TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, with short but powerful talks uniting the world’s most inspired thinkers. We felt deeply honoured to be able to become part of this community and tell our story about ecoBirdy to such a big audience.
It was the very first time, our co-founder Joris Vanbriel has given an insight to the story of ecoBirdy: where the first ideas emerged, the beginnings of ecoBirdy with big challenges and how we faced and overcame them together. It is ecoBirdy’s true story, the story full circle.
Joris was the first speaker of the evening, it was him to open up the TEDx event. We were all quite nervous just before Joris went on the stage, but as soon as he was standing there all minds were completely into his story: he started to tell about his childhood, when he already was inspired to become a designer: “making problems and finding solutions” as he says.
Environmental issues related to plastic pollution are very much on the news today, but ecoBirdy’s studies and researches started already many years ago. During these researches we found out which sector uses plastic most intensively: the toys sector. And most of them are not recycled. There were many questions and challenges coming up: Why is it so difficult to recycle plastic toys? How can we change this? Is it possible to improve the recycling process with today’s technology? Joris also gives some insights into the technical development of the recycling process.
And then the highlight, the result of all our efforts of more than two years of researches and hard work: When our chair Charlie - entirely made of recycled plastic – was shown on the screen, a “wooow” went through the whole audience. Despite all difficulties we have succeeded in transforming discarded plastic toys into beautiful kid-sized design furniture pieces.
“But my story doesn’t end here, it is just about to start…” Joris continues when talking about the storybook and school programme that have been developed to tell children about the plastic issue and inspire them to care for our beautiful planet’s future, while contributing to ecoBirdy with the collection of their old toys. Joris ends his talk with a very nice anecdote from one school visit: When children – the first time they saw Charlie the chair – pointed out the flakes recognizing pieces of their old toys in it. “That makes the circle completed in their minds, and the loop is closed. The colourful toys have been transformed into beautiful products that accompany the children once again. That makes for children a first experience of the circular economy and makes the story full circle.”