Norway’s Wilhelm Myrer shares how he met his business partner, their idea for Empower, and how they are taking Norway’s already successful recycling system and merging it with competitive technology, and making it available around the world…

I was working with a startup, developing blockchain technology to disrupt the banks, when I coincidentally met my co-founder at a party. We ended up discussing how we could use new disruptive technology to help with the plastic waste problem. Wine, beers and a few hours later we felt we had a great idea.

I went home, and the next day I started working on the concept and a presentation, and after a couple of days, I sent it over to him and said, ‘I have a solution that I’m going to run with and try out, do you want to join and do this?’ He was all in and he turned out to be an amazing resource within the field of both innovation and the whole complexity of plastic waste.

Soon thereafter we launched www.empower.eco and immediately got people signing up to remove their plastic footprint and become plastic positive. From there on, our solution has just been getting unimaginable traction with an ever-increasing interest from all around the world.

Nordic influence…

Being based in Norway (where we have one of the best working waste management systems in the world, as well as the best recycling system in the world, with the plastic bottle deposit system (which is recycling about a whopping 97%[1] of all the plastic bottles)) as well as having worked in several emerging markets and seeing their potential; both in vast numbers of people looking for meaningful ways of making a living, as well as how new digital technologies can leapfrog the older and more costly solutions and infrastructures in developed countries, all lead us to the idea of taking the best working solutions in the Nordics and making them digital and applicable anywhere in the world.

By doing so, we can make solutions that are both low-cost and scalable, easy to deploy around the world, while still building on the principles from a system, proven to be the most efficient one to date.

Based on this mixed background and experiences, the solution of a global blockchain driven plastic waste deposit system, where we both incentivise collection of plastic waste as well as track it back into products and recycling, was developed and now implemented around the world by Empower.

Joining the Academy and the European Social Innovation Competition.

I definitely enjoyed the EUSIC Academy that took place in Turin! We had such a great time connecting with the other Semi-Finalists and learn about the variation and great projects they are developing to challenge plastic waste. We all come from such different walks of life, and it’s inspiring to listen to everyone’s “plastic waste” stories. Moments like these make me realise that beyond the competition, we are all on the same team working towards a much more important common goal. We will not succeed by ourselves, but succeed together. Moving forward, the network we developed will be valuable contacts & friends for our start-up. The insights I learned during the Academy on systems change and measuring direct and indirect impact will help us highlight and communicate the real impact that Empower can make if fully implemented.


[1] http://www.climateaction.org/news/97-of-plastic-bottles-are-recycled-in-norway