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social value

Social benefits from circular approaches, including regeneration of local resources, creating jobs for disadvantaged or excluded groups, social enterprises, and so on.

Circular Economy Podcast 95 - Simone Andersson - social value from circular e-waste solutions

95 Simone Andersson – social value from circular e-waste solutions

Simone Andersson is Chief Commercial Officer at WEEE Centre, a Kenyan social enterprise that’s been expanding safe e-waste management and circular solutions across East Africa, since 2012. Simone’s background is in communication and sustainability action around waste and water management, and before joining the WEEE Centre she was at RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden), where she led innovative developmental projects on resource efficiency, circular economy systems, traceability, precious materials and various solid and liquid wastes.
Her mission is to create awareness about the possibilities and prosperity of Green Business and Clean Tech.
The WEEE Centre focuses on people, planet and prosperity, in particular by helping young people improve their social and economic circumstances. It’s aiming to expand the collection infrastructure to cover all Kenyan Counties and to increase local recycling by bringing more advanced technologies. It also wants to reach other African countries, starting with neighboring Uganda and Tanzania.
By 2019, the WEEE Centre had recycled more than 10,000ntons of e-waste, serving over 8,000 clients across Africa, and creating hundreds of jobs. It became the first and only e-waste management organization to be ISO certified with multiple awards. WEEE Centre has the capacity to recycle all types of e-waste, and has trained many other African countries on safe e-waste recycling.
We’ll hear about the operational complexities, some of the collaborations and partnerships they’ve fostered to overcome the challenges of being a relatively small enterprise, and how they’re trying to make sure they create value-adding circular flows, rather than focusing on recycling.

Circular Economy Podcast - Ep93 Guglielmo Mazza ReFuse Eco

93 Guglielmo Mazza – helping communities refuse packaging waste

Guglielmo Mazzà is an environmental engineer and social entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of ReFuse, a social enterprise based in Beirut [Lebanon] that offers community-based solid waste management services. Guglielmo worked in development initiatives and humanitarian response in the field of water, sanitation, hygiene and financial inclusion, across Europe and Africa. His passion is combining equitable access to resources with ecosystem justice and restoration.
ReFuse has a mission to work with underserved communities, enabling them to sort recyclables and get rewarded for it. ReFuse says: “Where most people see a pile of waste, we see opportunities to improve the lives of vulnerable people. Secondary raw-materials have an unexploited value.”
Guglielmo explains some of the issues faced by many people living in Beirut, where approximately one-third of the population are migrants, with many living in temporary tented communities. Poverty, inequality and lack of government funds are big issues, and there is a lack of basic infrastructure, including a reliable electricity supply.
We hear how the ReFuse operation works, how they’ve expanded the range of materials they can recycle, and what they do with it all. We find out what motivates people to bring their recyclables along to the ReFuse stations – surprisingly, for many people, it’s not about the cash.

Circular Economy Podcast Ep92 Elmar Stroomer Africa Collect Textiles

92 Elmar Stroomer – circular textile solutions in Africa

Elmar Stroomer is the founder of Africa Collect Textiles (ACT). Africa Collect Textiles does exactly that – collecting used textiles across Africa, for reuse, recycling and upcycling.

Elmar Stroomer has a strong background in the circular economy and design, and lived in Kenya and Uganda between 2012 and 2017 to get Africa Collect Textiles up and running. Now, Elmar is working full time on the expansion of ACT in Kenya and Nigeria. ACT aims to develop solutions to end the textile waste issues across Africa. It distributes free and affordable clothing to underprivileged communities, and currently has over 40 collection points in Nairobi and Lagos for used textiles. It provides employment to more than 50 people, who help collect, sort and upcycle fashion waste, used uniforms and off-cuts, creating products such as rugs, backpacks, toys and much more. On top of this, for every kilogram of used textiles it recycles, Africa Collect Textiles (ACT) donates 10 Kenyan shillings to charity. We hear about how fashion waste imported from the global north has undermined the existing textile and clothing sector in Kenya, and why Elmar decided to create a circular economy for locally produced textiles. Elmar tells us about some of the circular initiatives that ACT has set up, including repurposing workshops, services for resellers that overcome some of the major issues with the system for reselling imported end-of-use textiles, and innovative ways of repurposing end-of-life clothing for local businesses.

Circular Economy Podcast - Ep90 Does circular mean sustainable?

90 – Does circular mean it’s sustainable?

Does circular mean it’s sustainable? Or, are companies just using circular economy solutions to grow their business (and their footprints)?
In this episode, I want to shine a light on something that’s been worrying me.
Over the last few years, I’ve come to realise that the circular economy is not fit for purpose. It’s not helping create the future we need. Instead, it’s being watered down, and cherry picked. I’m seeing increasing numbers of businesses and policymakers choosing strategies that ARE circular – but aren’t improving sustainability. I’m going to be talking about loopholes, rather than loops…
I think we’re at a critical turning point. We need to evolve the circular economy into a framework that supports the future we want – the future we know is possible.
If we don’t, we’re letting all our work, our innovations, our struggles, go to waste. (And you don’t need me to remind you that waste shouldn’t exist in a circular economy!)

Circular Economy Podcast - 87 Veena Sahajwalla High-value MICROFactories

87 – Veena Sahajwalla – high-value opportunities from MICROFactories

Professor Veena Sahajwalla, founder of UNSW SMaRT Centre, is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer, and inventor who is revolutionising recycling science. In 2018, Veena launched the world’s first e-waste MICROfactorieTM and in 2019 she launched her plastics and Green Ceramics MICROfactoriesTM, another breakthrough for recycling technology. Veena unpacks the concepts of micro-factories and micro-recycling, and we hear why it’s important to get clear on the constituent materials in waste flows – for example, not just textiles, but what the textile is made from.
Veena explains the importance of thinking beyond the manufacture of the recycled material, so you are designing solutions that are properly suitable for high-value end-products. Veena also describes how the projects are collaborating with industry partners, helping open up opportunities for important local jobs, skills and resilient income streams.

Circular Economy Podcast 86 Jennifer Hinton - Rethinking how profit is used

86 Jennifer Hinton – Rethinking how profit is used

We explore a different way of thinking, about how business fits into our society and economy. Jennifer Hinton is a systems researcher and activist in the field of sustainable economy. Her work focuses on how societies relate to profit and how that relationship affects global sustainability challenges.
Jennifer started developing this theory in the book How on Earth, which outlines a conceptual model of a not-for-profit market economy – the Not-for-Profit World model.
As an activist, Jennifer collaborates with civil society organizations, businesses, and policy makers to transform the economy so that it can work for everyone within the ecological limits of the planet. Jennifer holds a double PhD in Economics and Sustainability Science, and is a researcher at Lund University and a senior research fellow at the Schumacher Institute.

Circular Economy Podcast BONUS - India Hamilton - SCOOP - part 2

Bonus – BONUS India Hamilton – SCOOP  – part two

BONUS Ep85 part 2 – India Hamilton shares more about circular economy food coop SCOOP, Permaculture, membership models, and why she loves compliance officers. We also discuss the importance of supporting your local food economy, and how monopolies and exploitative capitalism are underming this.

Circular Economy Podcast Episode 85 - India Hamilton - SCOOP

85 India Hamilton – SCOOP – transforming local food systems

India Hamilton, cofounder of circular economy food cooperative SCOOP explains the challenges of providing healthy, affordable and local food on a small island. We hear about the founding principles behind SCOOP and it’s ‘why’. India explains how SCOOP goes beyond the provision of local, healthy and sustainable food and is embedding circular solutions across the business. We find out how it survived during lockdown, and discuss India’s counter-intuitive conclusions about the real meaning of convenience

Circular Economy Podcast - Ep 83 – Kim Baker – funding equitable, market-driven circular solutions

83 – Kim Baker – funding equitable, market-driven circular solutions

Kim Baker is Senior Director of Innovation at Elemental, which funds circular economy and climate tech solutions through a non-profit model. Elemental is on a mission to redesign the systems at the root of the climate problems , and it’s built a platform for scaling equitable, market-driven solutions, and to uplift people and communities around the world. Since 2009, Elemental has invested in over 130 growth-stage companies.
Kim Baker has over 15 years of experience in launching and growing engineered systems into industrial and municipal markets. Currently, she works at the intersection of the built environment and carbon-related investments together with the design of technology demonstration projects.
We find out what sets Elemental apart as a funder and hear about just a few of the many different types of businesses in the Elemental portfolio, including Trove, Thrilling, Goodr and Reath. Kim explains how Elemental finds and select the companies it invests in, and I also ask Kim about her background, and her ‘why’.

Circular Economy Podcast Ep75 Helena Norberg-Hodge – the future is local

75 Helena Norberg-Hodge – the future is local

HELENA NORBERG-HODGE is a pioneer of the new economy movement and recipient of Right Livelihood Award (aka the “Alternative Nobel Prize”), the Arthur Morgan Award and the Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.”
Helena Norberg-Hodge is also an author, and her most recent book is Local is Our Future. This book connects the dots between our social, economic, ecological and spiritual crises, revealing how a systemic shift from global to local can address all of these seemingly disparate problems at the same time. Helena is also the author of the inspirational classic Ancient Futures, and producer of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness. Helena explains why local, small-scale, ‘traditional’ farming is better for farmers, for animal and human health, and for our planet, and how it helps strengthen local communities. We talk about why local food is one of the simple solutions to our interconnected, systemic problems, and why connection with soil, with nature, with the process of growing food, is essential for our health and wellbeing.