Hi there! My name is Jon, I am a 24 year old Englishman with a background in biomedical science and a passion for sustainability, both in my personal life and my work. I started at Ecoras in January 2021, and dove straight into the world of bioplastics, and more specifically PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates). I’m currently working to help enable the production of PHA in the North of the Netherlands, and stimulate a market for the material, with emphasis on the reuse of waste resources and recycling of material, to create a circular economy in which PHA forms the proverbial ‘missing link’. If you happen to see me outside work, I’ll likely be working on a craft project be that sewing, woodwork, or making jewellery, or I’ll be playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Why did you choose circular biobased economy?
Circularity is something that I have been trying to implement in my life for a while now, from reusing bedsheets and curtains in my sewing projects, to trying to grow fruit trees out of apple seeds from the supermarket. And this is all very well, but doing things like this on a personal level aren’t going to change the economy as a whole…that happens on a business level. So when I got the opportunity to work on developing circular economies as part of my work at Ecoras, I jumped at the chance.
What developments within circular biobased economy interest you?
The increasing development of the mindset of circularity gives me hope that we are beginning to make the necessary shift towards a more sustainable economy, and this will hopefully be followed up by ever more innovations. As for specific developments, I think at the moment the most interesting one for me is PHA, because of the opportunities it presents. A plastic that can be made from waste by bacteria, that can be used in the same myriad of ways that we are using currently available plastics, can be recycled time and again, and that is broken down by the same bacteria that made it at the end of its lifetime…we can do great things with this!
What do you hope the economy will look like in 10-20 years?
I hope, in a way that we return to an earlier way of regarding and using the resources available to us, coupled with a modern perspective and technology. The old way of thinking: that every material we harvest, or product we make should be used and reused to its maximum potential at every step. A piece of cloth would have been a garment, then used to repair other clothing, then torn up for bandages, then used as a wash rag, then shredded for stuffing material, and only after all that would it be thrown into the fire to create warmth. Couple this with the modern perspective and technology that we have available, and the piece of cloth doesn’t even end up in the fire, it can be broken down and reused as feedstock to create a new piece of cloth that can start the cycle all over again. That is what I hope our economy will evolve into, at all levels.