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.
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.