One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so the saying goes. This is also the basis of the ‘circular economy’ – a new way of looking at how we manufacture and consume. At Expo 2020 Dubai we aim to reuse, repurpose or recycle as many materials as possible – moving away from the ‘take, make and dispose’ approach.
On World Environment Day we are highlighting the results of applying the philosophy of the circular economy to our stand at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, held in January 2018. After thousands of people visited ADSW, what happened to the materials used to make the Expo 2020 stand?
In keeping with Expo 2020’s sustainability ethos, the stand’s assets were reused to become new pieces of furniture and artwork.
We collaborated with Abu Dhabi bespoke furniture company Dope Designs, who reused the wood to craft iconic pieces of furniture, including a hanging bookshelf that spells the word ‘read’ in Arabic, and several hand-crafted photo frames.
The design of one of the frames is based on the Middle Eastern tradition, with a Yemeni influence. To mark the Year of Zayed and to commemorate the late Founding Father’s vision for a sustainable future, an image of Sheikh Zayed was inserted into the frame, which was then presented to Expo 2020 to be put on display.
Wagih Saleh, Dope Designs Lead Designer, said: “I wanted to make a number of items that can be put back into the community. One of them is a frame. In a way, I think Expo 2020 Dubai is also a frame built on foundations of the past that looks through into the future.”
Other raw pieces of wood from the stand have been used in Dope Designs’ various carpentry work commissioned by clients, such as the back support of a bed and shelving units. So there is now a little piece of Expo in several Abu Dhabi homes!
So not only does the circular economy redirect waste from landfill but it alsocreates an economic value and encourages creativity through repurposing and re-imagining that waste. Dina Mustafa, Head of Sustainability Operations at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Sustainability is one of Expo 2020’s three subthemes and it is important to consider sustainability not only during the six month event but also what we do leading up to it and beyond.
“While many exhibitions lead to thousands of kilograms of waste, Expo 2020 is working to ensure that assets are repurposed, re-used, recycled or re-imagined – to benefit both the environment and the next user of these materials.”