Circularity Tales: tackling the problem of single-use cups in Spain

Irri Sarri, spearheaded by visionary entrepreneur Ander Alvarez, stands at the forefront of the global movement towards a circular economy, combatting the environmental repercussions of single-use plastic. Through active participation in Impact Hub Donostia’s global pilot programme, Irri Sarri evolved from a reusable cup solution to a comprehensive exploration of their entire product lifecycle. 

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In a world grappling with the environmental consequences of single-use plastic, entrepreneurs like Ander Alvarez are leading the charge towards a circular economy. As the founder of Irri Sarri, a Spanish venture committed to reducing the environmental impact of disposable cups, Ander recently shared his circular adventure in an exclusive interview with Impact Hub Donostia.


For Irri Sarri, circularity is not just a buzzword; it’s a guiding principle. Ander Alvarez emphasises that in nature, there is no concept of “garbage.” To him, achieving circularity means generating less non-recyclable waste and fostering more conscious consumption.

Irri Sarri’s journey towards circularity took a significant step forward through its participation in Impact Hub Donostia‘s global pilot programme. Born out of a desire to combat the waste generated by single-use cups, Irri Sarri initially focused on providing a reusable cup solution. However, the circularity pilot programme broadened their perspective, encouraging them to delve deeper into their processes and supply chain.


Ander shares that the programme provided valuable guidance, helping them set specific objectives in different phases. The focus shifted from merely producing a reusable cup to contemplating the entire lifecycle of their product. By dividing objectives into manageable groups based on process difficulty, Irri Sarri began the reverse logistics journey, evaluating daily operations and scrutinising material origins.

Circularity, as Ander Alvarez acknowledges, is a formidable goal with its share of challenges. It’s a slow and intricate process that requires dedication. Through the Impact Hub Donostia programme, Irri Sarri identified and prioritised key challenges, ensuring a focused approach. Ander highlights the emotional toll of leading such a project, underscoring the programme’s support in fostering a sense of community among entrepreneurs facing similar obstacles.


Reflecting on their journey, Ander distils valuable advice for ventures aspiring to become more sustainable. He urges simplicity in goals, honesty about the societal benefits sought, and a focus on finding or adapting products to address consumption issues. In a world inundated with excessive purchases, these principles serve as a compass for businesses navigating the circular path.


As Irri Sarri looks to the future, Ander remains steadfast in the mission to eliminate single-use cups, particularly in office spaces and locations with coffee machines. The vision includes collaboration with like-minded companies and individuals who share their commitment to circularity. Irri Sarri’s dedication to its mission exemplifies the transformative power of circular principles, showing that, one cup at a time, positive change is brewing on the horizon.

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