Centre of Expertise Mission Zero

Podcast Wasted Tales

In the Wasted Tales podcast series we will be bringing you into the lives and minds of waste and other materials within the circular economy, such as a solar panel, a face mask and a plastic bottle. This podcast is inspired by the projects of the Centre of Expertise Mission Zero where we conduct integrated research to come up with regenerative solutions for a more sustainable future.

By making inanimate objects key protagonists in this podcast, we aim to provide an alternative perspective to the circular economy discourse. What do these materials and objects experience? How do they view us humans in processes of recycling, repair and repurpose? And what can we learn from them?

The spoken language is English.

Interviewer: Kim Poldner, Professor Circular Business
Voice of our guests:  In every podcast a special guest will give voice to the object being interviewed.
Text writer: Natalie Cru
Production: Jurjen Helmus
Organization: Natalie Cru, Kim Poldner and Merel Hillen

Contact:  mission-zero@hhs.nl

Episode 2: Stefano the Solar Panel

Stefano the solar panel finds himself in a Dutch village named America, as part of an experiment. As the star in this small town, can Stefano live up to the pressure of being the key to community acceptance of noise walls in the region? 
Play this episode on Spotify.

Episode notes

This episode is based on the project Newrail, a collaboration between Mission Zero, Prorail, TNO, the municipality of Horst aan de Maas and energy cooperative Reindonk Energie. More information on this project can be found here: Project NEWRAIL

Arash Aazami, who has not only breathed life into Stefano the Solar Panel, but is a visionary when it comes to the future of energy shares his vision in a Q&A with Sander Mertens, professor and co-director of Mission Zero.  

More in-depth information about the technical side of the NewRail project is provided by Gerben Hoogendorp, who is working on transient energy calculations. Read more about his work on the project here.

Professor Kim Poldner published a study about community energy in The Netherlands, Germany and Spain: Nano Regeneration.


Episode 1: Fiona the Facemask

Fiona, one of millions of disposable facemasks born from the covid-19 pandemic, ends up in an unexpected place. She meets fantastic creatures whose wisdom leads her to dream of ideal future generations of disposable face masks. Can they be made in such a way that they have minimum negative impact on fragile eco-systems? 
Play this episode on Spotify

Episode notes

This episode is based on the graduation project of design student Mari Genova.
Read an interview with Mari about her project.

Mari was trained as a biomimicry designer during the minor Design with Nature developed and taught by Laura Stevens who is doing a PhD on biomimicry education. Read more about Laura’s work:
Biomimicry Education, A Conversation with Laura Stevens
Minor Design with Nature
Research group Urban metabolism

Some extra sources were consulted to make the writing of this episode’s script possible: 

Reusable Face Masks as Alternative for Disposable Medical Masks 

This journal article discusses factors that affect the wear-comfort of reusable face masks and compares different reusable face masks to disposable medical masks. This source was used to understand the mechanics behind disposable surgical face masks for the script. Advice is given at the end of this article on how to balance comfort and effectiveness of filtration.

Salps Catch the Ocean’s Tiniest Organisms 

This source was used to find out more about the filtration mechanics of salps.