Sustainability through a circular economy | Maayke Damen | TEDxYouth@Maastricht

hey guys welcome how are you doing good I have a question for you do you know what you can do with a coffee machine besides making coffee any guesses what one of the things another thing is you can actually make hot plates pancakes on a hot plate of the coffee machine so let me tell you there's one morning I wake up early and at the time I'm studying sustainable development at exact University and I live in this typical Dutch student house and you all know that it's noisy messy a lot of fun and very very dirty so the coffee machine is actually the cleanest thing in our house so I stumble out of my room into the kitchen make myself coffee because I really need coffee and in the meantime I prepared a better to make pancakes on a hot plate coffee is done pour myself a cup of ambition and I pour the batter on the hot plate walk back to my room and as I'm standing in my room start smelling something odd and now there's a lot of odd smells in a Dutch student house but this is different it smells burned so I run back to the kitchen and I see smoke coming out of the coffee machine I'm thinking oh no and while I was half asleep had forgotten to put aluminum foil over the hot plate and the batter had seeped into the sides of the coffee machine and that is the morning our coffee machine died but it is also the morning that gave rise to my next endeavor and so after class because I still had to go to class take the coffee machine to repair store and they are very rare these days and I walk into the store and the shopkeeper is of the type equally rare and I ask him so do you have any spare parts so I can repair the coffee machine and he gives me this confused look no no I don't have any spare parts you not repair this machine you should have goodbye you will have to buy a new one and is much cheaper as well and because I love coffee that is what I did and the next morning I'm again making pancakes on a hot plate and now definitely on a new coffee machine because that is for sure to clean this thing in her house and I'm thinking how ridiculous is that just because one part is broken we throw away a perfectly well-functioning machine that's weird why do we do that and is that normal and because it's normal does that make it right and at that point in time I decide even though I'm just one element in the system and it's a huge system of take make waste production I decide I want to change that I want to change that as quo because I think status quo is ridiculous and over the course of many lunches I start figuring out how that system works what are the dots how are the dots connected and where can I have an impact and I discover many many things during these lunches amongst others where the best order food and good sex but more importantly I discover the power of a circular economy and a circular economy is an economy which wastes does not exist and the best example I can give you is the example of a tree so a tree takes nutrients from the from the ground and it grows leaves and fruits and it feeds animals and it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen and then in autumn the leaves fall off and it provides nutrients for other organisms and then the cycle starts all over again so nothing is waste and nothing is wasted and I'll think about how far we are from that ideal in our society we even created plastic soups in our ocean and another thing this example of the tree is an example in a very small scale but our economy is globalized this vest I'm wearing chyna the dress I'm wearing from Bangladesh the sandwich with harsh law I had this morning France in West Africa and if I start talking about where the materials in your phone come from I will definitely lose your attention but then I realized that is the problem there are so many steps in a production chain then we have no idea what's in our products eventually we don't know the quality or the exact composition and we don't know the word so we just throw it away and I found out we each year throw away to thrill yin to trillion worth of materials an insane amount look at the opportunities and I started googling like what are the opportunities I can see many there are other people that saw these opportunities I found awesome examples I already told you I love coffee we in the Netherlands on average string the most coffee in the world and previously we did nothing with the coffee grounds we just threw it away but now there's a company from friends of mine they started a thriving business using these coffee grounds to grow mushrooms and no it's not the kind of mushrooms you laugh about now and another and another examples of carpets in student houses we live in the carpets the lifespan is very very short there's an awesome company in Australia that takes these carpets converts them into new bikes so but I started thinking these examples are still examples on a small scale and I want something big I want to change that the whole system so fast forward many lunches and I come up with the idea of a resources passport and a resources passport is a google-like database where you track and trace all the steps of a product and the materials in a product over the lifecycle so you have information about the origin about the quality about the exact composition about the worth of the materials because you now know what's in it and I thought the applications are in as a designer you cannot choose to design your product with recycled materials because you know what the quality is as a consumer you can decide you do not want to buy a phone that has conflict materials in it and as a waste processor it's now so much easier to get your business case around it because you now know what's in your waste so you know what it's worth and what you need to invest but the fact that I thought this system was awesome didn't necessarily mean other people thought the same so I started thinking and I realized that just as with my system where I connected the dots to connect information in a new way the application of my system also dependent on the connections I was able to make so I had to go out there and had to give a presentation but I was scared because my idea wasn't necessarily complete or flawless or the best and I still had to do it so every time I had to give a presentation my heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty and they asked me questions that I didn't know the answer to I made me feel terrible I got critical remarks but eventually my ID improved because of that and I am very proud to tell you today that my idea of a resources passport has been made into European and Dutch policy and a big international corporate is programming the algorithm how awesome is that so that all happened because I dared making connections and that is also what I want you to see today the power of making connections your future is dependent on the connections you are going to be able to make and let us look at some recent successful businesses Facebook Linkedin uber Instagram Airbnb they all disrupted their industry because they knew how to leverage the power of connections Airbnb they now rent out more rooms a night than the biggest hotel chain in the world more rooms a night and they don't even own any property how cool is that just because they know how to make connections and things are changing fast a couple years ago Airbnb didn't exist nobody saw them coming especially not the biggest hotel chain so they didn't know what to do they weren't prepared and factor in things like 3d printing nanotechnology biotechnology AI and we have this amazing mix of potential but it's getting so complex and it's like a tsunami of information that's racing towards us and how are we going to make sure that we are going to serve that wave instead of drown how are we going to do that and that is in the power of making connections and you can do that too they do not have to do that alone No doing that together is part of that and when I realized that I also knew what my next step was going to be I was going to help facilitate making these connections so now every Wednesday night and I know people are here have been their speakers as well but also people in the audience I host a dinner for people that want to change status quo that want to disrupt the system or themselves and in an environment where nothing is too crazy and no ideas too out there and everything is good enough we start thinking how can we come up with new connections like making pancakes on a hot plate how can we innovate connect the dots in a different way by coming up with the resources password and how can we do that together share improve and each week we invite new people and we've had journalists from China diplomats from Nigeria artists from Peru and the perspective they bring it's amazing and the ideas that come from that are awesome and I'm not the only one organizing these dinners it's at five places in the world already and we're growing and here today I want you to during breakfast invite you to think about how you educate yourself how you come up with new connections during the lunch I want you to think about new ways to connect the dots innovate and during dinner I want you to share engage and scale up and if you're equally excited as I am about that there's only one thing for me left to say and that is enjoy your meals

  1. Very nice Talk, I really appreciates you guys finally realized the importance of the natural resources, here in our country we are already in to circular economy and circulating. We are reusing, repairing several times, recovering materials and recycling waste products. And we are struggling to make it 100%.

  2. Great talk, just one correction. Netherlands do not drink the most coffee per capita in the world, just hope the rest of her facts are correct.

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