additional value in the plastic import bags.