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Circular Economy Week 2023

by Elsa Kenningham, Workspace Community Coordinator
and Freya Bishop, Workspace Community & Events Manager. 
1st November 2023


Meanwhile use and circular economy come hand in hand as ways to utilise the resources that we already have. Circular Economy Week, run by ReLondon, is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of repurposing and making do to avoid unnecessary energy consumption and the production of more stuff. It’s also a chance to share ideas and knowledge about how to waste less and reduce, reuse, recycle more. Many Meanwhile Space tenants already run businesses in line with Circular Economy values, but it was a pleasure to see how many stepped up to put on special events during CE Week 2023 in an effort to promote awareness. Here’s a summary of what went on... 

On Tuesday we opened the doors of the Hithe for a tour of the ever-evolving community garden. Thomas Bryans, one of the founders of the architecture practice IF_DO, then joined Avital Wittenberg, Senior Design Project Manager at Meanwhile Space, to discuss demountable structures in the context of sustainability and circular economy principles. This was followed by a lively Q&A session around sustainable architecture and environmental innovation. 


On Saturday we hosted the latest in our community event programme: a seed packet making workshop.  

Ellie Coombs, lighting designer and Hithe tenant, devised a simple but effective folding technique to create sturdy origami envelopes. We used paper collected at the Hithe – scraps that people no longer needed, in the spirit of circular economy. To finish off the packets we decorated with stamps, pens, and pencils. Each design ended up totally unique as participants got creative and personalised their packets.  


The seeds themselves had been salvaged by Rosie who runs community gardening sessions on Saturday mornings. Crushing nigella seeds through a colander is as fun as it sounds, and a hands-on way to learn about the cycle of plant life. The kids couldn’t wait to get home and start growing their new flowers! 

Over at Blue House Yard, Growing Communities who run a veg drop-off in the Yard, ran a seed swap evening. This was a chance for green-fingered locals to exchange both their seeds and their gardening tips.  


Two of our circular-minded businesses put on special CE Week offers: Fixlosophy provides bike repairs and accessories; Tot Swap is London’s only pre-loved clothing exchange shop for children. Four Otters Craft Studio ran upcycling knitwear and sock darning workshops. 

In Loughborough Junction, LJ Works' tenants hosted two events. We had Get Rid of and Donate, who are an environmental non-profit organisation focusing on reducing domestic and commercial waste to landfills by recycling and tackling poverty in communities. For circular economy week they launched their new community fridge initiative. Picking up surplus food donations from local bakeries, supermarkets and cafes they had a selection of fruit and veg, pastries and bread that was free for local people to pick up, helping to reduce food waste and redirecting food to people in need.


The other event was run by SoundCamp, who are an arts cooperative and ecological radio station based at LJ Works. They hosted an introduction to ecological radio workshop. The hands-on skill sharing workshop involved participants assembling field transmitters, listening to local sounds and they even had a go at mixing and making radio. 

As a company that specialises in taking over disused, vacant spaces and transforming them in the vibrant ‘meanwhile uses’, circular economy is at the heart of what we do. It was therefore important for us to get involved across our sites in this years Circular Economy Week and encourage our network of tenants to get involved. By hosting events, we hoped to not only raise awareness for the circular economy movement, but also take the opportunity to highlight our amazing community of sustainability focused businesses. Thank you to the organisers ReLondon and we can’t wait for next year’s Circular Economy Week, where we hope to build on the events hosted this year!

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