Circular Berlin’s 2020 in a nutshell

Circular Berlin’s 2020 in a nutshell

What a year! 

2020 was extraordinary, different, challenging, life-changing, flexible, and other adjectives you can find to describe the whole situation.  For us, in Circular Berlin, it was not an exception. We had to find our way to work differently, to adjust to the situation, and to keep on with motivation.

Like everyone, at the beginning of 2020, we had big plans ahead. The time showed that not everything works according to the plan, but this is probably one of the most exciting things. 

Let us look together what were the main highlights and learnings of 2020 for Circular Berlin.

Grew as an organisation

2020 brought us all to a remote office. As much as we enjoyed our co-working space at B-Part Am Gleisdreieck, in March we had to leave it. 

Many ups and downs, but on the positive side, we grew as a team significantly and extended our community. We: 

  • welcomed our new leads for the Food and Biomass area (Laura Grotenrath) and the Textile and Fashion (Arianna Nicoletti), as well as Leon Bucher (Education). 
  • created a team of 13 people together.
  • introduced our community membership, which built a community of almost 50 individuals interested to exchange and collaborate on the topic of circular economy in Berlin, where special thanks for the whole work to Paul Anca.

However, working remotely as a team is a big challenge, even though we had it already in our culture. Keep on with the spirit, keep on with the ideas exchange, keep on with little updates – these are the learnings which remote work can not substitute.

But we keep on supporting each other with such little activities as Online Christmas cooking together with RestlosGlücklich e.V.

Circular economy, learnings and projects

Despite the pandemic, this year was a big step for the Circular Economy. The topic sped up and became more relevant also for the policymakers. 

For us, in our little Berlin microcosmos, we also saw more attention and interests in it. 

Our education team hosted several educational training sessions for tools in the circular economy and introductions into the topics, which in total covered more than 150 participants. We completed the Circular School project, which helped  Kreativitätsgrundschule Karlshorst to receive the first “Circular School Certificate”. As well as for the first time, the whole team organised a Summer School on circular economy and urban prototyping together with TU Berlin. 

Together with the construction team, we accomplished our big project for City Loops, focusing on the circular economy practices in construction. It brought us closer to the understanding of further needs of the sector and defined future steps to its development.

Even though the pandemic challenged the food area in Berlin significantly, our team worked hard to develop the next projects. We could narrow down and find the partner to prepare the first pilot for a Circular Economy hotel project. We also keep on working on the biomass flows for Berlin. And hope to see the next steps next year.

Textile and fashion as a sector, picked up on its development after we received the 1st prize for the topic “Circular Fashion beginnt lokal: Ein digitaler Guide für deine Kleidung” from Re-Use Berlin. Our team works hard to make a step further to realise this project together with the Berlin city.

For the products and materials area, all our energy was in the project Haus der Materialising, we designed and built, the official website of the project. As well we are developing an open-source inventory tool for Material Mafia. Another breakthrough was the development of DIN SPEC 91436, together with other partners, to establish Zero Waste practices for waste management systems.

We are proud that despite the challenges of the year, we had a chance to progress with our work and make our contribution to the understanding of the circular economy. 

New collaborations 

We also should not forget about all the amazing projects and organisations that joined us in diverse events we covered this year. Together we realised six events about circular fashion, education, circular district and jobs, food systems and the role of plastics. We want to thank more than 300 people who joined us, brought their perspectives and hopefully picked up the inspiration for their work.

Our Berlin ecosystem of initiatives and projects, as well significantly grew, where more than 30 organisations added themselves. We remain very positive every time seeing how many inspiring projects around Berlin, we could also learn. 

Also, it is great to know that our work remains an inspiration for other locations, like Munich and Zurich, while we are receiving the requests to share our local stories and learnings.

A lot of grateful words, but this is how we still see the past 2020. 

And the final very special THANKS, goes to the whole community of our volunteers, who have been around with us this year: 

Arne Grotenrath, Julius Schaeufele, Doris Knickmeyer, Jessamy Hardie, Marina Petrova, Olivia Rusiczky, Phoebe Blackburn, Ronja Scholz, Sarah Lee, Sofia Elisabeth Ratzinger, Tanya Kuzmina, Julia Roth, Natalie Betts Betts, Arin Moyer, Eike Lucas, Tobias Jäneck, Georg Hubmann, Marilu Valente, Paul Anca, Laura Grotenrath, Leon Bucher, Arianna Nicoletti and Dina Padalkina. 

If you want to make us a little Christmas present, we will be very thankful for your response to our survey and your support of our voluntary work.

Circular Berlin wishes you safe and happy Christmas time and positive circular start in 2021.

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