Oil and gas companies make far more money churning out new plastic than reusing old. Meanwhile, the public gets the blame, writes Arwa Mahdawi
It turns out that the industry had lobbied states to mandate that the symbol go on every plastic, even if it was not viable to recycle, and evidently even environmentalists approved. The symbol became a green marketing tool, helping convince the public that it was just fine to use all this plastic because it was getting recycled. Meanwhile, it made the stream of plastic even more expensive to separate and process. No wonder it so much of it was shipped to China, where the labor was cheap enough to have people go through it and pick out the valuable stuff, and the environmental standards were poor enough that everything else could be dumped or burned. When China closed its doors, the whole façade fell apart.
This year, the EWWR challenges you to get informed and raise awareness on the huge amount of waste that we all unconsciously generate. We need to make this waste visible in order to make informed decisions when choosing which product to purchase, and take responsibility for our footprint. Producers, consumers, decision-makers, we all can take action to reduce the invisible waste. Extending the life of products by reuse and repair, buying second-hand, renting and sharing products rather than owning them, obtaining an eco-label and joining producer responsibility’s schemes… The list is long! On this page you can find tools to communicate about this year’s theme and ideas for actions. More tools will be uploaded soon, in the meanwhile you can get inspired by two national campaigns carried out by national EWWR Coordinators:
Smart city systems and applications are shaping how we experience urban life. While some of these changes are obvious, many remain unseen. These technologies are intended to make our lives more convenient, and can be measured in quantitative terms like efficiency and cost-savings, but how do we gain a fuller picture of their impacts? This workshop explores the need to assess the social impacts of smart cities and the potential for different methods of data collection to be used to this end. Morning presentations and guided discussion will examine case studies, compare research methods and frame issues to be explored together. Afternoon group work involves imagining new ways to evaluate smart city projects, applying a mix of research methods to real scenarios and data sets. The call for participation invites researchers and practitioners to submit short position papers that will inform the workshop and lead to an expanded publication.
México City, an enormous sprawling city, has struggled with waste for many years. With the closure of its largest landfill, and new initiatives to promote recycling and waste-to-energy solutions, México City is now in a position to be an example for the region. But behaviours and mindsets still have a long way to go. And there is lots that design can do here. Building on political momentum, we are calling on designers to use their creative problem-solving skills to imagine new narratives, services, products, spaces and systems to encourage cleaner and greener waste handling behaviours across México City.
We are a local plastic recycling facility that turns PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PS, PLA, PC and ABS plastics into re-usable, plastic intensive, and re-recyclable products. We support plastic free packaging, end engage in citizen science to understand the impacts of plastic on our environment.
The Commons Transition Platform is a database of practical experiences and policy proposals for a more humane and environmentally grounded society.
This document describes a governance/economic model for self-sustaining, mission-oriented, distributed organizations.
It values pro-bono, care, and paid work with complementary metrics and dispenses rewards accordingly. The purpose is to extract people from the capitalist marketplace so they can use their unique talents to do fulfilling, socially and environmentally meaningful work. The document prototypes a governance model fit for digital labor as applied to an existing organization: the P2P translation collective Guerrilla Translation which is, in turn, embedded into a larger umbrella organization called the Guerrilla Media Collective. Guerrilla Translation serves as the practical example to illustrate the model. The Guerrilla Media Collective is a pilot project for Distributed Cooperative Organizations or DisCOs.
The DisCO Manifesto is a deep dive into the world of Distributed Cooperative Organizations. Over its 80 colorful pages, you will read about how DisCOs are a P2P/Commons, cooperative and Feminist Economic alternative to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (or DAOs). The DisCO Manifesto also includes some background on topics like blockchain, AI, the commons, feminism, cooperatives, cyberpunk, and more.
Amid growing concerns over global warming, plastic in our oceans and the problems of electronic waste, there are some developing solutions. In Finland Kierrätyskeskus (re-use centres) have been going since the early 1990s. Owned by the city council, but run independently, there are now eight shops in and around Helsinki offering second-hand, repaired and upcycled items. Everything is donated by the public, via drop off centres, or at the shops or via home collection. All profit is used to improve local environmental and waste services.
This incredible cooperative is having an impact in reshaping the society by including most marginalized persons and by fostering economical and environmental sustainability. All these aspects are visible in the video where members explained us how they manage to "raise awareness" and how they are building a more sustainable economic model. But all this started in a very specific moment: the Argentinian 2001 crisis.
Like a regular commercial bank, you open up an account with your local waste bank. Periodically, you make deposits with your non-organic solid waste, which are weighed and given a monetary value, based on rates set by waste collectors. This value is saved in your account from which, like a regular bank, you can withdraw. The basic principles of waste banks remain the same across provinces: collect, save, earn, change behavior, and enjoy a clean neighborhood.
For some people, questioning comes easily. Their natural inquisitiveness, emotional intelligence, and ability to read people put the ideal question on the tip of their tongue. But most of us don’t ask enough questions, nor do we pose our inquiries in an optimal way.
This Commons Transition Primer website contains new and adapted texts by P2P Foundation members, including its founder, Michel Bauwens. As part of an ongoing multimedia project/campaign, our intention with this site is to make the P2P Foundation’s core ideas on the Commons and P2P accessible, attractive and shareable for commoners and communities worldwide.
We’ve built some other useful features into this site. Click here to learn more about its structure and distinguishing features.
The Commons Transition Primer website project was coordinated and edited by Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel (except where other authorship is noted). Elena Martínez Vicente led the design and UX, Mercè Moreno Tarrés provided the illustrations, and Javier Arturo Rodriguez took care of the technical details and backend. Thanks are due to David Bollier, Vasilis Kostakis and Rajesh Makwana for reviewing the texts in the “Shorts” section. Special thanks are also due for the technical expertise and last-minute interventions of our colleague, Lisha Sterling.
How can citizens, policy-makers and businesses co-design circular and regenerative cities?
The Maker Mile (www.makermile.cc) was mapped by Machines Room a FabLab just down the canal on Vyner Street; a cobbled cul de sac filled with wharfs and warehouses home to taxi mechanics, sign printers, and London’s oldest umbrella maker. Instigated by Clear Village and with support from Human Cities, Maker Mile launched during London Design Festival 2015 with Open Mile. For one night 12 spaces opened their workshops and the public could get involved with hands on making and behind the scenes tours of workspaces. Over 600 people collected a map, made locally at East London Print Makers, followed the trail on a rainy Monday night and experienced the thriving community, that many, including those already working there, hadn’t realised was on their doorstep.
Fab City Prototype: TOMORROW
After giving the group a general perspective on the spaces and people that are currently shaping the prototype, participants were invited to work on three particular subjects that are key to designing a roadmap for the future of the neighbourhood:
Fabrication & materials: with complementary production ecosystems happening inside the local network of Fab Labs, citizens have the possibility to produce what they consume, recirculating materials inside the neighbourhood and the city to reduce waste and carbon emissions associated with long-distance mass production and distribution chains.
Food production: growing food on the rooftops of Barcelona. Through urban agriculture practices, citizens can grow part of what they eat turning production of local clean food in a regular pat of their lives.
Energy: Renewable energy production. With the arrival of domestic batteries and the cost drop of solar technologies, citizens have the tools to produce part of their domestic energy consumption.
This Handbook is a practical resource from the Fab City Global Initiative. It aims to be a useful guide for information, tools and other types of materials that can support you and your city to become a locally productive and globally connected city by 2054.
Solidarity as a Business Model.
Platform Co-op Community Hangout: Ela Kagel on Emerging Platform Co-ops in Berlin (November 7, 2018):
Ela Kagel joined us for our first Community Hangout to talk about Technology, Money, and Society. Along with giving us an update on her work with Rchain (https://www.rchain.coop)
, she led a fantastic conversation with our community members.
Ela is a co-founder of SUPERMARKT (https://supermarkt-berlin.net/en/)
, a coworking space & research studio with a focus on digital culture, social innovation and collaborative economy in Berlin.