HaPPE Earth is committed to reducing single use plastics in the medical industry with CE approved compostable alternatives.
The programme is Ireland’s leading sustainability programme designed to scale-up companies who are developing products and services based on green innovation in response to climate action and sustainability challenges.
“Our aim is to bring together medical grade functional compostables with an SDG measurement tool, along with a compostable waste solution, anaerobic digestion”
The current cohort of businesses employ over 70 people with turnover of more than €5m.
The eight start-ups will be at the upcoming Accelerate Green conference entitled ‘Ireland’s Sustainable Future’ on 1 June 2023 at the Tullamore Court Hotel. Click here to learn more.
HaPPE has designed an innovative, fully compostable, medical grade apron using bioplastics as sustainable alternative for healthcare providers. The single use apron disappears in approximately eight weeks and was a winner in the 2022 Health Innovation Hub Ireland awards. Currently only 10% of global healthcare waste is recycled. If the Irish health service removed single use plastic aprons, it would mean a reduction in plastic waste of 500 tons of plastic each year.
Solving plastic pollution
“It’s becoming very clear to us all that we are facing a crisis with it comes to plastic production and pollution,” said Lisa O’Riordan, co-founder of HaPPe. “We believe all communities must come together to address it. Here at HaPPE we are committed to doing our part and we are tackling it by reducing single use plastics in the medical industry with CE approved compostable alternatives. Our first product we have designed and created is a fully approved compostable single use apron. The HaPPE apron.”
She explained that HaPPE Earth champions sustainability and the circular economy. “Our aim is to bring together medical grade functional compostables with an SDG (Sustainability Development Goal) measurement tool, along with a compostable waste solution, anaerobic digestion.
“Currently we use approximately 50m single-use aprons in Ireland alone year on year, we believe that when there is a viable compostable alternative to single-use LDPE (low density polyethylene) plastic then we must remove the use of this plastic and replace with compostable single use products.”
The HaPPE apron is made from HaPPE’s Proprietary Resin composed of an innovative family of compostable bioplastics that have been developed over the past twenty-five years.
- It matches all the safety parameters of current LDPE single use aprons.
- CE approved
- Class I medical devices Medical Device Regulation (EU) 2017/745(MDR)
- With optimal composting- aprons disappear in approximately 8 weeks compared with up to 50 years for LDPE plastic in landfill.
Dr Mary O’Riordan
HaPPe’s co-founders are Dr Mary O’Riordan, Lisa O’Riordan and David O’Riordan.
Dr Mary O’Riordan is a clinical advisor with more than 20 years’ experience in medicine, specialising in highly infectious emerging threats preparedness and response. Lisa O’Riordan is an entrepreneur and business owner with more than 20 years’ experience in events industry logistics and apparel manufacturing. David O’Riordan is an instrument/mechanical engineer with an in-depth background in managing business and technical change projects, in mission critical environments.
Mary and Lisa, two cousins who had not seen each other since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, finally had the chance to catch up. As they discussed the prospects of life returning to ‘normal’, Lisa expressed her concern about the environmental consequence of the widespread use of the single-use plastics. Dr Mary understood the importance of PPE but also recognised the challenge of finding a sustainable solution.
With Lisa’s entrepreneurial spirit and Mary’s extensive knowledge and understanding of the healthcare system. The idea of compostable PPE was born.
They knew that promoting the concept would be a massive undertaking but they were determined to champion the cause. They advocate for sustainability in healthcare, hoping to set an example for others to follow.
They know the initiative contributes to huge volumes of plastic waste being removed but they also want to demonstrate the power of individuals creating positive change in the world.
“We feel incredibly supported in all aspects, from the networking events organised by the GEC and Accelerator Green to the invaluable advice provided by experienced entrepreneurs who have walked the path before us,” said Lisa O’Riordan.
“We also have received assistance in areas that we weren’t familiar with, this enabled us to be more effective and aligned in executing long terms plans. Furthermore, we have received some pre-seed financial support that will be instrumental to us achieving our goals.”
The business has been successful in raising pre-seed funding with Enterprise Ireland and is currently in negotiations with private investors.
Reflecting on the start-up journey so far, Lisa said: “We wouldn’t necessarily describe our experience as having made mistakes, as we’ve been fortunate to receive guidance whenever we’ve needed assistance. However, we’ve certainly realised that there are numerous areas that require proficiency beyond the core aspects of our business. For instance , understanding the intricacies of the investment process, keeping us with relevant legislation and navigating the complex manufacturing and distribution channels are just a few examples of the additional skills and knowledge required to run a successful enterprise.
“We are fortunate to belong to such a great community. It’s important to remind ourselves to go for it, taking all the advice we receive into considering, but ultimately trusting our instincts. It’s easy to get side tracked from our goals, and setbacks can be discouraging, but we must remain determined.”
She concluded: With perseverance and a positive attitude, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve our objectives. Remember where there is a will, this is a way!”
Main image at top: HaPPe co-founders Lisa O’Riordan and Dr Mary O’Riordan.
To learn more about attending the Accelerate Green conference ‘Ireland’s Sustainable Future 2023 on 1 June at the Tullamore Court Hotel click here