POCACITO in Baltimore – From circular economy to circular society

A community dialogue on creating a circular economy addressing the social, economic, and environmental issues on the path to zero waste.

Transitioning to a circular economy with zero waste and local flows creates opportunities to make our societies more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable by bringing together the principles of social engagement and economic opportunity. From rethinking our relationship to resources to developing new methods of collaboration and community-building, circular economy can serve as a catalyst for regenerative social, economic, and environmental change.

But what is circular economy? Will it disrupt the foundations of our economy? Or can it revolutionize the way society works from within?

This event was a joint effort of the POCACITO project, Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee, Netherlands America Chamber of Commerce Washington Metro, the Embassies of Sweden and the Netherlands, NAACP Baltimore, and more. Find out more below and stay tuned as we work together to develop innovative ways to make the circular economy work for everyone.

Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL waste expert Åsa Stenmarck has been appointed special investigator tasked with reviewing the possibilities of reducing negative environmental effects of plastic in Sweden.

Åsa has worked with waste and resource related projects for 18 years. She has over the years worked broadly with waste management issues, often on a systems level but with particular focus on circular economy and recycling. She has worked with waste flows from WEEE, food, plastics and textiles. 2018 she led the Swedish Governmental investigation on plastics – answering the question on “How to reach sustainable plastic use”. The later years her focus has also shifted from only waste to more resource flows and sustainable consumption.

Matilda Jarbin is the sustainability manager at Godsinlösen Nordic AB (GIAB), whose business model is based on circular economy. GIAB is one of Sweden’s foremost examples of how the theory of the circular economy can be put into practice. With the knowledge and experience that Matilda has accumulated during the years she has been with and built up the company, she hopes to contribute with expertise to Cradlenet. She will work for the members of Cradlenet to start collaborating more and to make the organization’s activities more visible. In 2017, she was named one of Sweden’s top 33 sustainability talents.

Martine Postma is a Dutch environmentalist and former journalist. She is best known for introducing the concept of the Repair Café.

Martine was born in the Netherlands in 1970. She was a journalist until 2009. She wrote about sustainability and environmental issues, with a special focus on waste reduction and prevention. In 2009, she thought up the concept of Repair Café: free repair meetings where expert volunteers help less handy neighbours to fix beloved broken items. Martine organised the first Repair Café in October 2009. It became a big success. Afterwards, people across the Netherlands wanted to organise similar repair meetings in their community too. Martine then started the Repair Café International Foundation and has been busy spreading the Repair Café concept worldwide since. At this moment there are almost 2,000 local Repair Café groups in 35 countries across the globe. The number of Repair Cafés still grows every day.

Martine is an advocate for more repairable products and better care for products by their owners. She wants to help preserve repair skills in every-day society, for she believes that repairing is not only good for products and for the environment, it is also good for people. “When you succeed in repairing a broken item yourself, you feel strong and proud, and you realize that repairing is a normal thing to do. It is this mindset that we need for a sustainable future.”

Website: https://repaircafe.org/en.

Daan Weddepohl is a serial entrepreneur. He is the CEO and founder of a website and app called Peerby, which has active members all around the world. Through Peerby, you can borrow, share, and rent out household items in your neighbourhood. Peerby members create social capital, vastly reduce environmental impact, and invest in their local community.

Jane English serves as the program manager for the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice (ECJ) program. She is an experienced human rights and social justice organizer/activist. Her work as a community and labor organizer is most notably with the national office of the NAACP and the United Mine Workers of America International Union (UMWA). She previously worked with the Fairfax County, Virginia Human Rights Commission in civil and human rights enforcement. Jane served as the chair of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ Board of Social Action 2002 – 2010. She is a graduate of Marshall University and she completed two years of law school at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Originally from Massachusetts, Andrew McCue moved to Amsterdam to join Metabolic as a sustainability consultant where he uses his experience in sustainable food to help businesses and communities feed themselves and heal the planet. As a sustainability consultant, Andrew conducts research and analysis of complex systems thinking projects for cities and agrifood organizations to holistically encourage shifts to sustainability. He builds and manages business development campaigns in both of these sectors to enlist new leaders in the transition to a circular economy.

Eva Hunnius Ohlin works in the Trade and Economic Affairs section at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington DC. In her role as advisor for energy and environment, she reports on US energy, climate and environment policy as well as transportation policy and promotes Swedish environmental technologies. Prior to this position, she worked as an analyst at the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis, where she focused on entrepreneurship and innovation systems. Prior to joining the agency she managed the local Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. Eva has a Master of Science in Business Administration from the School of Business, Economics and Law in Gothenburg, Sweden.