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Information prepared by the Public Relations Department
2022 07 12
Kaunas presents a new space for innovation: everyone will be able to turn sustainable business ideas into reality

A circular economy workshop opened its doors next to KTU Santaka Valley. With the help of 3D printers and other equipment, developers will be able to put their ideas into practice. Not only representatives of science, but also all residents of Kaunas are welcome to visit the new spaces. The innovation laboratory, which promotes sustainable production solutions and a renewable economy, is the first and so far the only center of such kind in Lithuania. 

 

Circular economy will be reinforced 

 

A clean technology and training space has been established in the student campus of Kaunas University of Technology (Studentų St. 54). Here, visitors can use 3D printers, computers with modeling equipment, laser cutting machines, plotter devices and sewing machines. There are also premises for training or thematic meetings. 

In the workshop, you can repair, process or recycle electronic devices, wood and plastic. Wood and aluminum processing, laser cutting machines, and circular saw can also be operated in this space. 

“Sustainability is one of the key strategic areas of Kaunas. By opening the workshop, we further strengthen circular economy processes in the city. We will encourage motivated and creative people to implement ideas together, get to know and use modern technologies, and present the results in international projects”, – Kaunas Deputy Mayor Andrius Palionis welcomed the new initiative in the city. 

According to the Deputy Mayor, the new space is intended not only for people of science, but is also accessible to all residents of the city of Kaunas. 

 

Outdated notions will be changed 

 

“This center of innovative technologies is the beginning of great things. We want to revive as much waste as possible and turn it into useful items. 

The space will help developers test new business models and ideas, even if they don’t have the resources or enough knowledge to do so. Not only training on how to use the machinery, but also creative sessions will take place in this workshop”, – said V. Varžinskas, head of the Packaging Innovation and Research Center of Kaunas University of Technology. 

He also added that the new innovation space will significantly contribute to the further growth of Kaunas in the direction of the green course and the desired changes in the city. 

Having recently approved the Strategic Development Plan until 2030, Kaunas paid special attention to the ideas of sustainability. The working group that prepared this document set out the goal of changing the outdated notion that the circular economy only aims to reduce the amount of waste. The real impact and result is much broader and more comprehensive: reducing economic dependence on the extraction of primary resources within the country and especially outside of it. 

 

Kaunas is among the most advanced cities 

 

The circular economy creative workshop is a joint project of Kaunas City Municipality, KTU and ISM University of Economics and Management. The equipment was purchased as part of the European Union “Horizon2020” program’s project – “Pop-Machina” (Collaborative Production for the Circular Economy; a Community Approach). The value of investments for the purchase of the equipment reaches 100 000 euros. 

The goal of the “Pop-Machina” project is to create innovative solutions, actively engage city residents in activities based on circular economy principles, test these solutions and prepare recommendations for their application in other countries. 

According to ISM University of Management and Economics professor Dr. Justina Gineikienė, scientific research is carried out for the same purpose. The results not only help to understand how to increase the popularity of circular products, but also provide recommendations on how to establish circular workshops for developers in other cities as well as encourage residents to become creators and develop their hobbies into sustainable small businesses. 

“Residents who foster green ideas will get help to develop them here. Meanwhile, for those who are already implementing their ideas – to find out the opportunities to run the business more efficiently, faster, on a larger scale”, – says prof. Dr. J. Gineikiene. 

 

Those who wish to visit the laboratory must register in the created system (bit.ly/ziedine-ekonomika). The space and equipment availability schedule is also published here.