WasteWorld creates its own circular world

Creative entrepreneurs’ initiative with ambition and nerve

From waste samples and a statue for refuse collectors, to an invention quarters and an innovative power plant. WasteWorld will be the first infotainment theme park about circular economy in the world. A promising plan of six entrepreneurs from Brabant. They are developing their own circular world with themes like waste, living environment and energy using creativity and ambition. Did you know, for example, that the entire energy consumption of a person can be captured in a single die of nuclear waste?

“WasteWorld sheds a different light on waste”, says Albert Vleer, who as an architect is part of the team of six. “We want to let visitors discover how they can treat our planet consciously in a fun, exciting and educational way. Without lecturing them but instead, by showing them and letting them experience what circularity is in an objective way and what the consequences are. What we really want to do is create awareness and inspire people using a positive message. We use the strength of creativity to address serious problems like waste and energy. One thing it certainly isn’t is a technology museum.”

“We use the strength of creativity to address serious problems like waste and energy”

Infotainment theme park

The idea for the infotainment theme park – “we still haven’t thought of a better way to describe it” – arose in 2016 during a ‘pressure cooker’ by Midpoint House of Leisure. Within this network partners work together on strengthening and making leisure facilities in Brabant more sustainable to create an attractive living environment. Vleer: “The question was whether we would contribute to the development of the former mobilisation complex in Tilburg. We soon agreed that it should become something that is suited to the area, with water treatment, waste disposal and a biomass plant. The name WasteWorld popped up straight away. We started to develop the concept with seven entrepreneurs and now there are six of us. In the end, we opted for a different location as the grounds in Tilburg will be used for a different purpose. We are now three years down the line and the theme has become more urgent than ever. So we have to hurry, otherwise we’ll miss the boat.”

“The theme is more urgent than ever. So we have to hurry if we don’t want to miss the boat’

High fun factor

The theme park will have a high fun factor and is meant mainly for families with children in the primary school age, grandmas and grandpas, and schools. It also offers companies that occupy themselves with circular economy a platform. Next to the park, a business centre will arise for conferences, product presentations and, for instance training in sustainability. Educational institutions are also actively involved. Tilburg University and students from Helicon, HAS University of Applied Sciences, Fontys and Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUAS) are also collaborating on the development of the concept. At the moment, WasteWorld is no more than a detailed concept, although we do have a Letter of Intent for a location: the Gulbergen estate in Geldrop-Mierlo (near Eindhoven), on a former landfill site – which just happens to be the highest point in Brabant. The hilly landscape would be perfect for the theme park. The family theme park – which costs € 40 million, will provide 200 full-time jobs and aims to attract 250,000 to 400,000 visitors a year from home and abroad – will be built in as circular a way as possible.

In this phase of planning, CWF2019 provides the perfect opportunity for team of six to get participants to think along. We want to challenge them to get the ‘why’ of the theme park clear”, says Vleer. “The theme circular economy is so unbelievably broad; according to participants, what should WasteWorld be? And what do they think about the name? Opinions on the latter differ greatly, especially among people outside the Netherlands. I’m very curious to know what ideas creative people have.”

“We want to challenge participants in CWF2019 to get the ‘why’ of the theme park clear”

Development Goals

It is in any case clear that the aim the initiators have with WasteWorld is to make a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations. The focus will be on seven of the 17 goals: from high-quality education to clean water and sanitary facilities, from affordable and sustainable energy to sustainable cities and communities. “Number 12, responsible consumption and production, is about circularity and sustainability and comes closest to the daily world of children”, says Vleer. “What do you do with plastic waste? How do you deal with waste water? In the theme park, children will literally travel through the world of circularity, guided by a scientist, the founding father of WasteWorld, and an army of robots that he creates.

The team of six aims to make a start soon, with a pop-up at the location they have in mind – a kind of base camp with a WasteWorld experience. If everything goes as planned, WasteWorld will open its doors in the course of 2023.

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