From waste to value

a toolbox and usecases for local circular waste processing

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In the Bijlmer H-Buurt in Amsterdam, a new way of living is being developed, based on co-ownership of the property and collaboration with the neighborhood and municipality. It is called a Community Land Trust (CLT) and for the Netherlands it will be the first. The City of Amsterdam strives to be a fully circular city by 2050, so the CLT has to comply. Waste is a main topic within the circular economy, so the goal of the project is: ‘How to enable and show the residents of the CLT Bijlmer that they themselves can create value from waste and by doing so support the (local) circular economy?’. With the following criteria to evaluate the final design: Is it reducing waste locally? Does it create value or products out of the waste? Does it help the community financially or socially? The project started with reviewing the goals and challenges followed by an exploration of the context. This was sprint 0. Sprint 1 focused on exploration of opportunities and looking for directions for development. The exploration ended with multiple directions focused on: organic-, plastic-, textile- and bulk waste. Sprint 2 focused on developing these directions into initial concepts, researching about and with the community. This provided the insight that knowledge on circular opportunities was lacking. At the end of sprint 2, two concepts were selected for development. One concept focused on organic waste, with composting and a vegetable garden at its core. The second concept focused on textile waste and included a sewing atelier and recycling, upcycling and reusing textile waste locally. Sprint 3 focused on developing these concepts further and provide the community with clear steps to realise these. The current situation at the CLT community was analysed and the community was involved again. Researching the current situation provided information on operation and plans of the vegetable garden and sewing group used the CLT. These provided starting points for realizing the concepts. Also, some struggles were discovered. The vegetable garden lacked a good compost facility. Also, both initiatives had an individualistic approach. The second session with the CLT community found that both concepts were perceived valuable, but put more focus on details. Also, the lack of knowledge was highlighted again. They required more information on the process and wanted to know what specific products would result from it. Based on the feedback of sprint 3, sprint 4 was initiated. The goal was to develop specific interventions for the vegetable garden and sewing group focused on the value to the community and product. Also, a solution was developed for the lack of knowledge. So a toolbox with all the knowledge required was created. Consisting of methods to separate waste, ways to create value from waste with and providing the first steps to do so. Finally, the plans for the solutions for textile waste and organic waste were finalized. These were respectively a clothing swap closet and a compost facility with emphasis on the community.