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sCoolMakers: trading platform where kids extend lifecycle of otherwise non-recyclable plastic toys, reuse more and reduce demand for plastic

sCoolMakers lets kids learn with every exchange they make about the importance of reusing, reducing and recycling goods and materials.

Photo of Rieta Aliredjo
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Kids count in the circular economy

Empowering kids to learn about, care for and participate in the circular economy is key for the transition to a circular economy. Not just because they are the future but also because they are influential within family dynamics in the present.

With sCooLMakers we want to make it fun and easy for kids to trade their used stuff with each other. Giving (plastic) products a longer life and instilling a mindset and skill set that foster a circular economy. Kids will learn to share, to pass on a product they don't use anymore, to value quality and opt for second hand instead of new. We believe kids are willing to learn, because kids are idealist by nature. Given the opportunity to learn about conserving our planet and it's scares resources, they will rise to the occasion. 

With a growing community they become a voice in the present and the future and will be able to create demand for more sustainable products. Their opinion and behaviour counts!

Plastic toys: fun for a bit and then it gets old

Kids use a lot of stuff for a short time. They can't help it: they grow and develop out of their stuff. From all the stuff they use, toys are perhaps, with the exception of a few favourites, the objects that are notoriously short-lived. How many toys succeed in capturing the imagination for longer than perhaps a few days? Unfortunately this has fuelled a $90 billion global toy industry with plastics accounting for 90% of this market. This is a huge problem as featured recently in this Huffington Post Article

We start locally in The Netherlands, where entrepreneurship has deep roots and kids are already motivated to start early. A perfect example being the "free-market" on King's Day, illustrated by the following user case:
Bas (10yo) cleans out his closet. This time he didn't need much convincing by his father to do so, because tomorrow it's King's Day in The Netherlands. The "free-market" is part of the nationwide celebrations of the King's birthday and kids and adults take this opportunity to sell their used stuff and see what bargains are available! Last year he managed to earn €30,-. Half of it he could use to go browsing through the other kids' stuff and half of it went into his piggy bank. "I wish it was King's Day everyday!". His parents would love that too, seeing him tidy his room so eagerly. With sCoolMakers Bas and his parents can experience the excitement of King's Day throughout the year! 

Less waste and more happy faces

Kids (and adults too!) learn by doing, by playing! We make it fun to trade both online as well as offline. We have a working prototype (warenhuisje.nl) where kids can create and upload products to their Space and (only!) trade with friends. On the exchange page is where the product-matchmaking happens. Once all parties agree on the match you've got a deal! Less waste and more happy faces. 

But it doesn't stop with just the trade! We want to connect kids with circular entrepreneurs as well. Kids can aid in the entrepreneur's circular mission and help source materials to re-use and re-cycle. We want to provide kids with the information and tools needed to develop into conscious, innovative and collaborative participants in a circular economy through the enhancement of social, creative and entrepreneurial skills.

"The SDGs can only be realised if children and young people are fully equipped to meet the challenges of the future" - David Nabarro, UN Special Adviser on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

With the goals and targets set by governments and corporates as illustrated by the SDG's we will need to involve the age demographic that will be responsible for a large part of tomorrow's consumption and production, today!

Start to play, create, share and make change happen for a brighter NOW! 

All about collaboration


From the very start collaboration is key. We work together with families and schools to test sCoolMakers (Warehousejr.com) and also help teachers teach about circular economy (7DagenCirculair.nl), we work together with entrepreneurs who can show kids more about the practice of the circular economy (HashtagCircular.com) and we continue to look for partnerships with (local) institutions and companies that can help us in "Empowering Kids to Be Circular Stars" with the Stars Are Circular Foundation

We are open and transparent in our development and ask kids and families for feedback from the start! We are not afraid to fail, be vulnerable and learn, because we firmly believe we achieve our purpose only if we take on an open approach and have continuous conversations with our stakeholders. 

Come on board and collaborate with us! Leave your comments and suggestions below and help us create the best trading platform for kids to exchange their stuff. 

Agustina and Rieta


Idea Title

sCoolMakers: Trading Platform for Kids.
Exchange to Make Change Happen: Play, Create, Share and Make change happen for a brighter NOW.

Company / Organization Name

sCoolMakers v.o.f

Website

scoolmakers.com, starsarecircular.org, warenhuisje.nl, warehousejr.com, 7dagencirculair.nl, hashtagcirculair.nl

Where are you / your team located?

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

If kids get involved with the reuse of goods and are facilitated to do this both online (sCoolMakers) and offline (trade fairs) , we feel the demand for plastic toys will decrease significantly and less plastic toys (and packaging) will end up as waste. One kid at a time can help us change an industry and ban these non-recyclable plastics all together by demanding sustainable toys. Let's take kids seriously, tell them the full story and accept their input in solving the plastics problem.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

- Kids growing out of and getting bored with the stuff during their development.
- Stuff left unused when kids don't need or want gifts received on birthdays, Christmas, etc.
- Schools who want to teach 21st century skills (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, etc)
- Parents wanting to organise all the unused kids stuff but don't find the time to figure out how and execute on it. Get kids involved and let them learn to play, create, share and make change happen for a brighter NOW.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

We are located in the Netherlands and are currently testing a prototype with the name Warenhuisje.nl (Warehousejr.com). We are testing our prototype with families and are also starting a collaborative design phase for the "dream app": sCoolMakers.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

We'd like to develop a platform and toolkit that scales via a social franchise. Local engagement and local eco-systems are key. We want to make it possible for social entrepreneurs all over the world to apply the platform and connect with families, schools, entrepreneurs, businesses and institutions within the local context. The same way we do here in The Netherlands: by building authentic relationships. Real connections only scale with the effort of people no matter what design or technology.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.
  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Although the concept of a marketplace is far from new, a product trading platform (goods for goods) is. Especially one designed specifically for kids. This brings additional challenges with it. What about privacy, security, involving parents (end responsibility) yet giving kids the freedom to learn. We will need to do a lot of testing and figure out the needs of our target groups: parents and kids in different age-brackets. Access to innovation labs and help of industry experts is invaluable!

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Warenhuisje (now sCooLMakers) started with the need to increase awareness about the story of stuff. People were just consuming more and more without looking at the total costs to societies and the environment. I tested the idea by pitching it to friends that are parents, teachers and entrepreneurs. This resulted in positive feedback, additional connections, some early government subsidies to prototype, test and pilot and most recently a partnership with co-founder Agustina.

Tell us about your work experience

Rieta has a Master's in Economics (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and a background in management consulting, organisational development and projectmanagement (Accenture and Municipality of Amsterdam).

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Partnership (Dutch: Vennootschap onder Firma)

2 comments

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Photo of QuickStir: Sugar & Creamer Solution Reinert
Team

Love the idea and the branding on this, Rieta! It seems really fun and focused, and I would love to see this rolled out at-scale!

Could it be a trade-in toys for a points system rather than a trade one-to-one? That way, kids can get points and "save up" to "buy" bigger pieces, etc!

And, could you possibly use traded in toys for workshops on how to build toys, or reuse unruly plastics with a large-scale plastic workshop, such as this open-source idea by Dave Hakkens? https://impacton.org/2017/01/11/precious-plastic/ I feel like turning plastics into 3D printables could be really fun with kids, to use again and again!

Good luck, and great idea!

Photo of Rieta Aliredjo
Team

Thx for your feedback and encouragement Dana! Your suggestions definitely coincide with our plans. At the moment its a good-for-goods prototype, but we want to build in a community currency (points) system and also trading with real money. This will give kids more options. This way, depending on the settings parents determine, kids can grow on the platform.
We also already work together with circular entrepreneurs and want to grow this ecosystem. Kids can then join events /workshops hosted by these entrepreneurs.