When many people think of the word ‘waste,’ something formless and brown springs to mind. Part of the struggle to eliminate waste is that the materials it consists of don’t have an identity.
Today we speak with Pablo van den Bosch, the co-founder of Madaster, a company that shows how valuable waste is by identifying its material components.
After explaining Madaster’s role in advocating for the circular economy, Pablo describes how they catalogue all the materials used to create a new building, giving each material its own ‘digital passport.’
We chat about how his biggest challenge is to get people to recognize the importance of registering their materials and how this benefits both the public and investors.
We then ask Pablo about Madaster’s philosophy. His answer highlights his view that Earth is a closed system — it’s up to us to make the most of the resources we have. We discuss Madaster’s data-driven model, why they operate as a platform, and how everyday home-owners can use Madaster to ID the materials in their buildings.
A key concept in this episode, Pablo emphasizes that we need to shift from the idea of ownership to the idea of usership, where no materials are owned. They’re simply used for the time being. We touch on the limits to this approach, how creativity is critical in selling the idea of the circular economy, and issues surrounding data security and privacy.
Near the end of our discussion, we explore more on how Madaster can be used on a day-to-day basis and how it makes material transfers an easy and profitable pursuit. With tools like Madaster, we can start seeing waste as a treasure trove of resources.
Tune in to hear how Pablo is helping make this a reality.
Pablo van den Bosch
Pablo van den Bosch is co-founder of Madaster and Board Member of Madaster Services.
Based on the vision that “Waste is material without an identity”, he and five others created Madaster, the register for products and materials in the built environment.
Pablo initially focused on establishing the not-for-profit Madaster Foundation, which supervises the Madaster platform development and operational services.
Currently Pablo fulfils the role of Board Member Public Affairs and Internationalisation.
“Waste is material without an identity. By writing down what you’ve used, products and materials always keep their identity, which also lets them keep their value.” — Pablo van den Bosch, @Pablo2504
Tune in to find out:
- Pablo unpacks Madaster’s role in giving material an identity.
- How Madaster creates a blueprint of all the materials used when creating a new building.
- Why the biggest challenge that Madaster faces is cultural and not technological.
- Exploring how Madaster benefits society and investors.
- The idea of Earth as a closed system and why everything we have is a ‘limited edition.’
- Hear about Madaster’s vision and how they view the circular economy.
- Using data and making it public to move towards a circular economy.
- Why Madaster operates as a platform; it allows them to get more data, more quickly.
- How everyday home-owners can use Madaster to ID the materials in their buildings.
- Shifting from the idea of ownership to the idea of usership.
- Limits to the usership model as materials lose their reusability with time.
- Changing minds with creative thinking and showing that the circular economy doesn’t need to hurt industry revenues.
- Issues related to data ownership and how Madaster is avoiding the excesses of big tech companies.
- What Madaster is doing to ensure that its data won’t negatively impact people.
- Hear how Madaster is used on a day-to-day basis and the pragmatic solutions it affords.
- Pablo shares his dream for the future of the circular economy.
- Setting up an independent organization so that Madaster follows its principles.
- And much more!
Links mentioned in this episode:
Read our follow up article:
“Pretty soon we’ll end up with a situation where we cannot imagine that we had such a linear economy. That we never considered the end-use situation of materials.” — Pablo van den Bosch, @Pablo2504
Emily Swaddle 0:05
Hello, and welcome back to HappyPorch Radio. This season we are talking about Circular Economy. Today Barry and I are joined by Pablo van den Bosch, one of the co founders of Madaster, which is an online platform that's based on the vision that waste is material without an identity and works in the construction and materials industry. We had a great conversation with Pablo, it was really inspiring for me, I know that you also really enjoyed it, Barry.
Barry O'Kane 0:35
Yeah, one of the things I most enjoyed about Pablo's enthusiasm was how much he described, the more difficult the problem, the more enjoyable it was. I really empathize with that, as one of the things that brought me to technology and to coding is solving difficult problems. And so over the last few years, and realising about their sort of value of the circular economy being able to say, well, actually the even bigger problem. And therefore the more interesting challenge, again, is how to use that technology in the real world, with real people with really, truly difficult intractable problems. And I suspect, looking at the built environment, and working in the construction industry, and approaching Circular Economy and trying to make mind shifts in that industry must be a very big challenge.
Emily Swaddle 1:21
Yeah, it does seem like a particularly difficult industry to be working on such a transition, because it is a big change. And there's a lot that has to be done, I think particularly in that industry to get to a point of circularity. And it's great to hear that Pablo is so enthusiastic about that challenge. It was really nice to hear from him.
Barry O'Kane 1:40
And it's really fun as well coming at this from the digital and software industry perspective, to see how important and how impactful the technology is, while also acknowledging those challenges. Pablo talks about that. But about he talked about the platform economy and how a platform like this with an interesting problem of how to collect and manage big data. And then also that impact on that he had touched on only I suspect, a small sample of the ways that a platform like that could and is being used by a huge variety of different businesses and people within the different points of the building process, I guess. And that's really cool to me as well, to see how the platform can be used in that way.
Emily Swaddle 2:21
Right. And at the minute, I believe the platform is only currently being used in the Netherlands, and has recently been rolled out in Switzerland. So it's actually just kind of the beginning. Who knows where we can go and what we can do with this technology in this industry. So that's really exciting.
Barry O'Kane 2:37
It is it is, off air, he talked about potential users in London in Queensland. So that's really cool as well. And so without any further ado, let's meet Pablo.
Pablo van den Bosch 2:52
My name is Pablo van den Bosch. I'm one of the founders of Madaster, the register for products and materials in the built environment. I'm living in the Netherlands and working internationally.
Barry O'Kane 3:04
Welcome to the show. It's really great to have you here. I really interested in Madaster. And I guess that would maybe be the place to start. Can you give us the high level view of what does Madaster to do? And who does it do it for?
Pablo van den Bosch 3:19
We started Madaster about four years ago, Madaster is an online register to upload information about products and materials used in the built environment, stones, glass. steel that you use in your building, or your bridge or road. And the reason that we do that is that we believe that in order to eliminate waste, you should make sure that material gets an identity because waste actually is material without an identity. So by writing down what you've used, products and materials, always keep your identity with that identity. They never have to become waste. But they will always keep its value. That's why we started it. And it was a new concept. So four years ago, we explained what you could do with it, like creating material passports after the registration. And we have been building up the concept building up the platform, the online platform, and rolling up Madaster initially in the Netherlands, we're now live in Switzerland top and working on rolling out Madaster also in other countries.
Barry O'Kane 4:22
Really cool. So let's take a little bit into that. Like you said the digital passport or the identity part. Is it like you identify a specific material a specific set of material, the metal or the whatever that's in the building? Or is it more a case of this is the building and it contains this amount of material?
Pablo van den Bosch 4:40
Let me explain it just very simply. And I start with a new building. We can also do it for existing buildings. But let's start with a new building. So you go to an architect and you ask the architect, can you draw me a building? Then you go to the constructor and you ask a constructor. I've got a drawing of the architect. Can you build what architect has drawn the builder starts to build using the drawings that were made by the architect. And were enriched with information about materials and products that are used to actually build from concrete blocks to etc. And that information-so the blueprint that is being used by the builders, is nowadays, almost always digitally available. We call that building information models, 3d drawings that are used to build, and these 3d drawings can be uploaded to our platform. And by uploading it, we recognize what products and materials were used. So what we do is we make the information available that the professionals in the building industry use to actually create buildings. And we keep that we store it, we take all the information out of these 3d complex models, making sure that we can identify each and every element that is used to build. And that can be up to the nitty gritty detail like which stone is used on what story of the building, it obviously depends on the quality of the drawing, that determines the quality of the registration on our platform. But it can be very detailed. So where is what material used in what quantities?
Barry O'Kane 6:23
Must be an interesting- Or is it a challenging process? It sort of depends on the quality of the drawing, is that information that is easily extractable from these models? Or is it a complex piece of technology that you have that extracts that level of understanding
Pablo van den Bosch 6:36
The platform does have some nice technology that is not very easy to create. On the other hand, we've got beautiful minds around the world. And I bet that if somebody else wants to make it, it's a matter of getting the right mindset to work. And then you can create it, the real challenge is not in the technology, the real challenge is in explaining why people should register the stuff that they've used to build something. And it is in explaining to people why it's important to understand in what type of building you work or you live, because we are doing this because we want to eliminate waste, we want to make sure that our economy is not only consuming materials, but it's temporarily using it and giving it back again, to our society when you don't use it anymore. But it's important to understand in what type of building you live and work, or go to school, because it might be toxic material might be of a bad quality. And that is what we try to do. So the technology is actually doable, convincing people to take interest into products and materials in the built environment is something that is actually quite challenging. And that's what we're doing. But quite challenging means a fantastic thing to do. And I'm very glad that we're gaining momentum, and that more and more people and organisations are becoming aware of the importance. And sometimes that is because people do care about our planet. do care about future generations. Sometimes people just care about the health. And they're also people that only care about money. And they see that if you know what you have in your building, that that represents an amount of money or value. And they want to clarify it so they can determine the risk or future value that they can monetise. So depending upon the people that we talk to, we have various perspectives that we can present why we think it's important to invest into creating documents like material passports, or registering products or materials.
Emily Swaddle 8:50
Yeah, I think the reason why sounds like a is really the crux of what you're doing, is that kind of convincing and persuading people that this is really important. What is the kind of underlying philosophy for Madaster towards material use and the responsibility that we have as human beings and part of the planet? As we're using materials? What's the kind of overall philosophy for Madaster there?
Pablo van den Bosch 9:16
I was inspired by my colleague Tomas, the architect. I used to work as a consultant in the financial services industry. And I met him a couple of years ago. And he shared his vision which I can easily explain. And that vision is we live in a closed system called Earth and nothing comes in, nothing goes out. And we've got to do with all the resources that planet Earth is giving us. Even though Elon Musk tries to get something out of Mars up until now we got to do what we have on this planet. And if. which is I think affect our planet is a closed system, it means that everything we have is a limited edition. Because nothing comes in and goes out, and everything is a limited edition. Why do we treat in our economic system, why do we treat certain material as waste, we throw it away, because it does have a value, and then get to the term that waste actually as material without an identity, let's give it an identity, using the concept of passports. So we started this inspired by the vision of Thomas, we started this where we said, we do believe this concept, we do believe this vision, and we want to stay on this planet for a very long time using the limited resources. It has the limited edition. So why don't we come up with an idea to create an economy that can last forever using these limited resources? That's what other people call and we call as well, a circular economy. And by thinking out loud, we said, What is missing? Why do we still have that linear economy and not a circular economy. And we said the missing link, at least that's how far we came, the missing link was that in the linear system, we trust upon who owns what, and we'll have a proper registration of ownership. But when the ownership stops, we don't care in the linear economy, we throw things away. In a circular economy when ownership stops, or you don't use something anymore, we don't have that information. And then we said, well, let's try to fill that gap, let's try to facilitate that point in the economy that you move from the one owner to the other, because the old owner doesn't see the function of the material anymore. And we want to facilitate that with data, because data is something that keeps our economy running. And instead of owning all that data, and we said we should create some sort of a Public Register, where the data will be available for others as well. And because we want to stimulate the economy, that's how we got to the concept of Madaster. And instead of writing down everything on paper, we said, okay, how can we do that a bit more smart. And we were inspired by a couple of the big tech giants in the world. If you have to document every car that can act as a taxi, it's gonna cost you a zillion years, Uber did it in a couple of years. If you have to describe each and every one bedroom, you have to travel around the world, it's gonna take you ages, but Airbnb did it in again, just a very short amount of time. So we said, let's grab that concept of a platform economy to facilitate that all users can upload their own information. So instead of us traveling around the world, describing what materials are there, we said, let's facilitate with a platform that everybody can register and upload its own information. And instead of convincing architects that they have to do something new or constructors or engineers, we said, Why don't you give us the material that you already have the registrations you already have, but you never give to the buyer or the owner of the user of property. And that's the 3d models. And you need expensive software to read those models. And we said, we'll fix that. And that's what we've done with the platform.
Emily Swaddle 13:16
Okay, that actually comes back to another question I had, you mentioned in the example you gave earlier on that, that was how you would do it for a new building and development, but that you could also apply this registration materials to older buildings or existing buildings. So that's kind of a case of the user uploads their own information.
Is that right?
Pablo van den Bosch 13:39
So we all live in a house. And that's not a static thing. Although, houses, residential buildings do not change as often as, for instance, hospitals, or logistical buildings. But you do maintenance now and then. And then you paint it, you change the floor, maybe you do some different glazing, maybe you do an extension, or you convert the garage into an extra bedroom. And those lifetime events of buildings are typical moments that you do think about, what do I have? And how do I want to change it, or think about the situation that you buy a house or you sell your house, or you want to make it more energy efficient. These are the lifetime experiences of buildings where it makes sense to actually gather information and keep that information by registering it. That makes sense to do that. Lifetime events. And then the way how to get about information can be very simple. By just uploading the invoice you've got from your painter, you probably can document what type of paint that you put in your house. So what's the colour what's the brand, but you can do with also a much more sophisticated for instance, with the doing a point cloud scan, where you get a very detailed picture of your room by getting a point cloud So they're all sorts of ways to create a register, or to create documentation of existing buildings. And we facilitate that.
Emily Swaddle 15:09
It's interesting what you were saying about kind of the shift from ownership to user-ship, would you describe it that way that that's the mentality shift that you are trying to harbour?
Pablo van den Bosch 15:20
Yeah, that is definitely something in a typical linear economy, you own something, or you buy a product from a manufacturer, and then it's yours. And when you don't need it anymore, you either throw it away and if you're lucky, you can sell it to somebody else. In a linear economy, because there is a limited set available, and becomes much more important to continue that use by reusing and reusing and reusing it. So that requires quite some things off the way how you design and make products, but also the way how you treat them while using them. And the classical way of owning it, and moving that towards using it. So from being an owner to product as a service makes a lot of sense. And in order to facilitate that new structure from owning to using it as a service, you need to have proper documentation as well, because the next user wants to understand what have you done with it? What's the condition? Can I continue the same service? And it makes a lot of sense to have that data available? Maybe should do a refurbishment?
Emily Swaddle 16:31
Yeah, exactly. At the beginning, you made the perhaps bold claim that a material with an identity will never become waste. And it always has value. And what you just mentioned kind of was exactly what I was going to ask around that. Because any material as you use it will with wear and tear, or just general usage will kind of degrade in some way. Maybe only with regards to its primary use. And there might be other uses that could come out of it, I suppose. But could you just speak a little bit to that claim of material never becomes waste. I mean, is there never a point in the cycle where it's just kind of got to the point where it's no longer of use to anyone.
Pablo van den Bosch 17:14
That's an extremely bold statement, I agree on that.
I'm afraid that it's not for the full, scientific hundred percent reality, people told me that, for instance, with plastics, plastic fiber, and you can reuse them, and you can degrade and upgrade them for about seven times. And then after seven times, you cannot use those fibers anymore. And I'm not a material specialist, you cannot use the same product over and over and over again. And there is some degression in it. Yes, I can see that. Just like with a steel beam, I'm just a simple guy looking at a steel beam. And I think it will be as strong as it is now as it will be in the next 100 years. But then technical experts are now there is a decrease in the strength of that steel, and I can't see it. But apparently that is the situation. And so you need to be aware that you cannot use something indefinitely, forever. But if you look at the current way, how we treat materials, there is a lot of stuff that we appoint as waste or not useful anymore. Because it doesn't have an economic value anymore, while the material value or the actual use can be extended easily. Everybody understands the concept of the telephones, we have the cell phones, where everybody can see that the physical thing is still perfectly intact. But because there was a software upgrade, we cannot use it anymore. The material is still perfectly in good shape and good condition. But we organised in our economic system, that the cell phone became useless. We have to throw it away as a client. And then with some luck, and manufacturer says you can give it back to me and I give you 10 euros or 15 pounds or whatever for it. While the actual phone itself,nothing's wrong with it after two years. I just don't get it. And that phone will not last for 1000 years. I fully understand that. But definitely longer than two or three.
Barry O'Kane 19:17
I actually really like that bold claim. And as you say, I think because the predominant current mindset is so linear and so short term thinking that those sort of bold claims are needed in order to challenge in my opinion. And that is something I wanted to touch on as well. You mentioned at the start that it is a challenge. And then you went on to say that that is kind of the point of it or the pleasure in it or the benefit of it is the fact that you're taking on this very difficult challenge of creating an inventory for the built environment or buildings. And you talked about the challenge the bigger part of that challenge being the non technology the explaining to people. So is part of that challenge of explaining and getting people to understand is that partly because of that mindset of, I'm thinking about from a business point of view, I used to use the cell phone as an example, their business model very often is built entirely around the fact that I'll be encouraged or need to buy a new phone every couple of years, they want to do that, it's the opposite of doing a genuine circular thinking. Is that the kind of challenge you meant by when you were talking about how difficult is to explain that.
Pablo van den Bosch 20:28
So of the mindset of many people is that they want to be serviced, they want to benefit. And changing your behaviour, because it's good for others is just very difficult. And I think that going from a linear to a circular business model might be challenging from an intellectual point of view. But from an economic point of view, you can just make as much money with a circular business model as a linear business model, but you just need to be a bit more creative. It's a different way of thinking. And explaining that and trying to come up with example. So you help other entrepreneurs, you help consumers with this insight is something that I really do like, but that is the challenge. So explaining to people that drive a car, where you say if if you could choose to owning a fantastic car, with all the risks involved, that the thing breaks down, or that residual value after five years of driving is lower than expected. But you have the car? What if you compared it to a situation where you pay the same amount of money, but you can get a new car? Or a refurbished car, which looks brand new, every three years? What would you do? And then people say, yeah, in the end, I don't care if you have that. Elon Musk stated that a while ago, and when you didn't move on with the concept that he said, wherever whatever city you enter, you can always pick up a Tesla S model, and it will be there for you. And they're all the same. So it doesn't matter if it's yours. Or if it's a rental Model S it will be always available and then people say are actually quite handy. So helping people to think differently about ownership. And think about what is it what you really want. And then for some people, it helps a lot, and changing their way of thinking by saying, and additionally, we can do better for our planet as well. And then people say I want to be green. If it doesn't hurt me, and I even really want to be green, it is a better deal for me. And that's what we try to explain. And we explain that not to the typical retail consumer. But we do explain this to governments to real estate developers, real estate investors and constructors. And that's a very classical sector. So it requires a lot of fun to make them change.
Barry O'Kane 22:57
I find it interesting that you're obviously finding the challenge there the difficult part, seeing that as the fun part, rather than some other people who might be running away or trying to think I'm not going to move out of my comfort zone here. Is that something that just is naturally you're enjoying a challenge? Or is there another sort of purpose behind that the fact that you're seeing that as fun?
Pablo van den Bosch 23:17
It's fun. When I became a consultant, I ended up in the financial services industry, not because I like banks or investors, but I like puzzles they have, they have complex puzzles. And I like to puzzle. That's what I like to do that change the words. After a while I saw quite some financial puzzles. And after a while there are more puzzles in the world. And there are even more interesting puzzles and being inspired by that architect for this is a real puzzle. This is real challenging one. And I do get fun out of having a conversation with a typical, financially driven investor in real estate, where these professionals most of the time, when they talk about Circular Economy, they think that people from that Circular Economy are driven only by making a better world. And I love business models as well. I just love the puzzle. And I understand that it's your objective, to make the most alpha as they call it, the most profit out of it. That's what I really think is A fun to do. But B also important to make a crossover between the various sectors or the various segments in our society, that doing good for Earth can also do good for economy. And that can make an impact and then using technology. Because we can do so much with technology nowadays, if you use technology in the right way. So you have to think about the negative impact of using technology as well. So the puzzle becomes even more interesting.
Barry O'Kane 24:53
I think that's intriguing as well, as you say looking at the whole system and the impacts positive and negative, and how technology fits that in. Being, I guess from the software industry, myself and from Web and Digital, quite often the appeal of working with technology or code is its a problem to solve. So I can completely empathize with what you're describing there. And also, to your point about the technology, it's not an isolation. Yeah, it's not like solving a technology problem actually, is made more interesting. And because it is harder, when you have to look at how that fits into the real world, and the people, and the mindset and all the other things you touched on. Really interesting.
Pablo van den Bosch 25:32
About the technology part, we'd like to share what we invest quite some time and thought in is that we're talking about big data. If you gather all information about products and materials applied in the building, you talk about an immense amount of information. And the simple question, Who owns this? Is it the owner of the physical product that owns the digital copy of that. And if you gather two types of information from two different owners, who owns the right to do something with that, we get the big tech firms in the world that made a statement around that. And they said, Well, if we apply algorithms to that amount of data, it's ours. And we can make a profit based on smart combinations of data of our users. And that's the benefit we had when we started a couple of years ago that we saw some of the excess, the negative impacts of taking the right to do all sorts of creative stuff with data. We've seen what can go into the wrong way. So we try to set up Madaster, being very much aware of the fact that we're at the beginning of an economic system that is driven by technology, where not everybody understands what is the impact. We don't understand that either, but we know we have to be careful with it and be very transparent about it and continue asking questions around it. Are we doing this in such a way that it can last for a long time, because that in the end is what we tried to establish. To establish a long term positive impact on our economy with respect to the way how we treat the planet.
Emily Swaddle 27:12
And with that use of big data, as you say, there are issues of kind of security and privacy. And that line between privacy and transparency is one that lots of companies that use big data kind of have to balance on. Is it something that you address directly with your clients, this idea of that data security in your platform?
Pablo van den Bosch 27:34
So the various levels of the content of this discussion around privacy and security. The most superficial level with respect to security is that you want to make sure that no one else can see your data or get your data that is yours on the platform. That's a simple one. But you can get into deeper levels around security, what to do with all the information about production materials in a particular area of the city. Let's take the example of a country should be older registration of buildings and construction objects in the UK. Is it okay, if that data is being stored in the US or that it is stored within the European Union? Is that okay or not? So that is a more difficult question. And definitely an interesting question compared to have you assured on your platform that client A does not see or cannot change the data of client B. That's pretty clear. And with privacy, the simple version is that you should not be able to see you owns a particular building. But what if you know that there are 1000 wooden doors registered in a particular city? Is that privacy sensitive or not? Probably not. But if you know that there are 20 wooden doors available in a particular postal code area, does that then become privacy sensitive? Yes or no? So there are no clear guidelines around that. And what we do is we want to look for the discussion around it. What do we think as a society or as an owner or investor around this? What if the bank that wants to finance your building says I want to take a look at what materials you've used? Because if you use structured materials, there is a risk that you cannot pay your mortgage at a particular point in time. Do we agree with that? Well, I don't know. That's an interesting public debate. And with technology, we get more and more information. And that requires some sort of an awareness of how should we treat that enormous amount of information.
Barry O'Kane 29:54
Taking a problem like you and Madaster os taking on, it's so big, there's so many facets to it, as you said, it's challenging in so many different ways. And you started to maybe sort of try and pick out some examples there. But I wanted to go back to that. You mentioned earlier in a conversation as well about finding examples to sort of make it clear to people the value of what you're doing. Do you have any stories or specific examples that you can share?
Pablo van den Bosch 30:18
Oh, yeah, certainly, I think for you and the listeners, it's important, we just have a theoretical discussion or discussion about the theory and the impact of such a big data around products and materials. But the what we do with the Madaster on a day to day basis is not that complex or theoretical or far away. So I'll give you a couple of examples what we do on a daily basis, that makes it much more tangible. Within the Netherlands, we have a big development company, they build thousands of houses on a yearly basis. And that development company said, we are going to buy material passports or building passports for the houses that we built. They hire constructors, they hire architects, and they all need to work with Madaster. So when household buys a house of that particular developer, they receive a Madaster file that includes all the materials and products and the drawings. So when you buy the house, you get this for the next couple of years, you get this file for free, because that's what the developer did. If you want to adjust your house, as I said, you want to change the garage into a bedroom or you want to do a painting, or maybe the doors are not as strong as your thought,and they break down too often, you can simply look at Madaster and say, is not working correctly, fix it. And then for the constructor, they can see what type of door or what type of garage were we talking about, because there are thousands of houses per year that are being built. So with that information, it becomes much more easy to provide service to the owner, you can check is there a liability issue with the manufacturer of the product? So that you can call the manufacturer and say, Hey, you gave me bad quality and fix it? Or is it a service request that you can provide a proposal to adjust something now to provide new services. So with that information, the way how you treat change requests or reporting problems becomes much more easy. Another pragmatic solution that we did was there was a hospital in the Netherlands that was going to be demolished. And instead of asking different demolishers to come up with a price, they did a quick registration of the hospital on Madaster. So they didn't register each and everything. But I did a quick and dirty registration, send it out to a group of demolishers and said, How can you demolish this trying to maximize the value of all the products that come out of the demolition process. So because it was digitally available, every demolisher got the same information. And they could describe the process how they wanted to maximize the value by selling of these products. And that just led to a higher price of the revenue that could be made with all the products and materials that came available because of the demolishing activity. So that is pragmatic. That's what we do. That's what Madaster is doing now. So when you have a registration and you have some steel and beams registered, you do a transformation steal and beams become available. Instead of taking these steel beams onto a truck, drive them to a place and then try to sell them, you can now digitally pick them up, put them on a digital marketplace, look for the highest price. So who wants to have the steal beams. And when you found a buyer for the right price, then you can actually start taking out the physical products and transport them to the next buyer. Way easier, much more time to find the right buyer for your product. Because when you say I've got a couple of steel beams who wants to pick them up next week, the chance that you get a low price is bigger than the chance that you get a high price. That's what Madaster is facilitating with a digital registration.
Emily Swaddle 34:18
That's really interesting because it sounds so varied. There's a lot of opportunity for kind of different kinds of interactions with different people working at different stages of development and building and also different kinds of materials being used in lots of different ways. So it sounds really broad, which is cool, and also plays to what you already mentioned about this idea of Circular Economy is only really limited to what the human imagination can come up with. You mentioned this idea of challenge and just being a bit more creative and seeing where we can go with the circular economy and I think that's really inspiring. It's a great way to look at it and to think If we can think of better ways of living with the planet and all the resources at our fingertips, then it's possible, you know, it's just our own imaginations that can guide us. So within that just as a kind of broad and big dream question, Where did your imagination take you? And you think about the future of the circular economy?
Pablo van den Bosch 35:21
I'm working on this for a couple of years now. And I think that's also the answer to your question about what is the dream.
My dream is, that we'll pretty soon end up with a situation that we cannot imagine anymore, that we had an economy that was linear. And that was my dream, because and working with for just a couple of years, I just cannot imagine anymore that you do not take into account the end the use situation, our existence on this planet isn't a linear thing. It is for me as an individual person, but not for us as people on this planet. And humankind is one, but think about the resources that are on this planet that will stay here forever. So why have we created agreements between people that we call economy where we think it is a linear thing? That's strange. So my dream is that there will be a moment in time that we just cannot imagine anymore, that you did not take into account the continuity of the things that we are doing. And I think that is something that is my expectation on one hand side, but also my dream, because I think that that is a good thing.
Emily Swaddle 36:40
That's great. Thank you.
Barry O'Kane 36:42
Yeah, that's really awesome and inspiring. Unfortunately, we're running out of time. And there's several other things I wish we had time to cover, including the fact that you have a non-profit foundation that's involved in the way the Madaster operates. Is that right?
Pablo van den Bosch 36:55
Yeah, that's right. And we did that for a couple of reasons. The foundation definitely in the beginning helped us with spreading the word. So the foundation wants to stimulate a transition towards circular economy. And more and more countries do adopt it. But we need all the support not only from business, but also science, engineers and governments to explain what the benefits are of a circular economy. And what we've done in our business model, our governance model that we said, because we don't know yet, what the impact is of such a thing where all the data is being gathered, we want to guarantee that there's a fully independent entity, looking at what we are doing with the Madaster business activities, that it's in spirit of how we started Madaster, so that the data, the big data is available for the circular economy. That we are profitable enough to ensure continuity, but we do not abuse the position to make more profit. And we don't want to be profit driven, but impact driven. And in order to make impact, you need to be profitable. And I can think all sorts of reasons. Or I can think about saying, Yes, we are doing the right thing, but how good would it be to have somebody fully independent, that's checking that. And that's what we thought, if we want to do that, let's establish that at inception instead of organizing it when it's too late. So that's why we started that foundation from day one onwards. Just to make sure that there's an independent view on Circular Economy and the things Madaster does.
Barry O'Kane 38:39
I think that's amazing. It ties everything together for me in a way, we started talking about how and why and where you started, Madaster, and, and you very eloquently stated that big picture dream. But then the fact that you're doing, as you say, from day one and the non-profit foundation as a way to ensure and prove that those values are living right away through the business. I think that's a really excellent proof of living those values. I think that's very inspiring as well. And so unfortunately, as I say, there would be so much more as always, with this Circular Economy season, there's been so many amazing conversations and this I think, is very much up there with the best if the listeners want to go and find out more about the work you're doing in about Madaster, where can they go?
Pablo van den Bosch 39:23
Yeah, the simple answer is always we have a website.
That definitely is possible. We are much open to explaining what we are doing. So if you reach out, we are always there to explain. We are there to share information. Everything we do is as transparent as possible so we can share what's technology behind it if we can support with I will be a presentation or do a demonstration. If you want to use our platform if you want to have a demo. We support that. We do this to support people that want to realize the same dreams as we have. So we're very open to that. And that's why we are active literally all around the world. Because we do not have a strategy to say, like an MBA kind of thing where you do analysis, this is my country strategy, I start in Place A and then Place B, Place C. Our strategy is that we follow people. And when people reach out, when people are motivated to do something, we respond to that. And we support them. And that's our international strategy. That's how we broaden the way where we work and that brought us to all sorts of places. Because I'm very glad that and probably amongst your listeners, as well, there are a lot of people that really want to contribute to changing the way how we live on this planet. And how we live this community, and we like to support it. So if people say I want to know more, there's always the website. If you want to know more in person, just reach out. We're there to support.
Barry O'Kane 40:58
Wonderful, that sounds really good. As usual. We'll put a link on the HappyPorchRadio.com show notes, the website for Madaster is m a d a s t e r.com. Thank you so much. Pablo, really appreciated your conversation today.
Pablo van den Bosch 41:12
Thank you very much Barry anomaly was great being on your show.
Emily Swaddle 41:16
Thank you Pablo.
You can find notes and links from this episode plus a full transcript at HappyPorchRadio.com. If you are enjoying the show, please take a moment to give us a positive review on your favourite podcast app. Thanks for listening to HappyPorch Radio