Coffee Cycle Stories is our mobile coffee bar, but it’s not just any coffee bar. Coffee Cycle Stories turns circular economy theory into something tangible for everyone.
People can stop by for a cup of coffee, freshly made by our barista, and hear fascinating stories about the reuse of coffee, from bean and skin to coffee grounds. You can see, feel and smell the circular applications yourself. The bar illustrates ‘residual products’ contain the seeds of a whole new economy.
Coffee Cycle Stories is a collaboration between Coffee Café (the Royal Association of Coffee Roasters) and Circular Flanders.
The coffee bar made an appearance 16 times in 2019, at events with an interesting but new audience, i.e. that in most cases hasn't heard of the circular economy yet. You could find us at the VVSG meeting for local authorities, the VITO G-STIC conference, the Supernova science festival, the Fevia annual event, etc.
‘Customer’ reactions were always positive, about the creative applications, the coffee bar and fortunately... about the coffee, too.
In the meantime, the coffee bar has been booked for 25 events. We try to speak to as many ‘customers’ as possible, explaining the basics of a circular economy. A conservative estimate, in which we strike up a conversation with someone for every 10 cups, projects that we held a total of 766 conversations about the circular economy.
In addition to the usual (digital) marketing channels, we consciously invest in 'field marketing', where we visibly participate in events and directly address participants. These conversations are a huge investment compared to digital contact, but it also makes a deeper, lasting impression. We continuously give the aesthetic appeal of a circular economy a boost through genuine dialogue.
Taking The Cooperation A Step Further
The cooperation with the coffee federation that established the coffee bar only whets appetites more for a circular economy. The federation put waste on its members’ agenda and, with King Baudouin Foundation funding, started a process to find scalable applications to valorise coffee residue streams
The Community Workshops
Betergem is a workshop that was developed to inspire communities about a liveable, sustainable and circular future. The project is a collaboration between the Civil Society Transition Network and Circular Flanders. Participants go on an imaginary journey to a public assembly in Betergem, anno 2038. On their ‘arrival’ they discuss the city's future scenarios based on several themes. These themes include housing, working, manufacturing, money, consumption, nutrition, culture and mobility. We consciously injected a good dose of humour and focused on solutions instead of problems.
We actively rolled out the workshop in 2018 via promotional activities and offering an all-in workshop package, including coaching for organisers. All told, we held 48 workshops attended by 1,800 people. Each workshop entailed two hours of dealing with themes such as sustainable and circular management of money, housing, working, mobility, etc.
After the campaign year, we switched gears and offered a DIY package; however, anyone who still wants to organise the workshop can download a handbook, working materials and videos from the www.betergem.be website We also offer a list of ‘accredited’ coaches.
Reburg is an 'imagineering' project that helps visualise and make what living and working in a circular future tangible. The Betergem workshops took off based on a desire to bring these kinds of dream exercises more to life in practice.
As part of the European Buildings as Material Banks Project (BAMB), we also developed a new chapter with VITO on change-oriented construction. Actors use videos to show and tell how the construction industry will have changed by 2050. Current theory and practice are what support the stories.
All too often, information shared about transitions, a circular economy, technological innovations, etc. remains the sole purview of insiders. That also reflected the Civil Society Transition Network’s experience, which is what kindled an interest in trying an alternative to the traditional central events. And that’s how we ended up partnering to develop the Betergem workshops. We gave people without any prior knowledge a chance to work on transition themes through a series of several local – and therefore decentralised – events.