Dr. Kasia Weina – Evergreen Labs

Welcome to the “Women Driving Circularity” series, part 1. In this part, we feature the inspiring story of Dr. Kasia Weina.

Dr. Kasia Weina, Director, Founding Partner Evergreen Labs

Born in a small town in the United States, I have always pursued environmental protection at a young age. I was fascinated with environmental systems, science and the amazing planet we get to live on. After completion of my biology and chemistry degrees in the U.S. well over a decade ago, I pursued higher education abroad, first in London and then onwards to Germany where I did cancer research. After completing a short post-doc I was still left with an unfulfilled purpose for the environment and doing my part in protecting our planet so I left my career as a scientist to pursue something bigger than myself. 

In this pursuit, I have called Viet Nam home for over six years, and since then co-founded Evergreen Labs, a venture studio and advisory organization focusing on developing innovative and sustainable solutions tackling social and environmental challenges in emerging markets. Our organization works towards the sole purpose of creating a better future where people and the environment live as one. To achieve this we implement circular models that push the traditional boundaries of innovation and business. Not only are we seeking more environmentally sustainable solutions that are regenerative rather than extractive, we aim to be as inclusive as possible incorporating communities and other marginalized groups into our work wherever possible. We have developed upstream solutions to tackle plastic waste at source, agriculture value chain solutions as well as downstream waste solutions

Mini Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Hoi An

For example, one of our social enterprises developed by Evergreen Labs, is called ReForm Plastic, which transforms unusable, typically polluting plastic waste into versatile products and materials. ReForm Plastic operates a holistic, systemic model that tackles issues across the value chain including establishment of city-wide collection points for improved collection schemes, integration with municipalities and working alongside informal waste collectors. In particular, informal waste collectors are an integral part of the process, and ReForm Plastic transforms their lives through employment and increased income opportunities from additional materials purchased. Now scaling across Southeast Asia and Africa with 6 factories in operation or under construction, this solution provides an innovative, impactful model that addresses the massive issues surrounding plastic pollution. 

I believe that transformative, inclusive and circular solutions are the only way to solve the environmental crisis we are facing.  My lifelong passion for the environment has grown into my life’s mission to be a part of our world’s mandatory transition towards circularity. I will make sure the planet is better than how I found it and no matter where we are from, what cultures or habits we have, we all share one precious planet and it’s all of our responsibilities to protect it. 

For more information about our work at Evergreen Labs please visit:

www.evergreenlabs.org

www.reformplastic.com

www.glassiawater.com

www.healthyfarm.org

Story and photos shared by Dr. Kasia Weina

Read how UNDP is advancing a gender-sensitive inclusive Circular Economy: The tactics “3Vs” to drive a gender-inclusive circular economy – Viet Nam Circular Economy

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