#6: Cassandra Delage

Episode 6 - Cassandra Delage - Changing recycling behavior in France, office by office

After completing her Bachelor’s at McGill University in Canada, Cassandra moved to France to pursue her Master’s degree in entrepreneurship at HEC.  During her internships there, something jumped out to Cassandra: Compared to her experience in Canada, French offices were very far behind in terms of recycling behavior and technology.  The waste and attitudes had to change, for the sake of the environment.

Instead of accepting this recycle-free zone, she decided to do something about it.  In addition to her degrees from impressive schools, Cassandra also has the drive to get things done; after creating her first company as a teenager, she knew she’d found her calling as an entrepreneur.

Her latest business is Plast’if, a hyper-local recycling machine that addresses the problem of recycling in offices.  For starters, it collects and separates plastic in the office - water bottles, dishes, bottle caps, you name it - and then melts and transforms that plastic, which is then used to print 3D objects of your choice.  Definitely a cool idea.

While sorting, melting, and printing are at the core of Plast’if’s functionalities, what makes their technology special is that it encourages responsible behavior.  Office teams can compete and win rewards for recycling more.  Rewarding people reinforces the good behavior, which in turn encourages and builds the habit of recycling.  So far, the response with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) teams has been very positive in the Île-de-France region.

The key to Cassandra’s success?  Networking, followed by more networking, served with a topping of extra networking.  Having the support and mentoring assistance from Microsoft Ventures and others is great, but there’s no replacement for pounding the pavement and meeting people.  As she tells us, each new conversation gives her new ideas that help Plast’if move forward, so there’s a lot more networking ahead.

Cassandra also shares about the friendliness and camaraderie she’s come across that are prevalent in the French startup ecosystem.  It’s something we at OuiStart Media have experienced ourselves and most people we meet say the same thing. While the French sometimes have a reputation for being standoffish, our guests’ experiences tell a different story.

Maybe it’s because the startup world here is still early and growing, but people here are willing to help.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help - including asking us! - and if you can, be generous with others who need it. That kind of community building is just what’s helped Cassandra to forge Plast’fi in a new-to-her environment!