STAND Up!: Bäloop, a start-up revalorizing post-consumer textile and medical waste in Spain
“Our main objective is the revalorization of post-consumer textile waste from fashion and medical sector”. This is the first statement that Carla González, one of the six women behind Bäloop, shared with us. This start-up creates a 100% recycled material offering a sustainable alternative to virgin plastic. At the end of its life cycle, waste is managed and reintroduced into the value chain guaranteeing the circularity of the process.
Bäloop is one out of the four start-ups selected in Spain by the Textile Industry Confederation (TEXFOR). “With our product we cover business needs by offering a sustainable alternative with a recycled material which is versatile, attractive and has good mechanical performance”, adds González. At the moment, Bäloop has been able to create the so-called ‘B-One’, their first product consisting of the manufacture of rigid notebook covers.
“The textile is the second most polluting sector after the oil industry”, recognises the young entrepreneur. The large amount of waste generated by the textile and fashion industry is difficult to classify and that is the reason why new business models are demanded. Post-consumer textile waste, which is linked to the fast fashion consumption model and the single-use textile waste increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, present then a major challenge because the heterogeneity of their composition makes it difficult to recycle.
Carla, Virginia, Laura, Paloma, Ariadna and Helena are the young entrepreneurs behind this project. “Recycling textile waste makes it possible to convert it into a new raw material. In this way, textile sector can reintroduce the textile it generates into its value chain”, underlines González. On the social side, the project will also promote job creation in all areas offering decent jobs to people at risk of social exclusion.
How STAND Up! is supporting them?
The idea behind Bäloop arose as a result of the Recircula Challenge 2020 launched by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). In this challenge, they had to propose a solution to textile waste and were the winners of this edition. Monica Arduy, who is the Head of the Textile Engineering Division at UPC, sent the call for applications launched by STAND Up! in March 2021.
“The program was very enriching for us. We were able to keep contact with other entrepreneurs, seek synergies and do a lot of networking”, states González. She is proud that training sessions gave them the tools to focus much more on the initial idea and improve their business model. Sharam Yalda, their mentor, is helping the now throughout the incubation support phase in order to set up their sustainable business model.
Apart from supporting Bäloop on the business part, STAND Up! is focusing on the necessary steps to set them up as a start-up, as well as financial help with paperwork. At the moment, the six entrepreneurs are combining their studies and the project. “The beginnings are very hard, but each achievement will be very satisfying”, says González.