welcome to the second-hand mall! • International recycling

Berlin is a cultural hotspot popular with famous artists. My favorite singer, David Bowie, has recorded three albums in the German capital. It now appears that the city is pushing entrepreneurs to embrace sustainable development. How? ‘Or’ What? By dedicating an entire floor of a mall to selling second-hand items.

In the wake of the pandemic, trade is flourishing. I can testify to wanting to escape the house after months of confinement and go to lunch, shopping – just because we can do it again. Nothing can replace a latte macchiato freshly made with my girlfriends.

It doesn’t surprise me to learn that Europe is home to around 9,500 shopping centers. France, the United Kingdom and Germany dominate the market with an annual turnover of more than 125 billion euros; 110 billion euros and 77.5 billion euros, respectively. Rather than jumping on the “must-have gadgets” bandwagon, Berlin takes a unique approach by opening what it calls the “shopping center of the future”.

It contains drop-off points for end-of-life products, repair cafes, thrift stores, pop-up stores that serve as public garage sales, restaurants that serve food and drinks made from nearby ingredients. consumption (to reduce waste) as well as a space where various creative workshops can take place. Fun fact: The location is called ‘Bewahrenhaus’ – which basically translates to a store meant to preserve / save things.

“Every household in Berlin has around 250 unused items lying around,” said Dorothee Winden, deputy spokesperson for the city’s environment, transport and climate department. She believes the second-hand mall will make it easy for consumers to find fully functional second-hand products when shopping for replacement products. In turn, this will extend the life cycle of existing products and limit consumerism, thereby reducing the need to tap pristine resources.

The post-consumer mall is now open for an initial six-month period, which seems like a good excuse to visit the city on my Christmas vacation – to support eco-friendly businesses and my own sanity. Ultimately, Berlin wants to build three to four of these sites open all year round, permanently.

According to data from online resale store ThredUp, this call comes at the right time. The US second-hand market alone is expected to double over the next few years, reaching $ 77 billion (€ 65 billion) by 2025.

Maybe we should all take a moment to think about the 250 ‘forgotten’ items we can get rid of (I was planning on cleaning my three wardrobes, but I’m putting it off because it’s a momentous task even with Bowie who guides me through the chaos). I think I’ll start with something small and recycle the barely worn stilettos, old jewelry, and the coffee mug collection. Decluttering is healthy, right?

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Peggy P. Gilmore

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