From waste to material. Implementing circular economy pilots in Poland.

3 min readNov 17, 2020


Brief summary and recommendations from the EkoSfera conference panel experts on the next steps in closing waste-material loops in Polish industries.

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Last week Henryk Stawicki, one of our pilots, had a chance to lead an expert panel at an online conference EkoSfera during Poleco - The International Trade Fair for Environmental Protection by the invitation of the Ministry of Climate and Environment. Professionals in the area of sustainability, circular economy, and business responsibility gathered there to share their vision, knowledge, and experience on the implementation of sustainable solutions. Below we have gathered a short summary from the panel discussion on the topic of Systemic Implementation of Circular Economy Models focused on how to increase recovery and reuse of raw materials in Poland. The summary has been build based on the recommendations proposed by the distinguished panel experts. We have divided them into 3 categories — materials & products, culture & education, and systems.

We believe, that the circular change is something everyone may play their role and contribute to — no matter the status or resources. We invite you to contribute with your comments, feedback, or/and case studies. In the end, circular change is based on partnership. Enjoy!


1. Issue guarantees for secondary life materials that follow material passports— to secure the quality and functionality which may be needed to encourage companies to use such materials and perceive them as valuable.

2. Translate circularity indicators and metrics into practical use, to show their business value, and ease of use in practice by employees.


1. Education and awareness of designer’s responsibility and decision making process. Design decisions have critical impact at the subsequent stages (e.g. recycling and materials recovery). Include circular principles and profession ethics in the everyday education of modern designers.

2. Education for adults to approach waste as potential valuable resource. Work on stereotypes about waste in general , such as lower value, effectiveness, uncertainty, lack of trust etc. — both in organizations and housholds.

3. Define and inclute the role of the consumer (user) in the process. Show choice consequences and give incentives to make more circular decisions.

4. Agentise “your Polish self” — reduce cultural complexes built on a belief that it’s hard for Poles to innovate on circular solutions. Benchmarking foreign solutions and “polonising” them in Polish culture is fine, but try to go beyond that. Learn from foreign solutions successes and mistakes and innovate the “next version” of such solution, especially in areas where there are no circular solutions in practice.

category: SYSTEM

1. Systemic solution that supports and encourages starting the smallest circular pilots. In return this should create a clear guidelines on how to take safe first steps as an organisation and allow for seing a business value of circularity by grabing the low-hanging fruits, possibly followed by more holistic decisions.

2. Practical database to catalog and exchange waste as materials. Systemic solution which would allow for tracking materials loops through the value chain.

3. Encourage networking to create partnerships, cross-sectoral cooperation, and circular value-based matchmaking. There are shortages of instruments, as well as cultural barriers for co-creation and co-opetition based partnerships.

4. Start with buidling smaller local closed loops that are easier to connect with each other and might be good pilots to begin with and learn from .

5. Shorten the administrative processes that takes time and energy from enterprises and adapt them to encourage circular changes.

Image from conference EkoSfera / 10.11.2020

Distinguished panel experts: Dr Anna Sapota (Vice President of Government Relations for Northeast Europe within the Group TOMRA), Piotr Woźniakowski (Specialist at Krajowy Ośrodek Zmian Klimatu), Marcin Koziorowski (CEO of EcoBean), Dominika Zielinska (Managing partner at Workplace) and prof Joanna Kulczycka (Dr hab. AGH, Vice-Dean of the Department for Cooperation and Development). The panel was moderated by Henryk Stawicki (Circular Design Strategy Pilot, CEO of Change Pilots)

#ecostrefa #circulardesign #circulareconomy #goz #gospodarkaobieguzamknietego #circularthinking #sustainability #circulardesign #changepilots

Text: Justyna Turek and Henryk Stawicki from Change Pilots




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