Circular Berlin celebrates 4 years of active involvement in the circular economy development in Berlin. Let us take a look at the main highlights and learnings in 2022, and celebrate it jointly, as without your support it would be difficult.
Building a stronger community
Our community of members continues to evolve as we keep on looking for synergies and connecting members for co-operations and knowledge transfer. In 2022 we increased our family of organisational members: along with Labels, Commown, Eolos, NochMall and Korg Berlin, we were happy to welcome Freiraum in der Box, New Standard.s, Zero Waste Your Life, ildsjeler.studio, Sustainable Design Center, Pentatonic and weDress collective.
All together, our community grew from 70, to 110 bright and engaging circular advocates for Berlin. You can get a glimpse of the faces of our community , by looking at our Members’ gallery. Our members have such a wealth of experience and expertise, that we wanted to share this knowledge: the new Learning Circles format, which happens once a month (usually on a Thursday), gave us this chance. All together, through diverse events on the topics of circularity, we reached more than 400 people , whom we hope will continue to advocate for the circular economy.
Our Berlin ecosystem of Circular Economy businesses, organisations, and projects was brought to the next level. Supporting Berlin in building the Circular Economy, it was incorporated into the innovation landscape for the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises! You can find the new Circular Economy map here.
We also celebrated the success of our project Circular City Challenge – a format which builds bridges between circular innovations and local municipalities. After 7 months of volunteering work we received around 130 applications, which were reviewed with 20 Jury members across Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and Vienna. It helped us to get to know better 8 finalists– from the building sector to food, furniture, and new technologies: Hempstatic, Labor Tempelhof, WeitergebenOrg, Concular Urban Hubs, Floris Catering, FairCup, Sleepify and FarmNOW.
Moreover, we are happy to be part of other exciting community projects such as the development of a Zero Waste Agency in Berlin, as well as the Reuse Campaign driven by Senat UMVK, and the Mehrweg-Alliance organized by Project Together. We are very excited to support next steps and join development.
More circularity in Berlin through active engagement
2022 brought further development of the A-Gain Guide platform. The A-Gain Guide is the No. 1 platform for reducing the fashion industry’s huge environmental impact because the most sustainable clothes are the ones we already own. The A-Gain Guide maps more than 1.500 companies and promotes the repairing, re-use and upcycling of owned clothes instead of buying fast fashion. This year, the team launched the guide, a programmed tool to get personalized options for your unwanted, used clothes. Check it out, if you haven’t done so already and find “textilretter” in your Kiez.
In the construction sector we have joined forces with Sustainable Design Center, Dost Architektur, Concular, Circular Structural Design and Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin to kickstart the inspiring Haus der Transformation project. The new building developed by and with the HTW students, should transmit the spirit of transformation, creativity and engagement. Our input has been to guide the project to ensure that circularity is embedded in the transformation of the building. You can find out more about Haus der Transformation here, and we are looking forward to the next steps, diving directly into the construction phase.
Through another cooperative project, CEWI, coordinated by WWF Germany and KlimaWirtschaft Stiftung, together with diverse partners, we worked on the development of a digital design tool for planners, to enable them to work with secondary building materials. The concept is based on the approach “form follows resources availability”. The tool should help integrate building elements and components of the “anthropogenic stock” into the design and optimise designs according to resource and emission aspects. Read more about the project here.
In the food sector, we slowly started building up a stronger team, and continued our work for Circularity through Zero Waste Approaches in Hotel Gastronomy. Together with visitBerlin, Seminaris Hotel and NEW STANDARD.STUDIO we focused on five key interventions to transform the kitchen as well as other areas of hotel operations in order to reduce food waste. The interventions will be documented and should serve as a public source of information and inspiration for other hospitality and gastronomical entities.
Another big milestone for us is the closure of our involvement in the Haus der Materialisierung project. We supported the project through the development of its digital inventory system and online- shop, developed specifically for secondary material markets. Unlike other available inventory tools, this tool included environmental assessment features that allows warehouse managers to have an estimation of their environmental contribution associated with their sales performance. The resulting open source software keeps an inventory of items available at the warehouse, exports them to an online shop, and generates reports of the sales and environmental benefits of reusing some of the secondary materials sold. The full article about the tool, written by TU Berlin, can be read here. You can find the link to the open source GMIT code, on our website.
Lastly, and with much joy, together with our member and partner New Standard Studio, we worked together on the topic of reuse within the gastronomy sector in Friedrichshain – Kreuzberg. We supported restaurants and cafes around the area of Boxhagener Platz and Admiralbrücke to transition from single use packaging to reusables. The project is initiated by Bezirksamt Friedrichshain – Kreuzberg, and you can read more about it here. The final report will be published soon, but what stood out in terms of learnings was that education of consumers is equally important as the implementation of Reusable solutions in gastronomy. The local district mayor, Clara Hermann spoke about the negative effects that takeaway packaging has on local parks and green spaces, and also introduced the Frag nach Mehrweg campaign, which encouraged customers to nominate restaurants who they think should adopt a reusable pool-system solution from: Vytal, Recup/Rebowl, Tiffin Loop, Relevo, or FairCup.
Circular knowledge to bring society forward
Over the last year, our education team facilitated and organized numerous discussions with innovators through the project Circular Together, run by Impact Hub Berlin. The interest in the topic is also spread further in the society, where we cooperated with Bergisch circular, Diffferent GmbH, Goethe Institut, Vlerick Business School, Mesopartner, JARO Institut e.V., Friedrich-Neumann Stiftung, WeTek Berlin gGmbH, WeberBank and Hertha BSC. In addition, they conducted additional open courses to introduce the Circular Economy to a broader audience, as well as a train-the-trainer workshop. Together we had a chance to dive deeper into the concept of circularity, to better understand the dependencies between climate change and circularity, as well as to rediscover different tools for applying circularity content. All in all, more than 300 participants joined our educational sessions in 2022.
Finally, a very special THANKS goes out to our whole community of volunteers, who have been a vital part of our team this year:
Sarah Böhm, Cherelle Escaffre, Sarah Eager, Candela Fernandez, Laura Grotenrath, Jessamy Hardie, Georg Hubmann, Tobias Jänecke, Sarah Keller, Megan Koch, Laura Llonch , Maximilian Mauracher, Inga Mücke, Arianna Nicoletti, Dina Padalkina, Sofia Elisabeth Ratzinger, Julius Schaeufele, Anna Reiners, Josefine Shone , Ronja Scholz, Jan Störkel, Patrick Teuffel, Melanie Vezjak, Susan Weide.
If you want to give us a little Christmas present, we would be very thankful for your response to our survey and your support of our voluntary work.
Circular Berlin wishes you a safe and happy Christmas time and a positive circular start to 2023.
And here are some impressions from this year.