Collaborating for a Zero-Waste Future

The makers of CRCLR and OSCEdays on how collaboration is a powerful tool for the creation of a sustainable future, and how they aim to facilitate it.

by Lydia Massey, June 27, 2017
osce days berlin circular economy

OSCEdays is a 4-day festival in Berlin in which open source and circular economy activists gather to share and discuss ideas, and create solutions toward a sustainable future. Unlike normal conferences, OSCEdays offers everyone the opportunity to be a changemaker by contributing their ideas and solutions for a zero-waste future. This year, OSCEdays begins Thursday, June 29th and ends July 2nd.

OSCEdays is hosted by the CRCLR House, located in Neukölln. CRCLR House understands collaboration is a powerful tool for the creation of a sustainable future. They are dedicated to promoting a circular economy model by providing a space for co-working, events, artist studios and more for those interested.

The circular economy model is inspired by nature’s ecosystem, built upon resilience and no waste. CRCLR promotes this model, valuing the idea that no material should be wasted and everything— including products, services and businesses—should be created with this key principle in mind. 

CRCLR House also runs a year-round program for anyone interested in learning more about the circular economic model. At CRCLR House, individuals can collaborate and share their experiences about this revolutionary way of life.

Why did you establish the CRCLR House?

The current take-make-dispose model - also known as the linear economic model -  doesn’t work for business, doesn’t work for the environment nor does it work for people. We feel the need for a paradigm shift where businesses become vehicles for positive social and environmental impact. 

This is where we believe the circular economy model offers an inspiring framework and why we decided to open Berlin’s first Circular Economy House as a catalyst for this change. 

At the CRCLR house we wish to inspire local and global communities to join this process and create real change, one that will have real positive impact. 

What is circular economy and how do you implement it?

The circular economy model is inspired by nature’s own ecosystem, resilience and longevity. Waste does not exist in nature. A circular economy ensures an economic system where no materials are wasted. Instead, they are managed in closed loops. Products are designed and built so that after consumption they can be reused, refurbished or repurposed.

This means rethinking our products, services and business models. On a material level it means working with regenerative materials. Leftovers and so-called “waste” become the input for the next production cycle until we reach our zero waste goal. 

The circular economy model also offers a framework for collaboration. It empowers us to co-create, co-shape, co-design and co-own. Solutions to our current problems need to be systemic and be adaptable locally which is why we believe open source is the right tool to spread circular economy  practices fast.

At the CRCLR House we are testing, iterating and incubating those circular business models by running a yearly program of workshops and events.

Can you talk about the year-round program at the CRCLR House?

We run a year round program open to all age groups and people from different professional backgrounds where you can learn about circular practices as applied to various fields. Our program is organized around seven themes and equips change makers with the knowhow needed to develop circular solutions. Some of these change makers have already established their headquarters in the CRCLR House’s co-working space, in the artist ateliers and labs.

What are Open Source Circular Economy Days (OSCEdays)?

The OSCEdays are a four-day festival for sharing, discussing and prototyping solutions towards a sustainable future, where the concept of waste no longer exists. The OSCEdays is also a global community of creative people, innovators, activists, businesses and institutions committed to developing hacks, solutions and ultimately contributing to a system change from a linear to a circular economy

This year, OSCEdays Berlin take place from June 29th through July 2nd at the CRCLR House.

How were the OSCEdays started?

The OSCEdays started in 2015 when Open Source and Circular Economy activists came together in Berlin and discussed the potential of connecting both movements and schools of thought in order to jointly build a community working on solutions leading to a circular economy. In line with the open source methodology, they opened up their conversation to a wider, global public. It was as simple as setting up an online forum

The forum is the space that all people can join, ask questions, and document their insights. It’s also a place to share and produce knowledge in a collaborative and open way; over time an ongoing body of knowledge is created. Imagine it as a massive library with openly shared solutions for a circular economy and a global community of practitioners developing and tapping into the knowledge and putting it into practice— thereby putting open source and circular economy into practice. 

What are some of the things that people can do this year at the OSCEdays?

The CRCLR house will open its doors on Thursday June 29th at 8pm for the OSCEdays opening night. Come by and get inspired by this year's theme Circular City. Listen to diverse inputs from Dale Walker from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on the Urban Biocycles research project, Prof. Undine Giseke from TU Berlin on “Urban Metabolism” and Katalin Gennburg (die Linke) who will explain why “The Smart City is Not Smart”.

The opening event is free of charge. Everybody is welcome to network over a drink and get new ideas through exciting talks.

Friday will be all about input from practitioners and inspiration. Join us for a full day of thought-provoking panel discussions, lightning talks and focused workshops. If you don’t know much about Open Source and Circular Economy yet, you will after this day and if you do, you will know more. A highlight includes a workshop by openIDEO on their Circular Design Guide and their open hackathon on eliminating plastic waste.

Thursday and Friday give participants the inspiration, input and foundations for tangible, hands-on action on both Saturday and Sunday. In workshops, assemblies and challenges you will become an essential part of this year’s OSCEdays. Join forces with other innovators, opinion-leaders and those interested in open source circular economy to come up with concrete solutions to today’s challenges. 

The weekend we’ll see everything from learning how to make soap from old frying oil, building a geodetic dome, dying fabric with food scraps, building a pedal-powered shredder, to learning how to grow mushrooms on waste products and many things more. 

What do OSCEdays offer that no other place has?

OSCEdays are different to typical conferences since people come here to develop prototypes for circular living and working, not to listen to long lectures by a few experts. Everyone can host a workshop or bring a challenge to collaboratively work, prototype or brainstorm on with others.

The program for the event is built collaboratively through input by its participants. Would you like to help shape the program, have an idea that you would like to introduce or a workshop you would like to offer? Come to OSCEdays and put your idea on the open program!

Check out the program and get your ticket here.

What do you hope to accomplish at OSCEdays?

We would love for OSCEdays to continue being an open and inspiring platform for exchange and mutual learning, for disruptive ideas and bold prototypes that challenge the status quo of how we design, build, consume and work. We’re also aiming to build bridges between diverse people and their ideas, since we believe that change can only be realized if we join forces and start collaborating towards an open source and circular economy.