New NCAD spin-out Obeo officially launched today

Obeo Ltd, a new spin-out company from the National College of Art and Design, co-founded by two female entrepreneurs, Kate Cronin and Elizabeth Fingleton, was formally launched today.

At its launch the company unveiled the Obeo compostable food waste box, a clever, yet simple way of separating food waste at home with no smells, no mess and no fuss in the kitchen.

The company also announced that Dunnes Stores is the first retailer to support the new product which sees the Obeo compostable food waste box go on sale in its stores nationwide today.

Obeo is a timely product with the average Irish household producing a quarter of a tonne of food waste annually. The Government has responded to this by introducing the new Household Food Waste Regulations that require the mandatory segregation of all household waste with food waste being disposed in brown bins and residual waste in black bins. This will be implemented through the phased roll-out of brown bins to all 1.2 million serviced households in Ireland by the end of 2016.

The Obeo compostable food waste box sits conveniently on a kitchen counter top and is filled with daily food waste such as; plate scrapings, vegetable peelings and tea bags.

Once full, after a 2-3 day period, the Obeo box along with its contents is placed directly into the brown bin and a new box is opened. This means no cleaning in the kitchen and a fresher brown bin.

Speaking at the launch Kate Cronin, co-founder, Obeo said, “Through our research we realised that current solutions for handling food waste did not solve the issues that customers have with their brown bins. We discovered that there was a gap in the market for a product like Obeo that removes the yuck factors from food waste recycling such as smells, flies and bin juice.”

She added, “We have been working on Obeo for the last 18 months, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, NCAD and NovaUCD, to bring our concept to market. This has resulted in a solution that’s not only well designed and easy-to-use but also convenient and affordable to the mass market and we are delighted that Dunnes Stores has decided to stock our product in stores nationwide."

The key to Obeo’s convenience is its design and materials used in its manufacture. Its wet strength paper stays strong when faced with moist food waste and the breathable paper fibres help to prevent any nasty smells. Obeo is made from certified compostable materials so it breaks down naturally along with the food waste in the composting facility without causing harm to the environment.

Looking to the future, Elizabeth Fingleton, co-founder of Obeo, said, "Our aim is to launch the Obeo product across Ireland and the UK before looking to the wider European market. In Ireland and the UK there are currently over 12 million households with a brown bin service, and this figure is steadily increasing. We plan to expand into the UK by the end of the year and we are currently in talks with a UK-based multiple.”

The co-founders of Obeo Ltd received commercialisation funding from Enterprise Ireland to develop their product to a market ready stage. This was facilitated by Origin8, the design innovation and commercialisation gateway, at NCAD, a recognised college of University College Dublin.
Obeo retails at €3.75 for a pack of five and is available now in Dunnes Stores outlets nationwide.

Click here for more information on Obeo.

Take the fuss out of food waste with Obeo from Obeo on Vimeo.