Ingredients for an open source circular economy

12th June 2015 Posted by

Post by our guest blogger Erica Purvis, Open Source Circular Economy days, TechnicalNature

If the circular economy were a recipe how would you follow it, what ingredients would it contain, and how would you mix it, cook it and what would it taste like?

Well here’s one I prepared earlier …

  • Invest in good quality equipment
  • Roll-up your sleeves
  • Add a tablespoon full of knowledge and understanding about how things are made
  • Break open new models – prolonging, maintaining, recycling
  • Mix in collaboration across industries
  • Sprinkle over with shared knowledge and success stories

And when you’ve made that circular cake? Well, of course you need people who want to taste, eat and enjoy it! I’ve probably forgotten a vital ingredient, but since the recipe is shared you can let me know and even improve it.

Why is she talking about recipes and cake, you might be thinking? The similarities are actually commonly used to introduce the notion of open source. Whether in the context of software, data, hardware, innovation, education resources or standards, the underlying principles of open source indicate ways of freely accessing, using, modifying and sharing.

It’s these principles, which are the foundations for the challenges that will be explored in 33 cities around the world in a grassroots global design event, the Open Source Circular Economy days, starting today. It’s been supported by great organisations, including Future of Waste, IFixit, and The Renewable Freedom Foundation.

The London event will be held in the Fab Lab London from the 12th -14th of June with challenges from The Great Recovery, Open Energy Monitor, Knowledge Transfer Network, The People’s Design Lab and The Rubbish Diet. The event is open to everyone, recognising each character brings their own unique expertise or flavour.

The Rubbish Diet has posed the challenge Trust is Not a Waste, specifically looking at developing ways to tell a more coherent, transparent and truthful story to the citizen. The need for this is based from their own insight work, alongside others. This also includes SUEZ environnement’s (former SITA UK’s) own research last year with Keep Britain Tidy, The Ur[bin] Issue, where one of the action points was to rebuild trust in recycling – definitely not a piece of cake!

Can waste, recycling and product data be used more openly, creatively and to help engage the public more effectively; to communicate more transparently about where our waste goes and what it becomes?

The OSCEdays is all about putting ideas into action, learning, sharing and collaborating openly with like-minded people all over the world. Wouldn’t you like to be part of helping to write that recipe?


Register to attend the event here: Eventbrite

Join the conversation on Twitter: @OSCEdays / #OSCEdays

Join the Facebook Group: Open Source Circular Economy Days


2 comments on "Ingredients for an open source circular economy"

  • I agree with the recipe but is not clear if the first step “Investing in good quality equipment” you refere as well to: invest on high quality and HEALTHY* raw materials to build your product first. Keeping closed loops of toxic products is not CE.

    • Thanks for your comment Maria. Yes, I would agree as regards to including wider aspects and considerations of quality such as the toxicity of materials and original input. It was my intention to highlight, suggest and question quality on a number of levels (difficult to encompass all in a short blog), alongside this is the consideration of reuse, upcycling, rental etc. I think you highlight a key area often overlooked regards to healthiness of some of the materials in the first place which C2C, off-gassing and other analysis of suitability of material for application can address. There are also questions on identifying a real need in the first place, or addressing the root problem. Thanks!
      Best wishes,

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