Autumnal colours in Cieszyn and a zero waste exhibition

Last weekend, I had a chance to visit Cieszyn. It is a town I have known since I was a child and I love going back there whenever I can. This time, apart from visiting my aunt, I had another reason for making this trip. My goal was to see a zero waste exhibition organized by the The Castle Cieszyn Design Centre (Zamek Cieszyn). The exhibition’s title is “Public space design. Do we have a problem?” and its motto is a thought expressed in 2014 by Janez Potočnik (a former European Commissioner for the Environment): “There is no such thing as waste – there are only resources. Today’s use is tomorrow’s resource”. Reflecting this idea, the exposition presents photos, videos and written description of many different kinds of initiatives and inventions created to limit waste and productively use what we now consider as rubbish. Visiting the exposition, you become familiar with innovative solutions implemented both in Poland and abroad, actions driven by local communities as well as advanced technological and scientific projects, run by universities or private companies. Although generally, based on scientific reports, our impact on the planet makes the future look rather gloomy, I left the expo with a broad smile on my face, full of admiration for human ingenuity.

The exhibition takes up a very small amount of space – a single room only. In spite of this, the organizers managed to present such a huge number of fascinating ideas, that I literally couldn’t stop watching. When preparing this post, I had a serious problem deciding which of them I should describe. It’s impossible to present them all! Finally, after long and thoughtful consideration, I have picked a few of the most interesting projects that I would like to show you. Below you can see some photo coverage from the exhibition – and not only.

Entering the Castle…
Special stickers with inscriptions in Braille’s alphabet help visually impaired people identify the containers for different types of waste.
The project is driven together by the ENERIS Group, the Foundation for Blind and Visually Impaired People VEGA, the Polish Association of the Blind and the Educational Centre in Laski. Those who need such stickers can obtain them for free by contacting ENERIS.
Smog ink. It can be used to fill pens and for a variety of artistic projects.
Four scientists from Cambridge, Massachussets developed a technology called KAALINK. It allows to capture air pollutants and transform them into ink (having previusly removed heavy metals and carcinogens).
Another great inititative in Poland! In the town of Piła there is a so called Repair Cafe where people can bring their old objects and have them fixed by volunteers – local handymen, passionate about DIY, sometimes also professionals: computer experts, electricians, dressmakers, specialists in knife sharpening.
Waste bricks. Tom van Soest and Ward Massa have created a sort of a huge blender where you can grind problematic waste such as old washbasins, toilets or tiles. This way, they obtain a material from which they produce bricks. Ingenious, isn’t it?
An underground system of waste storage in Czerwionka-Leszczyny in Silesia region in Poland. They are located in an area of multifamily houses aimed for industrial workers. Each of these huge bins has an undeground part, the capacity of which is 3 cubic meters, which allows to store a bigger amount of waste than in regular containers. The supervisor of the area receives a message from the electronic system when the bin is full, which facilitates collecting waste at the adequate time.
This electricity-free air conditioner is a simple yet innovative method developed by the inventor Ashis Paul. This solution has been implemented in Bangladesh where temperatures tend to be extremely high and most of people live in tin huts. On top of that, streets of Bangladesh are literally drowned in plastic waste so it is a great idea to give all these a second life.
There is a small shop at the Castle where you can buy souvenirs, books and some local design. For the duration of the exhibition, you can also find a section dedicated to ecology and zero waste.

If you would like to find out about more ideas and you are not staying too far from Cieszyn, I recommend you visit this unique exhibition. Unfortunately, the show will be held only until October 22 – though maybe you will still have a chance to visit within the remaining few days. If not, Cieszyn on its own is also definitely worth visiting.

The magical Cieszyn

Despite its small size, this picturesque town located on Olza river (its right-bank side belongs to the Czech Republic) boasts a vibrant cultural life with a wide variety of events, concerts, festivals, conferences, exhibitions and theatre plays. You can drop in one of many charming cafés and restaurants; drink a pint of beer from the Castle Brewery (Browar Zamkowy) and have a long stroll while admiring the panorama and the hills of the nearby Beskid on the horizon, as well as enjoying the cosy and chill vibe of the Old Town. This is a place where time slows down, encouraging the visitors to a lazy contemplation of the things around. It might be because of the closeness to nature and the relaxed way of being of our neighbours from across the Southern boarder.

Cieszyn in autumn – a view from the Castle Hill.
Romanesque St.Nicholas Chapel. Its picture can be found on Polish 20 PLN notes.
Kornel i przyjaciele (Kornel and friends) is a cosy cafe and a bookshop located in the Old Town. It is named after the Polish writer – Kornel Filipowicz.
“A little Venice” in Cieszyn – houses and restaurants located on a picturesque canal. It is also worth visiting in spring, when magnolia trees are blooming.
A view of Olza river…
There are many places where you can stroll in Cieszyn…
Interesting links:




  1. Bardzo chciałam się wybrać na konferencję w Zamku i wystawę, jednak komunikacja z Warszawy nie jest taka prosta, a jeszcze rozchorował mi się syn 🙁 Mam nadzieję, że uda mi się jeszcze odwiedzić Cieszyn, choć już nie w tym roku.
    Cieszę się, że pokazałaś choć kawałek wystawy, z pewnością obejrzałabym ją z wielkim zainteresowaniem 🙂

    1. To prawda, z Warszawy nie ma chyba bezpośrednich połączeń, trzeba się kilka razy przesiadać 🙁 Mam nadzieję, że syn już zdrowy! Przywiozłam z Cieszyna małą książeczko-broszurę, w której opisane są wszystkie projekty przedstawione na wystawie, więc gdybyś była zainteresowana przeczytaniem, chętnie się nią podzielę 🙂

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