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Tramas / English Version

Projeto Tramas will establish a dynamic local network connecting the social context of recycling workers with creative talents, educational institutions, as well as business partners and government areas. To mention only a few of those:

  1. Tancredo Neves, a municipal school that offers a technical course on Information Technologies integrated to high school (15 - 17 year old students, often coming from impoverished communities and families).
  1. Projeto Tramas was conceived and is developed through inc.ubalab, a collaborative networked incubator of socio-ecological innovation that connects over 30 projects in Ubatuba. Felipe Fonseca, articulator of Projeto Tramas, is also the coordinator of inc.ubalab.
  1. GT Residuos Sólidos is a civil society group that have been created to foster the recycling in the municipality of Ubatuba.

Tramas' first step will be to promote the development of at least one creative venture that will repair and reintroduce affordable electric and electronic devices. But that's only the first step - and one with high visibility and social appeal - to the underlying plan of turning an enabler of creative entrepreneurship based on the reuse of discarded materials. The inc.ubalab collaborative incubator already has projects that will benefit from Tramas as for example:

  1. SUP ecológico (stand-up paddles made of plastic bottles);
  2. Pneuzaria (handcrafted furniture and apparel made from discarded car tires);
  3. Bike Boat (floating bycicle made from bike parts and scrap metal).

Not only will Tramas provide means for projects as these to source their materials, but also invite creatives and entrepreneurs to learn what kinds of materials are available, how to process and use them, and experience workshops to discover new possibilities. We expect the project to engage at least six - and possibly more - creative ventures by the end of its 15 months term.

Projeto Tramas will create opportunities for innovative social businesses based on the creative reuse of discarded materials in Ubatuba, south east Brazil. In order to do so the project will map local capacities, promote exchange and build skills, to generate value from objects otherwise treated as ordinary waste. The main beneficiary is the social context around a local cooperative association of collectors of recyclable materials.

The Restart Project has a vision of helping people learn to repair their broken electronics, house appliances and other devices, and along the way rethink how they buy, use and discard such objects. It has engaged in resource efficiency at the local level since its founding in 2013. It hopes to learn from innovation in Brazil - how networks of educators, recyclers and fixers can be mobilised to prevent waste, pollution and help more people gain access to technology and income. The Restart Project has interest from local authorities in the UK, and is looking to offer a more holistic model for action on resources at a local and regional level. This project will help approach this question, and learn from a completely new and different context. Restart has yet to work with a marginalised target group on building skills. This project is particularly interesting to work with an empowered cooperative. It will help Restart learn how to identify the qualities to look for in strong, empowered marginalised partners in the UK. Restart is also interested in learning from the creativity and improvisational spirit of Brazilian tinkerers and fixers. We foresee some fascinating media work and profiles that could emerge from the project and reach a greater audience in the UK.

More than 80% of Ubatuba's territory is in nature conservation units. That condition shows its environmental legacy and biodiversity, but also poses particular challenges. The city has no landfill for waste disposal since 2004. But its population generates a huge amount of solid waste. The company hired by the municipality to take care of solid waste collection sends at least 85 daily tonnes (outside high season, when it gets worst) of unsorted materials to a city 160km away, on cargo trucks. All goes to a landfill. The local context has been working with little to no official support, to reduce the amount of waste being sent, all the while generating opportunities of business and employment. They have been offered well located but precarious facilities and acquired a truck via a partnership with a network of cooperatives. With their knowledge of the territory and of the appropriate destination of each type of material, they are already generating positive impact in the city, with an estimated 60 tonnes a month of materials sent to recycling. Projeto Tramas will add another layer to it: instead of only sorting stuff to be recycled, it will also introduce upcycling - a knowledgeable and creative approach to reuse materials deemed useless.

The project will start focusing on electrical and electronic devices. Most of electro-electronic waste in Brazil is currently sent to landfills. As well as the environmental impact of mixing potentially toxic materials with regular waste, this also means throwing away objects with embedded knowledge which could still have value. Even sending these materials to recycling represents missed opportunities. A conscious and creative effort to repairing and reusing such materials increases their market value up to thirty times when compared to selling them by weight. The first goal of Projeto Tramas will be articulating partnerships to increase the local capacity to sort, test, repair and value electronic and electric waste. That means knowledge exchange with The Restart Project and other organisations in Brazil and abroad, as well as setting up a laboratory for electronic repair. The lab will be run by young students from a technical school. Their role will be learning how to test and repair electrical and electronic devices, and passing this knowledge on to members of the cooperative. 
 Refurbished devices will be sold for affordable prices, and distributed using the same logistic network already used to collect materials. Devices that can not be fixed will be disassembled and their components tested and sold as replacement parts when possible. Materials considered unusable in their original purpose will be offered as scraps or parts that can be combined into new products. Only when there is no possible reuse and all the value has been extracted will the residual materials be sorted and sent to recycling. 
 Projeto Tramas will also explore the creative reuse of other materials, promoting exchange with artists, designers, craftsmen, inventors, educators, architects, engineers and others. This will open up a local market for the innovative appropriation of materials, generating value before sending them to recycling. The project will foster opportunities for social creative businesses both within the cooperative and its surroundings. It will thus generate local jobs, reduce the amount of waste being sent to recycling in other cities, and help to sustain the operations. It can serve as a model for similar initiatives around the world.

The idea is that Projeto Tramas will use all of the funding in the territory and its surroundings to develop the following activities:

  1. Map relevant knowledge about the territory and modes of work;

The idea here is to have a broader vision of everything that can relate to the project, in order to create a bigger network so everyone involved can beneficiate from the project and stimulate new partnerships and enterprises.

  1. Promote exchange - local, regional and international generating relevant knowledge and making it public;

We intend first to learn with other enterprises that have been working in this field so that we can improve on these models and then develop an open methodology that can be replicated in other localities.

  1. Plan and structure the operation of a repair lab / creative studio;

Based on the information gathered on the mapping and the exchange we will start to define the routes, collection of the waste, buy the equipment and tools to disassemble, repair, refurbish, and upcycle the materials.

  1. Develop appropriate business models for social creative entrepreneurship with discarded materials.

Strategic and business plan will be designed by everyone involved in order to have a clear vision of what is needed, the goals, opportunities and threats. It will be monitored along the 15 months of the project to assure efficiency and good results.

  1. Train interns, employees and management;

Specific training will be offered to all different areas of the emerging enterprises, including logistics, technology, financial, management, insight management, bookkeeping, assessment of outcomes, conflict resolution etc…

  1. Communications and PR

A website will be launch together with presence in social networks. Using an extended network of partners, public press and local newspapers we expect to spread the information about the project and inform the public about collection dates, materials to be sent, and also where to buy the resulting products afterwards. A video will be made as part of the PR effort, showing conditions before and after the project was implemented.

  1. Workshop Repair Day

Our team will set a temporary open lab on a main square where people will be able to go there and bring they electronic material to be fixed and checked, workshops will also be help explaining about how to check devices and upcycling.

  1. Upcycling residencies

Two calls for residencies will be opened during the project - the first to experiment with materials and possibilities, and the second to help develop products from common materials discarded in Ubatuba.

The impact will be measured around the followings goals (it's important to bear in mind that after the business plan is created other indicators will likely appear in the project):

  •  Jobs created
  • Income generated via refurbished electronics sales
  •  Income generated via electronics parts sales
  • Income generated via recycling sales
  • Amount of electronics collected in kilos
  • Amount of electronics collected in units
  • Avoided products sent to landfill in kilos
  • Quantity of products reinserted in the market
  • Quantity of upcycled products
  • Collaboration with other waste picker cooperatives
  • Collaboration with other partners and enterprises

The idea as we said is to inform about the project in every potential media in the region and throughout our partners in Brazil and around the world. The main platforms will be:

* Social networks

  • Website
  • Zero waste initiative conference and other initiatives in Brazil to present a paper of the project
  • Partner portals and newsletters
  • Manual for implementing electronic recycling cells in waste cooperatives
  • Partner press presence
  • Institutional Video
  • Final Publication with the results

As previously explained in the project vision Projeto Tramas will foster the creation of new social/environmental/creative businesses within a grassroots waste picker cooperative association. The coop is led by a local black woman and employs other women from marginalized groups and young members of impoverished communities.

This project will also foster partnerships with other coops that will benefit from new business opportunities as well as possibly replicating Projeto Tramas' approach in their own contexts. Additionally, local shops and companies that usually have environmental impact from sending they electronic residues to landfill will have a means to correctly discard those materials. Taking into account that materials will be repaired, refurbished and upcycled, and considering that in Ubatuba there is a high proportion of people in low income situations, having more affordable electronic material will be a great deal to the community.

Therefore, the project will achieve immediate results in all areas of the sustainability tripod:

Environmental: Reduce consumption of new products Avoid products sending to landfill or in protected areas

Social: Empower women and people from disadvantaged groups Have black women in leaderships positions Employ people form disadvantage groups Stimulate partnerships

Economics: Generate income for unemployed people Offer cheaper products for the community Improve the turnover of other enterprises

In the long term the idea is to: Have a sustainable open social technology that can be replicated in other regions Have the members empowered to be active involved in public policies definition related to solid waste Build a strong network to deal with the electronics issue in a creative and sustainable way. The main risk of the project is to be unable to become sustainable over the period of its development.

The sustainability of Projeto Tramas will come from the revenue made from selling refurbished and upcycled products, selling their parts as components, and the rest of the residues as plastic and other recyclable materials. Therefore, one the great risk is to be unable to reach a reasonable amount of electronics collected to sustain the project. In order to mitigate that risk, and ensure enough material to work with, Projeto Tramas will develop the following activities.

1. Mapping and partner with other cooperatives from the surroundings 2. Mapping and partnering with local businesses that generate or receive electronic residues. 3. Prepare PR campaign in the beginning via local newspapers, city hall and other partners portals. 4. Providing wages for the co-workers until we reach the optimal point

There is also the risk of mismanagement and lack of technical capacity to run the enterprise. To overcome this risks, we are providing technical consultancy and training for 9 months and management consultancy includes training and support in finances, logistics, marketing, articulation, in sight management implementation, conflict resolution among others for the whole period of the project.

The other risk (low one) is to be unable to sell the refurbished products and parts. To avoid that we will map all the actors that sell or buy electronic products and parts, promote bazaars and participate in market fairs.

The grants will be allocated to the following activities:

1. Management and operations Consultancy

A local consultant will be allocated to advise and follow the project during the 15 months. Secondly will be to map and articulate the network that can relate to the project. Thirdly will be to select and train the team and start to implement the business plan.

2. Setting up the electronic lab / creative studio

Building an infrastructure or even renting a shed to allocate the lab. Buying all the material needed for the work (Separating table, tools, bags, discard recipients, computer, office material etc…)

3. Communications and PR

Setting up a website. Setting up a Facebook fanpage. Advertisement in the local news weekly and then monthly. Video of the project in 3 different phases (before, during and after) that will serve to publicize the project and can also help in future fundraisings activities. Translating all the documents in Portuguese and English. Manual of how to implement a social/creative enterprise to upcycle, reduce consumption, reuse and properly recycle electronics and electric material.

5. Workshop Repair Day Two workshops will be held in Ubatuba´s public square where people will be able to take their devices to be checked and fixed, upcycling lectures and other activities will be held open to everyone.

6. Upcycling Residence

Two calls for residencies will be opened during the project - the first to experiment with materials and possibilities, and the second to help develop products from common materials discarded in Ubatuba.

Samuel Gabanyi graduated in Public administration and has a master’s degree in Sustainable Development. Samuel have been working with sustainability issues for over 15 years including works with cooperative development, education for sustainability and many other social and environmental projects. Last year he was an assistant teacher of social businesses enterprises in FGV University and have been working as a volunteer with the Ubatuba waste picker cooperative.

Felipe Fonseca is an independent researcher, teacher and social entrepreneur. He founded MetaReciclagem, a network of computer repair labs, in 2003; was a core member of the Lixo Eletrônico collective; and has been studying experimental laboratories for a decade. Felipe lives in Ubatuba, heads UbaLab and plays a lead role on local projects such as ninho co-working space, inc.ubalab collaborative incubator and project agency.