While working in a marketing and advertising role in the construction industry, social entrepreneur Reiss Salustro noticed a problem. He saw the amount of reusable materials that get wasted, while local community projects struggled to findmaterials to complete projects.
The construction and demolition industry is the largest contributor to waste in the UK, generating 120 million tonnes of waste a year. Along with his business partner, Reiss began brainstorming and researching solutions that could enable and encourage the reuse of these materials and Enviromate was born.
It's early days for the venture, which has been running since August 2014, but we already admire Reiss for addressing such a pressing issue and for sheer dedication to get the company up and running while still working full-time in his 'day job'.
Tell us about Enviromate - what's your mission?
Enviromate is the home of construction reuse, for a sustainable, waste reducing and natural resource conscious industry at all levels.
What motivates you?
The future sustainability and longevity of our planet. Nigel, my friend and co-founder, and I believe that it is our choice and ours alone, that if we have a better system that promotes sustainability and environmental prosperity we must implement them immediately - such as the circular economy with industry and education individually.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Most certainly the ideation and then creation of the Enviromate brand - and its potential to change the thought process within one of the largest industries globally at all levels.
What are the challenges you face?
Being a new startup venture, completely self-funded by its founders whilst working fulltime has been a challenge. We are extremely passionate about not only our brand but the impact it can have on the environment and would love nothing more than to spend every minute of the day promoting and educating on the benefits of reuse and a circular construction industry at exhibitions etc. Working only evenings and weekends can be slightly restrictive.
What are you working on that's getting you fired up and excited?
The growth and development of Enviromate - every day there are new ideas and avenues to create an industry hub that promotes at all levels sustainable construction whilst our opportunity to create in the coming months an educational facility that transfers the knowledge gained for circular construction.
Where do you want to take Enviromate next?
We want Enviromate to become the industry go-to brand - not just in the UK but globally - reducing the burden on the planet's natural resources and the amount of reusable material that is sent to landfill.
We want to do this through collaboration with organisations on a similar path and mission. When it comes to the environment, circular economy and sustainability the core focus should be collaboration between organisations, not competition. Connecting brands to embrace sustainability whilst enhancing corporate social responsibility is key.
What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference?
Make the change today, in any way possible - any effort great or small has an impact on our environment. As a consumer or corporation we have the choice to proactively promote sustainable living and business - if something can be reused in its current form then we should reuse it if not only then should we recycle. The transition away from landfill should be immediate. We all can play a part.
If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would be the first thing you'd do?
I would implement sustainability, environmental educational curriculum into all schools to educate future generations, whilst imposing stricter regulations on organisations that do not adhere to sustainability legislation.
What's the coolest project/product you've come across?
A few we have been really inspired by - David de Rothschild's Plastiki -a catamaran made from 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles sailed from San Francisco to Sydney to raise awareness for plastic waste in our oceans.
Also Brighton Waste House - Europe's first permanent public building made almost entirely from material thrown away or not wanted.
Can you recommend a life-changing book for our readers?
A book that does both and has really assisted me, my thought process and unlocking so much creativity over the last year given to me by my business partner - The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma (A modern fable on real success in business and in life). I fully recommend taking a read, it has helped me unlock and transform my personal life and the world around me.
What do you listen to when you're cooking dinner?
Usually when my partner is cooking it's the smoke alarm! Myself, I prefer a little Italian music getting those creative juices flowing and instill that into the food I am making.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
I always, repeatedly refer back to two quotes that keep me motivated ...
"Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor""Don't become a prisoner of your past, become an architect of your future".
Can you leave us with who'd be your Eco Hero?
Numerous really I couldn't say one as there are some amazing individuals and organisations doing great work - individuals like Ellen MacArthur, David Rothschild, environmentally passionate people have inspired us to create Enviromate. But ultimately both founders believe that we all have the opportunity to become our own eco heroes - to do our own bit on whatever scale to live sustainable lives.
Find out more on the Enviromate website and follow @Enviromateuk on Twitter or Facebook.