ACTION: Participatory science toolkit against pollution

The ACTION (Participatory science toolkit against pollution) project is co-funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 framework, SwafS programme and started on 1st February 2019. ACTION aims to contribute in the transformation from a predominantly scientist-led process to a more participatory, inclusive and citizen-led one. “Citizen science” refers to a broad range of activities where people are directly involved in the production of scientific knowledge. By extending the scientific process outside of traditional scientific institutions, Citizen Science addresses and bridges the growing gap between science and society, which enables and empowers society to deal with messy and complex problems.

In order to understand the needs of different stakeholder groups in the citizen science lifecycle, ACTION aims to co-design and co-develop methodologies, tools and guidelines. This eventually will enable anyone to design and realise a citizen science project, from the early stages of project ideation to validating and publishing the results and beyond.

Horse manure from Årvoll Gård and bioplastic waste

Nabolagshager responded to ACTION’s open call in Autumn 2019 for selecting new and ongoing citizen science projects addressing pressing pollution challenges not yet covered through the consortium. Our project CitiComPlastic was chosen alongside 5 other pilots with interesting and impactful ideas. Nabolagshager’s experience in different participatory methodologies and tools such as living lab methodologies, transdisciplinary research and design thinking, its capacity to engage local communities and the novelty of the project idea and the urgency to address it made CitiComPlastic an eligible pilot for ACTION.

Nabolagshager’s project idea came from the industry itself, which makes it very relevant and realistic. when we were contacted by the Øya Festivalen early summer last year with an inquiry to compost their bioplastic (PLA) beer glasses. The industry is tackling plastic pollution with alternatives, but many of these create pollution themselves. In an attempt to address this problem, CitiComPlastic will co-create solutions for bioplastic waste management by working at local level in Oslo (Norway) with vulnerable groups and

Kick-off event connected communities from around Linderud Gård

other community members. Currently, no facilities for bioplastic waste management exist in Oslo, and a need for local solutions. Additionally, there is little understanding on how to properly dispose of bioplastic waste, and how it can be effectively biodegraded. CitiComPlastic explores the transformative potential of Citizen Science to deal with this problem and co-create local and decentralised solutions to combat plastic waste. Therefore, with the CitiComPlastic project, it is planned to set up a physical composting station for running experiments at Linderud Gård in collaboration with the EdiCitNet project, as well as providing training seminars and weekly meet-ups. One of the components of the composting station is a plastic shredder built by, which is an NGO devoted to reduce plastic pollution. Different experimental designs will be employed in different composters, which will lead to an understanding of how to effectively compost bioplastic materials. Overall, the project aims to

  • Increase knowledge of what bioplastics are, how they are processed, and identifying a good compost product.
  • Demonstrate the technical feasibility of local bioplastic composting.
  • Empower local community members to process bioplastic and food waste locally.  
  • Demonstrate the commercial feasibility of bioplastic collection and composting.

Doing so, the aim is to raise awareness about bioplastic waste and how to handle it, demystify the science of composting, and narrow the distance between people and their trash.

Contact: Idil Akdos

20200227_190613’s shredder in use to break bioplastic materials into small pieces for a faster composting process