Lise Nicolas is a young French entrepreneur with the aim of tackling climate change by helping companies that are willing to ﬁnd and implement new sustainable solutions. She leads M. & Mme Recyclage start-up which provides information about plastic and plastic recycling. Lisa’s ambition is to break the myth around plastic recycling and change the consumption of plastics, specially in the packaging ﬁeld, which represents 40% of plastic production.
1. Could you tell us about your professional background and why you chose to focus your career on recycling sector?
I did my ﬁrst steps in the recycling sector through MINIWIZ, a Taiwan-based architecture, and design company that uses recycled plastic inside its projects. I joined them to led the development of an open-access recycled materials database. To help designers and architects to select the best plastic trash for their project regarding their properties. The purpose of the database is to address the disparity between sustainability, recycling, eco-consciousness, and the bleak market reality around its lack of ﬁnancially feasible applications. We wanted to show the world the unlimited potential of trash by taking recycled material to the highest form of product engineering. Then I join the R&D team and initial conception of the Trashpresso recycling units. The Traspresso is a mobile and solar plastic waste semi-industrial recycling plant. It currently turns plastic trash into products. The highlight of this project was a recycling trip in a remote Tibetan area with National Geographic and Jackie Chan, but that was also when I realized that plastics manufacturers were using the recycling scheme as a parade to legitimize the disposable packaging.
2. Which is your main role at M. & Mme. Recyclage?
My main role is to provide information without ﬁnancial drive interests about plastic and plastic recycling. To help companies that are willing to go forwards ﬁnd new sustainable solutions. Meanwhile, I also have to share my knowledge about waste recycling reality and ﬁght against greenwashing. In a world where the quantity of single-use plastic waste is constantly increasing, everyone must have quick and free access to the necessary knowledge to develop a critical mind and participate in environmental sustainability. My ambition is to break the myth around plastic recycling that exonerates all players (not just the consumer). We need to change our consumption of plastics, specially in the packaging ﬁeld, which represents 40% of plastic production.
3. What kind of services does it provide?
We are a consulting R&D ﬁrm on environmental and recycling problematics. Anyone can beneﬁt from our expertise in the following ﬁelds: recycling, plastics, bioplastics, ecotoxicity, construction of recycling machines, and recycling plants implementation.
- to support companies in their strategic directions of R&D and
- the construction and improvement of recycling
- to provide support on the search for recycled materials, suppliers, collection ..
- research on recyclability, biodegradability, and the source of materials through scientiﬁc articles and technical
- tailor-made training within your
- scientiﬁc mediation through different channels: infographics, videos, texts… and
2. How does your project contribute to the environment?
Scientiﬁc illiteracy is socially constructed. That is why some people do not question their consumption of plastic or that we are witnessing “plastic bashing” (without dissociating ﬁelds such as medicine or transportation). My project responds to social-technical issues where the engineer is a crucial link in technical democracy. We wish to support a social demand for citizen participation concerning the main technical orientations (such as the circular economy bill). To be independent and free of machinery, to base my reﬂection on technics only and without any drive interest.
3. Which was the main challenge you faced to launch your own business project?
The biggest challenge that we faced and are still facing is that we need to educate people on what is really happening in the recycling industry and what is ﬁnancially and logistically feasible.
Ignorance about plastic management should stop. It leads to poor and polarized debates and wrong political decisions. For example, the plastic ban where people turned to cardboard instead of rethinking the usage: do we NEED this packaging. Another huge challenge is that one of the reasons for plastic recycling opacity is due to the opposite of interests of actors of the recycling scheme ( collectivity, plastics manufacturers, recyclers, incinerators,…). To be sure to base our work only on technic, and without any drive interest, we didn’t ﬁnd a way to ﬁnance the vulgarisation part of our work, so we are using our savings generated by our consulting ﬁrm to back our work.
4. Could you tell us more about the Precious Plastic France Association?
Precious Plastic France is an association that federates and supports the ecosystem of French actors working to reduce plastic pollution and claiming to be part of a global community of small local plastic recyclers. Precious Plastic France aims to develop local recycling workshop. To reduce a maximum of plastics which were supposed to ﬁnish in nature, incinerators or landﬁlls.
5. Do you have any young talent that inspired your career?
I have a lot of interest in the work and career of Jean-Marc Jancovici (The shift Project president), Aurélien Barrau ( Physicist & Philosopher) and Etienne Klein (Research director of CEA). I am still inspired today by their projects. On a different style, i am also a hudge fan of Orelsan’s career a french rap artist.