EP30: Circular Diaper Services with Alby Roseveare, WOOSH

Published on 25.4.2024 By Ellie.Connect 

Welcome to episode 30 of our Ellie.Talks, your insights into the world of sustainable textiles and fashion. For this episode, Julie sits down with Alby Roseveare, co-founder of Woosh. Woosh is a diaper service for daycare centres with a circular mission.  

Join us as we explore the motivations, challenges, and successes associated with building a circular business through reversed logistics in an industry where the concept of circularity is still in its infancy.


Our highlights from this episode : 

  • Mission-Driven Innovation: it is important to of be driven by a strong mission if you want to create change and don’t lose focus.   
  • Partnerships are Crucial: collaborations across the value chain, across various sectors, with suppliers, logistics partners, technology partners, … are essential for creating and sustaining a circular ecosystem. 
  • User-Centric Design: prioritize user experience and usability in your product design. By addressing the specific needs of the customer, you enhance the practicality and appeal of your product 
  • Transparency: transparency about your mission and approach is key to gaining trust from both customers and partners. Educating stakeholders about the importance of circular economy principles is essential for driving adoption and scaling impact. 
  • “If you have an idea, do it, try and find a way to add value and just do it”  

WOOSH: Revolutionizing Diaper Services – A Circular Approach 

Alby Roseveare, co-founder of Woosh, a diaper service for daycare centres with a circular mission, shares his journey and the inception of the innovative business. Alby’s passion for sustainability and creating societal value drives him both personally and professionally. With a young family at home, he’s intimately familiar with diapers, which further fuels his commitment to making a difference. 

(c) Woosh

The Birth of Woosh 

The idea for Woosh originated during a project Alby and his co-founders, Wouter Vandamme and Jef Stubbe, undertook for a large diaper manufacturer, Ontex, focusing on the circular economy of diapers. This project planted the seed for Woosh, allowing them to nurture and develop the concept independently. Woosh’s core mission is to make diapers circular, addressing various aspects of a diaper’s lifecycle from design to end-of-life disposal. 

The ”chicken and egg” Problem: Forging Partnerships in Circularity 

Cooperation is pivotal in Woosh’s story, as building ecosystems and partnerships are essential for realizing their mission. Alby highlights the “chicken and egg” problem in diaper waste management, where the lack of available recycling plants hinders waste collection efforts, and vice versa. This challenge mirrors issues faced in textile and fashion recycling systems, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions. 

Logistical Innovations: The Diaper-as-a-Service Model 

Woosh tackles this challenge head-on by offering a diaper-as-a-service model, delivering new diapers to daycare centres while collecting used ones in the same vehicle. Founded in January 2021, Woosh aimed to launch its pilot project within three months, starting with 25 daycare locations by April 1st. The initial phase was intense, involving meticulous planning and design of the service and business model. However, the response from daycare centres was overwhelmingly positive, signalling strong market traction. 

(c) Woosh

Since the pilot project’s inception, Woosh has experienced continuous growth, demonstrating the viability and relevance of its circular diaper solution. With a commitment to sustainability and a dedication to breaking the cycle of diaper waste, Alby and his team are on a mission to shape a new normal in diaper usage and waste management, one daycare centre at a time. 

Reversed Logistics: Optimizing Efficiency and Sustainability 

Alby shares the intricate journey of establishing a circular diaper service by implementing reversed logistics, a cornerstone of Woosh’s operational model. By consolidating product delivery and waste collection in the same vehicle, Woosh maximizes efficiency and minimizes resource wastage. However, this innovative approach presents numerous challenges, from ensuring hygienic waste management practices to reshaping societal perceptions. Overcoming these hurdles is pivotal in establishing Woosh’s credibility and fostering widespread acceptance of its new approach to diaper services. 

Ecosystem Integration: Designing for Circular Solutions 

Alby unveils the pivotal role of partnerships in shaping the trajectory of Belgium’s pioneering circular diaper service. Embracing a holistic approach, Woosh views itself as an architect within the ecosystem, collaborating with a network of partners to realize its mission. With three distinct components – the diaper itself, the service provision, and the end-of-life processing – Woosh relies on strategic alliances to drive innovation and foster sustainability across the value chain. 

For Woosh, selecting partners extends beyond mere business transactions; it hinges on shared values and a mutual commitment to long-term growth. Alby underscores the importance of synergy, seeking partners who share Woosh’s vision and mission of circularity and view collaboration as a catalyst for collective growth. With a focus on innovation and a willingness to chart uncharted territories, Woosh aligns itself with partners who are poised to challenge conventions and pioneer change. 

Innovative Product Design: Launching Woosh’s Diaper 

Cute caucasian infant baby in white nappy on light grey blanket. Top view. Banner format. Copy space. Diaper change and care of baby's skin.
(c) Woosh

Woosh’s commitment to innovation extends to the launch of its own diaper, tailored to address unmet needs in the market and enhance user experience. Through meticulous design choices such as colour coding, usability, and ergonomic features, Woosh aims to simplify diaper usage for daycare staff. Moreover, Alby emphasizes the importance of designing diapers with recyclability in mind, incorporating recycled materials and prioritizing mono materials to reduce environmental impact. 

But the launch of their first diaper is just the beginning. With plans for further development and continuous improvement, Woosh remains steadfast in its mission to revolutionize diaper usage and waste management. Alby sets his sights on two significant milestones looming on the horizon: the commencement of recycling operations and the installation of the first recycling plant. 

Pioneering in Circularity – Mission-based, Transparency and Efficiency 

Engaging with clients, particularly daycare centres, required Woosh to articulate the value proposition of circularity in an industry where such concepts were novel. Alby acknowledges the need for missionary work, recognizing that convincing stakeholders of the importance of sustainability demands transparency and a commitment to continuous innovation. By positioning Woosh as a mission-driven company dedicated to research and development, Alby aims to foster trust and collaboration with clients, paving the way for meaningful impact in the long term. 

In focusing on business-to-business (B2B) clients, specifically daycare centres, Woosh prioritized efficiency and scalability. Alby explains that targeting locations with high concentrations of diaper waste enables Woosh to optimize logistics and deliver a bespoke service tailored to the needs of large-scale users. This strategic choice reflects Woosh’s commitment to maximizing impact while laying the groundwork for future expansion into consumer markets. 

As Woosh pioneers a new approach to diaper waste management, Alby’s vision extends beyond immediate success to lasting systemic change. By building partnerships, fostering transparency, and prioritizing efficiency, Woosh sets a precedent for sustainable business practices in an industry ripe for transformation.  

Secret to Success: Create Added Value 

In a parting call to action, Alby implores aspiring entrepreneurs to embark on their ideas with unwavering determination and a relentless pursuit of value creation. Recognizing the inherent challenges of transitioning to a circular economy, Alby advocates for embedding the additional costs and complexities of circularity into the business model itself, sparing customers from bearing the burden. By prioritizing value creation and shouldering the responsibility of driving systemic change, Alby envisions a future where circularity becomes the cornerstone of sustainable business practices. 

In essence, Woosh’s story underscores the importance of perseverance, innovation, and collaboration in creating a more sustainable future. It reminds us that by aligning our business endeavours with a mission to create positive societal impact, we can pave the way for a more circular and equitable economy, one diaper at a time.  

Let’s connect!

We trust this episode with Alby Roseveare provided a number of insightful perspectives on building innovative circular business models that add real value. If you’re interested in connecting with Woosh, connect with Alby here.

Are you ready to take action on sustainability yourself and need a partner in crime? Then count on Ellie as your smart digital assistant. Whatever question you have, Ellie gives you instant insights and connections based on learning from the Ellie.Connect digital ecosystem with more than 2,500 textile and circular value chain players from over 28 countries.

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