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Spotlight on the sustainability of fashion and beauty in Iceland

Elon Musk X Prize finalist Carbfix is ​​currently running pilot projects in Italy, Portugal, Turkey and the United States, with a new site set to mineralize half of Iceland’s emissions by 2030. The company is testing whether sea ​​water could be used instead of fresh water. water, meaning plants could go offshore, using the abundant basalt rock from the world’s ocean floor. The process is significantly cheaper than other carbon offset tools such as carbon credits for businesses, costing $25 per tonne instead of the expected $11-215 per tonne by 2030, according to Bloomberg NEF.

As Carbfix works on mineralizing CO2, its partners are finding new ways to capture it. At the same site, the Swiss company Climeworks has a direct air capture (DAC) installation, which takes CO2 from the ambient atmosphere and mineralizes it with Carbfix or transforms it into consumer products with customers ( examples to date include lab diamonds and backpacks). Iceland is ripe for this technology due to geothermal energy, abundance of basalt and political will to scale solutions, says Julie Gosalvez, CMO of Climeworks, formerly of Kenzo and Gucci Beauty . So far, Climeworks has given Stripe, Shopify and Microsoft access to the Carbfix process. It raised $650 million in its funding round in April, co-led by Partners Group and GIC.

“That’s no way to justify the status quo,” says Guðnason. “But, it would be impossible to achieve our climate goals just by stopping new emissions. We need to eliminate the emissions that have already been produced.

pure north

It’s not just Carbfix that seeks to partner with the biggest environmental offenders. Founded in 2016, Pure North’s sorting, deposit and recycling system aims to prevent Icelandic plastic waste from being exported, landfilled or burned. Its new app allows consumers to scan plastic packaging – from Skyr yoghurt pots to Coca Cola bottles – and see how to recycle them, in exchange for financial incentives. He estimates that an average family could earn between €2 and €3,000 per year.

Pure North managing director Sigurdur Halldorsson at the company’s plastic recycling plant.

Photo: Pure North

Pure North uses Iceland’s renewable geothermal energy to power mechanical plastic recycling, claiming to use 40% less energy, 40% less water and producing 82% less CO2 emissions than regular plastic recycling. plastic, which rests on cold water. On a large scale, Pure North plans to find other sources of waste heat to power its recycling systems, starting with Veitur Utilities, Iceland’s largest utility company, and progressing to 23,000 heat sources. waste she has identified across Europe, including an aluminum plant and cooling water. from data centers.

To succeed, Pure North needs packaging producers to change too, by simplifying packaging to a single type of infinitely recyclable plastic, says managing director Sigurdur Halldorsson. “We have to solve the whole chain, from producer to consumer and recycler.”

Bella Webb, the author, traveled to Iceland courtesy of 66°North.

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