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Circular economy in and from Berlin

Berlin, 20 February 2024 - In 2023, the worldwide so-called Earth Overshoot Day was on 2 August. In Germany, natural resources had already been used up by the beginning of May. The actual global consumption of resources was therefore equivalent to 1.7 planets. However, there is still only one earth available to the world’s population – and that is the one on which future generations would also like to live peacefully in harmony with nature. Time to counteract the negative trend. This is, among other things, the goal of the so-called circular economy.

Circular economy involves the more efficient use of raw materials and consequently the reduction of resource consumption. These should be available to the economy for as long as possible. It goes beyond the previously more commonly known recycling economy and involves the entire economic system with a comprehensive approach to the handling of raw materials. This also includes consciously raising awareness among the population regarding the handling of consumer products and the avoidance of waste.

The sustainable use of resources has developed into an economic sector with a lot of potential in Germany in recent years. More than 280,000 employees in around 11,000 companies are responsible for an annual turnover of around 80 billion euros. Berlin-based companies that are already dealing with this include, among others Vanguard, betteries and GaeaStar.

Vanguard AG has set itself the task of remanufacturing used single-use medical devices for reuse – with the same function and the same level of safety. The so-called medical remanufacturing makes it possible to conserve resources and the climate and to reduce costs permanently. Vanguard’s remanufacturing consists of product disassembly, cleaning, disinfection and assembly. Perfect hygiene is guaranteed through validated, certified and strictly monitored processes.

betteries AMPS GmbH recycles discarded batteries from electric vehicles and then processes them into new products. With the production of sustainable energy storage technologies, the team led by founder Dr. Rainer Hönig from the south of Berlin actively contributes to C02 reduction and provides clean solutions with future prospects.

GaeaStar GmbH produces tableware from clay, or more precisely from clay, water and salt. Due to their material composition, the thin-walled cups and bowls are as sustainable as only natural resources can be – they crumble effortlessly, disintegrate into sand and dust and therefore decompose almost immediately after use. The idea for his extraordinary product came to founder Sanjeev Mankotia during a visit to his home country of India. He observed how street vendors sold tea in handmade terracotta cups, and how customers simply threw them away after consumption. Today the company operates in Berlin and San Francisco and fights the omnipresent flood of plastic products from both locations.

As different as the business models of the best practice examples are, one thing becomes clear: Circular economy offers companies a wide range of opportunities across all sectors and always contributes to an overarching goal: greater sustainability in all areas of life. The company SunCrafter specialises in small and easy-to-use solar systems, for the production of which it uses, where possible, tested and processed 2nd life photovoltaic modules. On users can rent electrical products instead of buying them. And thanks to the browser extension from Faircado, second-hand alternatives for clothing or furniture are suggested while surfing on the Internet. A cycle that is already working excellently in Berlin. 


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