TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, with short but powerful talks uniting the world’s most inspired thinkers. We felt deeply honoured to have been invited 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 gave an insight into the story of ecoBirdy: how the first ideas emerged, the beginnings of ecoBirdy, and the huge challenges it faced and how they were overcome. It is ecoBirdy’s true story, the story full circle.
Joris was the first speaker of the evening, it was he who had to open the TEDx event. We were all quite nervous just before Joris went on the stage, but as soon as he stood there, his story gripped everyone's attention: 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 in the news nowadays, but ecoBirdy’s studies and researches already started many years ago. During these researches we found out which sector uses plastic the most intensively: the toy sector. And most of them are not recycled. Many challenging questions were asked: 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 ecoBirdy's efforts of more than two years of researches and hard work: When our Charlie chair - entirely made of recycled plastic – was shown on the screen, a “wooow” went through the whole audience. Despite all the difficulties, ecoBirdy 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 the Charlie chair – pointed out the flakes, recognising pieces of their old toys in it. “That completes the circle in their minds, and closes the loop. 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 brings the story full circle.”