We have lift off!

The Oxford Circular Collective saw its launch on Saturday 30 January 2016 at the Restore Café off Cowley Road 🙂

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It was great to see people from all backgrounds – those who have watched and helped the collective grow by putting ideas together and helping with organising events, those who’ve acted as upstream household clients and who have helped us test out the waters of the first collection rounds; members of other local groups such as Abundance and OxGrow, members of Oxford’s Broken Spoke Bike coop, of the Oxford Hackspace, and the president of Oxford Hub; city councillors affiliated with the Green Party, coordinators of the CAG Oxfordshire network, and graphic designers. But most importantly, we were honoured to enjoy the presence of a special guest – Rebecca Colley from Bangor University’s Sustainability Lab, former chairperson of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Wales whose experience in the field of the circular economy and sustainable solutions brought invaluable insights into what the Collective can be.

The day started with tea, coffee, biscuits and light music DJ’ed by Jack Barnett, like any pleasant day should start. People had the chance to get to know each other, find out more about the local sustainable culture of Oxford, and to build connections.

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Alexandra Mateş, the chair and founder of the group, held a half-hour presentation introducing the who, why, what, what next of the group. The main message was that the Collective seeks to grow beyond just an idea towards the implementation of a local charitable circular economy and towards the ideal of being an exemplar approach to how a global circular economy can be implemented. By acting as middlemen for charities and reuse-repair-upcycle organisations, resources can once again flow and their value can be reflected in a more prosperous environmentally and socially friendly society. All this while we have fun working together, staying active and informed, and enjoying a pleasant atmosphere listening to live music played by local artists at our sorting sessions and other events!

The presentation was followed by a very engaging discussion on a few important aspects of the collective. Some of these include rethinking the message of the collective from “we collect anything that fits in a bike trailer” to “we collect anything that you think may be reused or repaired by our downstream partners”. This would ensure that we are doing things right from a legal point of view and can continue to provide a valuable, feasible service. The fate of recyclable items were also discussed, and one of the points raised on this topic was the possibility of acquiring a waste carrier certificate, or other forms of permits.

David Thomas, Green councillor for the Hollywel ward pointed out that there are funding possibilities from Oxford’s councillor community funds, and there are good chances that the Collective may find a workspace home in one of Oxford’s Community Centres. Our attendant involved with OxHack stirred up our enthusiasm suggesting that Oxford Hackspace may be soon looking into hosting Oxford’s first program of repair cafés. Ronja Lutz from Oxford Hub introduced the organisation that she presides and showed great interest in initiating a collaboration – either through promoting the collective to Oxford University’s network of student volunteers as an activity to be involved in, or as a starting point to obtain / pass forwards items that they need / no longer need at move-in and move-out of Oxford.

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The day ended with a very pleasant lunch at the event organised by the Food Surplus Cafe, one of Oxford’s other Community Action Groups. The FSC takes (mainly vegetarian) food from Oxford’s Food Bank (who in turn take it from local supermarkets who would have otherwise wasted it), cooks it up and serves it to anyone who happens to know of the event or to pass by, and accept a pay-as-you-feel contribution. We met there many more such lovely people and told them our story of the day, and heard their stories of the day heard.

Soooo … thanks for reading so far!

If we’ve got your interest and would like to stay in touch, we’d love to have you with us! You can sign up to our emailing list or request to join our facebook group. You can leave your comments in the section below, you can join us at the next events we’re thinking of attending, see what it means to be a member here, or you could spread the word of this post 🙂

Happy circularity, yours,

The Circular Collective team

 Tulum with an artichoke | Ronjua with a goody food box

PS: apologies for not getting around to doing an official count of the clothes bag, but happy to say that the *lucky winner* of a request of a *solid gold hat* is … Johnny Fill! ^^

 

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