Berlin’s new lab for secondary materials – Haus der Materialisierung

Berlin’s new lab for secondary materials – Haus der Materialisierung

Haus der Materialisierung is Berlin’s new lab for secondary materials. As Circular Berlin, we are taking part in building it and can report from the front lines. This is a sneak peak on what it’s about, where we stand, and what to expect in the near future.

Secondary, used materials are plentiful – whether for construction, products, arts, textiles. In most cases, they outbeat the use of new materials from an environmental point of view by an order of magnitude (due to the fact that they don’t need to be extracted and manufactured anymore). And yet, new goods and materials tend to be preferred over used ones. This happens because of several reasons: lack of information about the quality and origin of the materials, lack of ideas and knowledge of how to find better uses for materials, lack of efficient exchange markets, lack of investment in the sector, lack of awareness about alternatives on the consumer side – to name a few.

The plan

Haus der Materialisierung is a joint project of over 15 initiatives, coming together to tackle the above-mentioned issues. It’s a one-stop-shop for exchange markets and collectors (Material Mafia, Kunst-Stoffe, cosum), creatives (Frickel-Atelier, Mitkunstzentrale, HabibiShip), workshops (wood, metal, textiles), NGOs (Circular Berlin), research institutes (TU Berlin), a full list of participating initiatives can be viewed hier, with the shared goal of making the usage of secondary materials common practice.

Creatives and workshops can use the materials coming in through the exchange markets. Researchers can study the properties and new uses of the materials. And all this knowledge can be disseminated through practical work, workshops and events. As part of a project funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung für Umwelt (DBU), we aim to

  • Drastically increase the throughput of secondary materials
  • Create and implement a framework for measuring the environmental savings of secondary materials compared to the use of new ones
  • Explore new use cases for 3 selected material types
  • Engage the local community through a series of informative and educational activities

Where we stand

At Circular Berlin, we designed and built, the official website of the project. As well we are developing an open-source inventory tool for Material Mafia, connected to a digital marketplace for used goods (Restado). We are also developing a methodology to estimate the environmental impact of secondary materials, compared to the use of primary ones.

Los geht’s

The Haus der Materialisierung will official open to the public in September 16th, as part of the launch event of the Haus der Statistik. In September, come and meet the faces behind the Haus der Materialisierung at the official launch event. You can also subscribe hier for updates on the launch event and read more about the initiative on their website.

If you can’t wait for the event and want to contribute to Haus der Materialisierung’s activities – either as a private person or as an organisation – contact the initiative directly.

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