Boaz Bar-Adon is the founder of Ecodam, a startup that wants to create a place where children can actively learn about sustainability and the circular economy.
“Our big dream is a physical place where children can come to get acquainted with all aspects of sustainability—a kind of science museum, but with more focus on the concept of circularity and the role young people can play in the new economy.
It’s almost a cliche, but our children are the future. If we make them realise that we need to use resources in a different way, they will take that with them for the rest of their adult lives — no matter what profession they enter later. As a museum and exhibition designer, I see there is too little awareness among clients, designers and builders about the scarcity of materials. That should really change for future generations.''
''Recently, my associate, Pieter de Stefano, and I decided that we want to start making an impact as soon as possible. We designed a plastic-themed mobile pop-up lab. We recently gave our first successful workshop, and we plan to do it more often. In our school workshops, we give a brief explanation about circularity and the impact we have on the environment. But the most important part is when the children work on the concept of circularity. Together, we invent solutions and build prototypes. We let the children think about the problem and then let them come up with solutions themselves.”
“Once it got going, the group we gave the workshop to was unstoppable. A few girls designed an entire landscape from old waste, which was a prototype of an environment where children do not throw away their old toys but collect them. Another group built a submarine to remove plastic from the sea, inspired by the Dutch nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup. The workshop ended with children creating, with specialised machines, new products from plastic waste. In the future, Ecodam could be a place where schools and universities test or show new materials or techniques. Local authorities that want to promote new policies around waste or the circular economy can also work with us. In Ecodam, they can see how children react to their policies. Maybe they will come up with new ideas.''
''We would like a permanent space so we can work with large machines: a shredder, for example, that cuts plastic parts into small pieces or a machine that melts them and can then press the liquid plastic into a mould. Children can create new building materials with these machines, making technology something very tangible and rewarding.
I'd love to hear of any tips people may have for a permanent space. We are a social enterprise, still investigating which business model works best for us. We will probably be partly supported by subsidies, but we are also looking for fresh ideas for smart new financing methods. How can social value be translated into financial value? Our final goal is being able to facilitate as many visitors as possible and provide them with a meaningful and high-quality experience.”
If you’d like to get in touch with Boaz, you can find him on this platform.
This interview is part of the series 'Meet the Members of Amsterdam Smart City'. In the next weeks we will introduce more members of this community to you. Would you like show up in the series? Drop us a message!
Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk