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Dr. Marinka Vovk, Center ponovne uporabe d.o.o., SO.P.

A paradigm of sustainability and active forms of socializing

A review of the facts in European countries at the beginning of the 21st century shows that the consumption of natural resources and environmental services is disproportionately high and has long caused not only local and regional environmental problems, but also global ones. At the same time, in global comparisons, European countries prove to be relatively successful in ensuring a higher material standard and quality of life, which is reflected in the increase in life expectancy, raising the level of education, progress in medicine and science, etc..  The paradigm of sustainable development requires us to simultaneously compare achievements in the economic, social and environmental fields when weighing the scope and severity of various development problems. Over the past decade, the Human Development Index has established itself as an important barometer of. Thus, it does not include individual aspects of political freedom, social security and justice, quality of living environment and the like. Nevertheless, it represents an important orientation in political decision-making and monitoring progress in achieving socio-economic goals.

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Social innovation for less loneliness

Synergy between the circular economy and the motivation to protect resources

The reuse activity carried out by the Reuse Center has created a new market niche for exits from the programs with the castle café repair shop, which is an opportunity to develop social skills, increase functional competencies for inclusion in society, acquire knowledge and information that they lead to the resolution of social hardships and problems that often accompany long-term unemployment. The involvement of participants in these processes enables the simultaneous development of the local community. The program will develop a wide range of professional services needed to fulfill tasks and complete activities related to rule management, business ecosystem functionality and environmental management. Social networking and innovation, which characterize environmental and resource management, and entrepreneurship and commercialization resulting from rule management, form the background for the implementation of transactions, which we set as a new model of cooperation between social enterprises, public enterprises and NGOs. It is in our interest to manage resources and use and develop local resources. The new model of sustainable local development thus brings new possibilities within the framework of socially responsible entrepreneurship:

• Meet their needs

• Preserves its environment for future generations

• Ensure a reasonable quality of life

• It creates a solid foundation for successful participation in the global economy


The principle of circulation for zero waste

These results represent the main purpose of a sustainable local economy and healthy development, which is catalyzed and promoted by social activation, which is carried out through the operation Castle Repair Café and enables the development of social capital in the local and wider environment.

An example of local development is realized through CPU activities based on the need to reduce social problems due to the non-inclusion of target groups in the community and the need to revive Ormož Castle, which remained empty after the relocation of the library. Therefore, with the social activation operation, we are establishing a new, different, attractive and modern offer according to the "DIY" (do it yourself) system, which basically applies a new model of the social community. The added value of the castle café is precisely the "do it yourself" approach, which enables the active involvement of people and thus the acquisition of skills and motivation to create. Thus, with the established repair shop, we concretely contributed to the development of new jobs due to the new offer in the local community and to the preservation of heritage through intergenerational activities. The café repair shop will thus become a place for socializing and creating various delicacies and products, which will attract both locals and tourists. With the new offer, we are helping to reduce the use of resources in the local environment and to connect social capital, which is crucial for the implementation of the circular economy approach in every local environment. The premises in the abandoned Ormož Castle have been renovated and equipped according to the principle of re-use, so there is no product or new equipment. Everything is done locally, made in an innovative way, so that it encourages creativity and local production. The premises are in three castle rooms: disabled people employed in the sewing room of the EKO Ormož employment center make various products from surplus textiles and clothing, such as bags, various bags, backpacks, clothes, household utensils, unique aprons for children, women and men; these are products that cannot be bought in a classic store, as they are made of 100% waste material, where the uniqueness of the product is achieved through design. It is also made to order, customers can sew or repair their own clothes, sew tablecloths, curtains, shorten pants, etc. Products are made The sewing room is nostalgically furnished with pieces of furniture reminiscent of the past, and at the same time the functionality of the equipment layout is perceived. The cutting table is e.g. made of bed and cupboard, classic cupboards are raised with waste wood, antique sewing machine has the function of a storage surface. Middle room - a local shop offers the opportunity to buy clothes, handbags, shoes at a symbolic price and draws attention to the importance of social responsibility in fashion. The children's corner is a mini workshop ", where there is a lot of practical equipment and products that encourage creativity. By using the sensory table, children will gain in manual skills and thus strengthen fine motor skills, which is already becoming a serious problem. The central room is a café repair shop, where you make your own coffee on the sand. Coffee is also from home roasters; it is interesting that you first have to grind your coffee with a coffee grinder, boil it in a jug and choose a vintage cup, which you then take home. The cup reminds us again and again of the importance of circulating the raw materials contained in products that many throw away as waste. So you need to make coffee (not wait for someone else to do it), according to your wishes and taste. The do-it-yourself principle is what modern society lacks to become happier. And that’s key in a coffee shop repair shop. So, the coffee is drunk in the chosen cup, the coffee grounds are poured into a homemade milk jug, as this is used to grow beech oysters. That’s why there’s a mushroom corner in this room where you learn to grow mushrooms and so think about new businesses that are emerging as a problem.


Principle of circularity              

Exchange of experience and a local approach of using resources: Why, how, with whom?

Circulating resources is thus a key task of a coffee shop repair shop, which also offers the opportunity to learn to make local delicacies yourself that go into oblivion. This way you can prepare your own Prlekija delicacy, with the help of a master. Only when you prepare your own coffee, food, product, do you appreciate the work done. Therefore, with the Castle Café Repair we bring a new understanding of the importance of valuing work, responsibility, challenges and responsibility, which leads to satisfaction. Society needs a new path that leads to greater satisfaction and finding solutions along the path of nature. If ever, then we certainly now need different values ​​that come from man and shape a more satisfied society. With the participation of the local community, Ormož is an example of the transformation of waste into raw material and a return to natural laws that lead to an understanding of natural circulation systems. The circular economy is therefore not something new, it is something self-evident, where we can strengthen social capital for the benefit of nature and people and thus increase the quality of life.

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Fixing fashion – SIC Socialines dirbtuves

Aiste Dailidonyte, VsI Socialiniu Inovaciju centras.

As the world burns and we enter a new era of climate change, sustainable fashion is becoming more important than ever. In fact, according to research from Cone Communications, 71% of consumers say they are willing to spend more on sustainable products. This is why it's no surprise that some of the biggest names in fashion are now making moves towards sustainability. From Gucci to Burberry, brands are taking major steps in the right direction. It's not just the big brands though. Smaller brands are also embracing sustainable materials and ethical production practices, which means there's never been a better time for conscious shoppers who want to make a difference with their money and style choices.

One of these small sustainable fashion brands is – SIC Socialines dirbtuves based in Lithuania, Siauliai. The fast-changing collections of fast fashion companies and the low quality of their short-lived products have made fashion disposable over the last decades. Clothing is one of the biggest waste streams in the world, accounting for up to 17% of global municipal solid waste. SIC Socialines dirbtuves try to create all products from recycled, used materials and their main sponsors are customers, who donate obsolete materials and clothes.


From used material SIC create: handbags, makeup bags, rugs, table decorations.


Speaking of production, it is not only the “how”, but also the “where” and "who". Pandemic made us realize that it is very important to support local business. It also has helped for people to discover many authentic and exclusive small businesses with exceptional quality and unique products. We therefore believe that shopping in local small business will be more and more popular in the future.

All of SIC socialines dirbtuves products are designed, manufactured and shipped by wonderful and highly creative project participants with mental and / or intellectual disabilities.


SIC Socialines dirbtuves: “Our goal - reduce consumption, reuse, recycle - these are the basic principles of Zero waste, which are easy to apply in everyday life. ​ We grow and educate consumers ​ We believe that in the modern pace of life, it is important to use awareness and to be a conscious consumer. We encourage our customers to think about whether they really need it before making a purchase. ​“.

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