From biodegradable bags to carbon capture: Bupa funds 18 sustainability-focussed startups

Pictured: Cromwell Hospital, London

The multinational health business has named the global cohort of startups ahead of an event in London next month, whereby each will be able to showcase their innovations to potential investors and to professionals working at Bupa.

Several of the startups have been founded in an attempt to tackle waste in the healthcare space and beyond. For example, British firm Upcycled Medical exists to scale the use of recycled post-consumer PET plastic in the production of scrubs, gowns and other clothing used in medial settings.

Also selected by Bupa is Cassava Bags, from Australia. This startup has developed a biodegradable alternative to plastic bags, using polymers made from the starches naturally found in cassava root. These bags can dissolve in boiling water within minutes, without leaving microplastic particles.

Tech to tackle emissions  

Decarbonisation is another focus area of the eco-Disruptive programme. The business is backing UK-based Leap, which provides onsite biowaste management technologies that enables businesses to transform their food waste into energy and fertiliser.

It is also supporting SageTech Medical, which exists to enable the capture and reuse of anaesthetic gases that would otherwise have gone to waste. Anaesthetic gases have a potent global warming potential.

Elsewhere, eco-Disruptive will support British carbon removal innovator UNDO. UNDO spreads fine basalt rock particles, a by-product of the mining industry, on land. When the land becomes wet, the rock particles mineralise, capturing CO2. UNDO has also garnered support from Microsoft.

Each of the 18 startups will receive £25,000. One will receive a total of £200,000 following a competition. They will additionally receive practical support, networking opportunities and the chance to trial and scale their solutions at Bupa locations. For example, Cromwell Hospital in London has already tested SageTech Medical’s technology.

“This goes beyond financial support and involves our own people joining forces with their development team in order to help co-create,” explained Bupa Group chief executive Iñaki Ereño.

edie recently interviewed  Bupa’s chief sustainability and people officer, Nigel Sullivan, alongside SageTech Medical’s chief executive Iain Menneer, for a special episode of the #SustyTalks podcast. This episode provides a deeper dive into eco-Disruptive and provides advice for those looking to launch or improve their own green innovation schemes. Listen here.

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