The Start of 7DaysCircular

Rieta Aliredjo /// 7 March 2017

How do we explain what circular economy is to children? And is this important? In the adult world, the government and the business sector are increasingly speaking about sustainability and formulating ambitions for a fully circular economy. Those who have to make a major contribution to this are still in school.

The Netherlands circular in 2050

In September 2016, the national government published the Netherlands Circular Report in 2050. In 2030, the Netherlands must use 50% less primary raw materials and by 2050 there must be a (completely) circular economy.

The report pays a great deal of attention to what companies can do and there is still little information about how (young) citizens can contribute. I believe in the impact of personal choices. In the end, every company consists of people. Every producer is a consumer and often vice versa.

In 2050 the children who are now in group 7 or 8 are around 45 years old. They have completed their education, started working and probably have a family by then. Throughout their lives they are consumers and in part possibly also producers. What choices are they going to make?

Let children learn about the Circular Economy

I believe that children are idealist by nature who want to improve the world. Love for nature, care for each other, curiosity, creativity, aren’t we all born with it to some extent? How is it that we face so many societal challenges in which it seems as if we have lost those qualities? I have no answer and there is probably no clear answer.

However, I think it is important to nourish, develop and appreciate these qualities early in life, with children. Let us learn from children, see what they need to further develop creativity, curiosity, care for each other and for nature. By facilitating this process, children grow up as conscious consumers and producers. Then concepts like sustainability and circular economy automatically become the new normal.

Getting started with WarehouseJR

With WarehouseJR we offer children their own marketplace, where they can trade their used items together. Children outgrow their stuff quickly. Fortunately donating or selling happens more and more. Parents take the lead in this, but children can do this themselves. With WarehouseJR we give the ownership back to the children. Under the supervision of the parents they can learn with and from each other.

Warehousejr goes beyond just offering a marketplace. Our mission is to support children in their development to conscious consumers and producers. Warehousejr is a learning environment: learning by doing. Children not only gain access to each other’s department stores, but also make connections with circular entrepreneurs who can make something new with their used items. We make the timeliness around sustainability and circular economy accessible and interesting for children and we ensure that all this is a fun and inspiring experience, for example by adding game elements.

We develop WarehouseJR with care and attention for children. A clear connection with the local environment and economy is an integral part of this. We do not want to build an anonymous platform, but a platform that facilitates offline connections, where children recognise each other and get to know each other. WarehouseJR starts in the neighbourhood and the radius for exchanges is in principle no bigger than the city.

Week of the Circular Economy at school: 7DaysCircular

The school as a stakeholder is a logical deduction for us of the importance we attach to education and the local society and economy.

In the first discussions about Warehousejr that I conducted with parents in my circle of friends, it was often mentioned that it would tie in well with project weeks at school. Project weeks around sustainability, technology, nature, entrepreneurship, media literacy, dealing with money: these are examples of curricula that are becoming increasingly common. These are also themes that are all addressed when you talk about circular economy.

With 7DaysCircular we want to offer added value to schools in search of innovative educational programs, which are in line with the core objectives and advice for our education in 2032. 

7DaysCircular also gives us the opportunity to develop the Warehousejr not only for children, but also with children.