George Foot (Cove)
Award: May's Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award
According to the Nature Research journal1, around eight million tonnes of shell waste, such as waste prawn and scallop shells, is produced every year. This natural resource is difficult and expensive to dispose of, with 60% of all shell waste in the UK going to landfill, and 20% returning to the ocean.
Cambridge University PhD student, George Foot, believes he has hit on a modern and sustainable new use for waste shells. Founded in early 2016, Cove recycles waste seashells into a high-end exfoliant for use in cosmetic products. The model is simple: Cove collects seashells from local seafood producers and cleans them to remove any remaining soft tissue and bacteria. The shells are then ground into particle sizes of 1-2mm to create a natural exfoliant.
Cove’s product also has the added benefit of being a low-cost replacement for microbeads: tiny pieces of plastic that are added to everyday cosmetic products, such as face washes. Microbeads present a significant environmental challenge as wastewater treatment facilities aren’t able to filter them out before they reach the ocean, which causes serious water pollution. In September 2016, the government pledged to ban the use of microbeads in the UK, following reports that they were toxic to marine organisms.4
George Foot of Cove.
Elevator Pitch Video
You can watch Cove's elevator pitch video again in the video player in the top right-hand corner of this page.