From waste to beautiful products – with Genia Mineeva

Interview - Genia Mineeva - podcast

Genia Mineeva is a former journalist who moved from covering politics and international affairs to communicating impact and campaigning. She went on to launch BEEN London after getting angry about waste which doesn’t get recycled.

In this episode Genia talks about creating fantastic and high quality handbags entirely from waste; the circular economy; her biggest challenges and achievements to date and some exciting future developments for BEEN London.

When Genia was told “we would recycle more if someone was buying the materials” the gauntlet was thrown. She researched, studied sustainability, tested and wouldn’t give up (even when it was hard as a startup to get potential partners to reply to her emails). Her products look the same (or much nicer!) than ordinary products; perform just as well – and have a real, measurable impact on the fashion industry by proving that waste can become beautiful, inside and out.

Here’s the podcast. Click the large arrow to play, or hover over the media player and click on the icon on the bottom right corner to download it. Or listen through SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts if you prefer.

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Listen to learn more about the fascinating processes turning tannery (leather) waste,  recycled plastic bottles and cotton into material for bags. BEEN London also uses a vegan leather made from apple peels and one made from pineapple leaves.

Genia isn’t shy to express her opinion on carbon offsetting, the idea that ‘growth is good’, the conflict between making products and sustainability, and effective impact measurement.

Collaboration and thoughtfulness about every aspect of the carbon footprint is central to BEEN London, as Genia describes, showing how waste can become beautiful bags, laptop cases and accessories which look amazing and solve a problem.

What next?

  • Heidi’s new book, out in Autumn 2020, shares everything she knows about impact measurement and management – and how to implement it in your organisation.
  • Get your copy first! Pre-order one of the limited number of hardback versions of
    Impact First – The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Measuring, Managing and Growing Your Impact. Please click here
  • Enjoyed the podcast? Listen to other episodes here
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  • And if you are interested in being interviewed and are from an existing social enterprise creating a proven impact, please contact presenter Heidi Fisher at Make An Impact CIC