From coffee grounds to body scrub – Sweden's first circular skincare brand
In Sweden, we consume about 7.5 kilos of coffee per person per year, which equates to about two and a half cups per day, making Sweden one of the most coffee-drinking countries in the world. By extending the life cycle of coffee, Go Circulär’s skincare products contribute not only to the circular economy but also to reducing the carbon footprint of skincare products.
Originally from Spain, Irene Atance applied in 2019 to the master’s programme Leadership for Sustainability at Malmö University. With a background in retail and a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Nutrition from the University of Copenhagen, Irene became more interested in the circular economy during her time at Malmö University.
"With today's climate challenges, we need to rethink our systems and maximize our limited resources. During my studies at Malmö University, I learned more about the circular economy, which inspired me to start a project to upcycle coffee grounds from local businesses in Lund," says Irene Atance, founder and CEO of Go Circular.
During her studies, Irene's idea of upcycling coffee grounds was awarded the Leapfrogs scholarship from Malmö University, which gave her the opportunity and financial means to test and develop her idea. Irene deepened her knowledge of upcycling coffee grounds and their beneficial effects on the skin. With the help of Drivhuset, Almi and Malmö University's innovation unit, Irene received advice and financial support to develop a prototype and validate her idea.
In Malmö, there is an incredible start-up ecosystem that encourages people to pursue their dreams.
Despite having no financial capital or network, Irene registered Go Cirkulär AB in November 2020 pursuing her dream and transforming her idea into reality. After more than half a year of working on the product development and building the brand, Go Cirkulär’s Upcycled Body Scrub was finally launched in May 2021.
"I’m not only happy that our products offer a sustainable alternative for our customers, but I’m also excited to be able to collaborate with local cafes that share the vision that we need to use our resources more efficiently," says Irene.
Irene has since developed more circular products and the company now has a body scrub, body oil and a facial serum in its upcycled coffee product line. In addition, she continues to develop the circular experience of her products further with a newly developed packaging solution, made from seaweed that can be composted at home.
Irene's journey has been far from smooth and getting to where she is today has never been a given outcome.
"In Malmö, there is an incredible start-up ecosystem that encourages people to pursue their dreams regardless of their socioeconomic status or background. This has helped me with the decision to start my new career path and ultimately become an entrepreneur."
Irene has received several awards and this year she is nominated for “HMK Carl XVI Gustafs pris Årets Nybyggare” and her Upcycled Scrub is nominated for the Nordic Natural Beauty Awards. Today, Go Cirkulär is part of the Medeon incubator and next year the products will be marketed outside Sweden.