Beyond Waste: A Circular Resources Lab

Our Quest: Explore the potential of ecosystem awareness and facilitate the co-creation of solutions for circular economy transformation in Canton de Vaud


The origins of this lab

collaboratio helvetica collaborates with the the Sustainable Living Lab of Impact Hub Lausanne & Genèva and the Living Lab Lausanne of the EPFL in a new social lab "Beyond Waste: A Circular Resources Lab".


Visit our shared website for the Beyond Waste Lab for the most updated information about this Social Lab!

Why this topic?

The depletion of natural capital is one of the most urgent issues facing Switzerland, and the world. Consumption patterns are a big pain point for Switzerland; it ranks second highest in Europe in per capita waste production.

“With its levels of production and consumption, Switzerland uses about three times the natural resources that are available in the country itself. Such a high level of interdependence entails a commensurate responsibility for global sustainable development.”

Swiss Working Paper 2015, Sustainable Development in Switzerland, Office fédéral du développement territorial ARE

Moreover, most of the impact of Swiss consumption is felt abroad, which has been problematized over 20 years ago.  

“....the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialised countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances.”

Agenda 21, UN Conference on Environment and Development (1992)

Global natural resource depletion and climate disruption point to the increasing obsolescence of extractive, linear economic models. At the leading edge of innovation are business models that are environmentally regenerative and socially responsive. Decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, transitioning to renewable energy and designing waste out of the system are essential orientations on the roadmap to a sustainable future. The economy of tomorrow will create economic capital while regenerating human and natural capital. Beyond Waste Lab is in service of such innovations.  

The Approach

Beyond Waste Lab allows the participants to explore all aspects of circular resources on a personal, cultural, societal and organisational level - from the most innovative approaches to the established best practices. On this theoretical and experiential basis, we develop structural solutions specific to our participant's sphere of influence, which are then tested and further developed. On the way to the prototyped solutions we hence generate learning and new insights, develop our understanding of the topic as well as our skills, and practice collaborating, fostering trust within our larger ecosystem. The direct beneficiaries are the participants as participating explorers and the organisation(s) they work in, and indirectly many more will benefit from the solutions and the changes that will occur.


Our Beyond Waste Lab is a 3-months long transformation journey to explore and prototype solutions to this complex challenge. It’s an agile, deep, messy and highly effective process, similar to what is described and illustrated here. 20 explorers will commit to attend several workshops and a two day retreat and engage in activities in-between. 
There are both temporary and permanent elements: As a Lab it is always set up temporarily for a cycle. However, as circular resources will not be achieved by one Lab within one cycle, we designed for a more permanent structure of repeating cycles. With this first cycle of the Beyond Waste Lab, we want to lay the foundation to integrate further decision makers into the process in the next few years, thus constantly developing the sphere of influence and process quality.

Impact & results

Though the concrete results follow the principle of emergence, a Social Lab will generate a minimum of four sets of outputs:

  • Physical: new services or infrastructure, such as the prototyped solutions

  • Human: new capacities and skills

  • Social: increased trust and collaboration

  • Intellectual: new knowledge and learning

Hence, the prototyped solutions will have localised or widespread impact beyond the Lab. Further, this program offers the participants the opportunities to develop new capacities and skills in addition to the theoretical knowledge about the topic, where new insights might emerge. Through the diversity of the participants, there is also a community-building impact, namely fostering personal relationships and trust between the participating organisations, thereby providing a fertile ground for collaborations.

Beyond the Beyond Waste Lab 2018, the harvested learnings that are open source will persist.

All in all, the Beyond Waste Lab makes a meaningful contribution to SDG 12 and to the sustainable change in our individual and collective thinking and being patterns, thereby supporting the transformation of the Swiss culture in this topic.

More information

Visit the Beyond Waste Lab’s official website:


Erica Mazerolle - Facilitation & Hosting Coordinator

Erica Mazerolle - Facilitation & Hosting Coordinator

Erica Mazerolle is the lead & catalyst of Sustainable Living Lab, an initiative of Impact Hub Lausanne & Geneva to foster cross-sector collaboration for sustainable innovation. Drawing on transformative learning methods, she designs & delivers multi-stakeholder workshops to facilitate a shift from ego-system to ecosystem awareness amongst participants. She holds a M.A. in Development & Sustainability from the Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies and a B.A. double major in Community, Public Affairs & Policy Studies and in Human Environment (Geography) from Concordia University, Montreal. She is a trained facilitator in Art of Participatory Leadership and holds a certificate from MIT’s U.Lab: Leading from the Emerging Future. A former resident of the ecovillage Sadhana Forest, she is passionate about bridging ecological necessity to the collective wellbeing. 

Cynthia Kracmer - Facilitation & Hosting Coordinator

Cynthia Kracmer - Facilitation & Hosting Coordinator

Cynthia Kracmer is the lead facilitator at Impact Hub Geneva & Lausanne. She strengthens collaboration between international organisations and social entrepreneurs to design and prototype solutions together. She coordinated and facilitated for the SDG Lab, the Gender Equality Hack, Hack4Hunger and various other innovation formats.



Darya Gerasimenko - Scientific Advisor

Darya Gerasimenko - Scientific Advisor

Darya Gerasimenko is a Professor for Sustainability Science at Samara (State Aerospace) University (SSAU); a Research Scientist in Circular Economy at the Institute of Technology and Public Policy (ITPP) with Prof. Bruno Oberle (Chair for Green Economy and Resource Governance (GERG)) at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and a Lecturer at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). She is currently leading work on creation of Living Lab Lausanne (3L) at GERG/EPFL for Circular Economy development in Switzerland. She holds a PhD in Political Economy (of Industrial Policies and International Trade) from the University of St. Gallen (2015) and is an elected Council Member of the International Forum on Sustainable Value Chains (ISVC). Darya is also a certified Qigong/meditation trainer from Huang Ting TCM (Beijing, China; E-Mei School) and was teaching it at UniSport of St. Gallen University in 2015-2016. Her research interests are governance of Circular Economy (CE) transformation in various institutional settings, societal innovation for Circular Economy, living labs, partnerships and ecosystem awareness for CE, inner resilience dimension for enhanced co-creation ability in living (social) labs. She is also passionate about exploring/applying innovative teaching approaches. For example in her Masters Course “Circular economy transformation”, Darya focuses on eco-system awareness facilitation for CE transformation.

Isabelle Ruckli - Harvesting & Storytelling

Isabelle Ruckli - Harvesting & Storytelling

Isabelle Ruckli is communication manager at collaboratio helvetica and project manager at step into action global. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Social Anthropology from the University of Lucerne and an interdisciplinary M.A. in European Global Studies from the Europa Institute of the University of Basel.
Throughout her studies and her many experiences as a volunteer (foraus, step into action, viva con agua and others) she was guided by questions around the nexus of human behaviour, sustainable development, democracy and governance. She is a hungry learner who is always eager to understand different approaches and inquire into many different fields of knowledge. Today she finds herself working in two projects which address social innovation, societal development and human empowerment, which enable her to feel aligned with her values and passions through her work.


nora b&w.jpg

Nora Wilhelm is Catalyst at collaboratio helvetica, a platform dedicated to opening spaces for dialogue, experimentation and collaboration to co-create the Switzerland we want to live in. Nora is passionate about activating the full potential of people and organisations, and was recognised by UNESCO for her work as young leader. During her studies in International Affairs at the University of St. Gallen, Nora took on multiple roles in the European Youth Parliament and presided its Swiss node for two years. Oswald gained experience with different companies, inter alia supporting the creation of innovative and collaborative work methods, structures and spaces. 

Laura Ebneter_sw.png

Laura Ebneter is a research associate at the SDSN Switzerland