Cycling from Marseille to Athens touring circular economy solutions

Posted on 31 July 2018.

Discover "Cycle For Mediterranea", the adventure of two young French people leaving for a month-long bike ride to tour circular economy solutions in the Mediterranean.

In 2015, two young French men, Jules Coignard and Raphaël Masvigner, left for a 17 month world tour to meet up with circular economy entrepreneurs. When they returned to France two years later, they set up Circul’R, a social enterprise that connects circular economy start-ups with organizations, companies and local authorities that want to transform their model.
Now it’s time to pass the baton, and it's Stéphanie Talevis and Pierre Georgin - the first two Circul'R recruits – who will hit the road. On July 26, 2018, they will start from Marseille for a 1,000 kilometer bike ride to Athens. "Cycle for Mediterranea": a month-long Mediterranean tour of circular economy solutions!
How did this project come about? Stéphanie, of Franco-Greek descent, and Pierre, who used to spend childhood summers at his grandmother's home in Corsica, became aware of the problem of pollution in the Mediterranean at a very young age. Let’s not forget that "Mare Nostrum" is one of the most polluted seas in the world, with about 250 billion floating plastic particles.
"Eighty percent of the waste comes from the land," says Pierre. Which also means that solutions to reduce waste at source and prevent it ending up in the natural environment come from the land too. That's the whole principle of the circular economy which aims to turn one person’s waste into someone else’s resource.
"We decided we wanted to take advantage of our holidays to combine business and pleasure by meeting inspiring people who implement solutions with a positive impact for the planet. We aren’t focusing solely on start-ups, we’re also interested in projects led by local authorities, associations and of course citizens!" says Stéphanie.

25 projects to visit

The two young cyclists have set themselves the goal of visiting 25 projects. Although they have already identified most, they are also counting on the unexpected to discover other initiatives.
The main aim is to demonstrate that there are solutions to the problem of ocean pollution and that any of society’s actors can get involved. "Going out on the ground is the best way of immersing yourself in projects and understanding the issues," explain Stéphanie and Pierre. Every day they will document their journey on Circul'R social networks: Facebook and Instagram. A video report is also planned when they return.
While there, they will also be able to connect certain projects - depending on their needs - with the Circul'R ecosystem which has more than 350 start-ups together with investment funds and institutional partners. "Jules and Raphaël didn’t go through Italy and Greece during their world tour," notes Pierre. “So this trip is also an opportunity to identify initiatives that will enrich the Circul'R network."

And to ensure complete coherence right to their handlebars, Stéphanie and Pierre have planned everything so that their trip is zero waste. Starting with their journey - zero emissions - since it will mainly employ the force of their calves.

Plenty of support

They are supported in their approach by Zéro Waste France which has given them some valuable advice. The 19th arrondissement Rosa Parks Décathlon store in Paris has provided all their sports equipment, much of which comes from the second life range. Finally, they will film their trip with an iPhone "reconditioned of course," teases Stéphanie – the circular economy, of course!

A few days before the start, the two cyclists say they are feeling laid back: "We are extremely happy to have had all the support, especially from major circular economy players such as Veolia, Citéo and France’s Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition. We were never told that the project didn’t make sense, so it proves that there is real enthusiasm for the circular economy."
You can follow Stéphanie and Pierre’s adventures on social networks, pass on any ideas for initiatives to visit, celebrate their departure at La Recyclerie on July 25 and even join them if you feel like pedaling to meet innovative circular projects this summer!