Student entrepreneurs Ellenor McIntosh and Alborz Bozorgi are using their invention – Twipes – to tackle Britain’s environmental issues around ‘flushable’ wet wipes and possibly save taxpayers millions of pounds each year.
Twipes is a chemical free ‘biodegradable’ wet wipes, which dissolves in water within three hours and fits into existing toilet rool holders.
The environmentally-friendly innovation acts as an alternative to the current ‘flushable’ wet wipes, which is blocking sewers, polluting beaches and costing UK taxpayers £88m a year to clean up.
A survey of UK beaches by the Marine Conservation Society in 2015 found nearly 50 wet wipes per kilometre of coastline, a rise of 400% over the last decade.
The founders of Twipes aim to re-invent the future of toilet paper with their wood-pulp based invention.
Ellenor and Alborz are student graduates from City, University of London, and were recently named as this year’s winner of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur student competition for their invention.
The competition encourages London student entrepreneurs to find new ways of making the capital more sustainable and carbon emission free.
The young inventors share their startup story with us:
The Spark Behind ‘Twipes’?
Alborz: The idea came about when a mutual friend approached us and asked why no one had ever made wet wipes that come on a roll. I had worked on some previous start-ups prior to Twipes, so I knew that this was a really viable business opportunity.
Ellenor: The spark then came with my passion for both the environment and my background in biomedical science. When our friend approached us with the idea, that wet wipes couldn’t be flushed, I thought how can we make a wipe that could fully disperse.
When Did You Develop The Idea and The Launch Date?
Ellenor: Twipes started in the summer of 2015.
Alborz: But it has been a long and complicated development process. We are now aiming to finalise manufacturing within the next few weeks, so the launch will be very soon.
Why The Interest In The Environmental Industry?
Ellenor: My own personal interest in the environment stemmed from working in industries that have a strong eco message. Our startup works by preventing the blockages that traditional wet wipes cause because the current “flushable” wipes are just a marketing gimmick. They cause sewer blockages, wash up on beaches and are a menace to the water ecology of the UK.
Alborz: We’ve been very fortunate to have other EU recognised climate bodies supporting us, including winning the UK’s Climate Launchpad competition last year and getting to the European finals of that competition in Estonia. We are currently a part of Birmingham’s CT4A Accelarator, which helps environmentally focussed businesses.
Been Crowned The 2017 Top Young Green Entrepreneurs?
Ellenor: Winning felt amazing. We got the validation and the endorsement from not only the Mayor of London but also from market leaders such as Jo Malone and Arthur Kay.
Alborz: Last year’s winners are now on one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists, alongside names such as Gareth Bale and A$AP Rocky. So I reckon we’re on the right track with winning this.
The Future Of Twipes?
Alborz: World domination. First boutique stores, then supermarkets, then total and utter global domination (laughs).
Ellenor: On a more serious note, we want to start perfecting the cases and getting the design marks and moulds made. Further along, we want to adapt the Twipes technology for feminine hygiene products and nappies.