Towards a world without trash – the Cradle to Cradle congress 2016

Press release / Monika Griefahn


Viable solutions for a true recycling economy – that’s what we hope to have been able to demonstrate during the third Cradle to Cradle congress in the northern German city of Lüneburg. The following is the official press release from C2C e.V.:

On the weekend of September 23/24 the third edition of the world’s biggest congress focusing on the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) principle took place at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. On both days over 700 participants debated a world in which rubbish can be utilized as a nutrient. The congress was organized with the support of 100 voluntary helpers from the non-profit organization Cradle to Cradle e.V.

The C2C idea refers to a real and sustainable recycling economy in which raw materials circulate in biological and technical loops. At a time when resources are becoming increasingly rare C2C offers an innovation oriented approach: products are completely redeveloped and designed in a way that they’re made only from materials that can be fed back into a loop – for example biodegradable t-shirts, edible food packaging or healthy single-origin plastics and metals. During the congress 32 actors from different backgrounds came together for discussions, demonstrating that the idea is not merely a utopian dream. Fittingly, the daily host, energy expert Dr. Franz Alt, reminded his audience that “the sun won’t send us an energy bill”. In fact, one of the basic requirements for viable recycling loops is renewable energy, which is why actors Ursula Sladek from the electric utility company in Schönau and Professor Timo Leukefeld, energy ambassador of the German federal government, talked about the slow progress of Germany’s energy transition.

Chairwoman Dr Monika Griefahn sees the congress as an important opportunity for networking: “There were many encounters and networking opportunities during the business meet-up and the expert exchanges as well as at the information booths and in the networking café.” Tim Janßen, managing director of C2C e.V., also drew a positive conclusion: “The congress was brought to life by its 700 participants as well as by actors such as Sarah Wiener, Wolfgang Grupp and Professor Dr Martin Stuchtey. It demonstrated how C2C affects all aspects of society.”

A concert by German pop star Bela B. and the band Danube’s Banks constituted the concluding highlight of this year’s congress. Nora Sophie Griefahn, managing director of C2C e.V., is looking forward to next year: “We have already started planning for the fourth edition of the Cradle to Cradle congress, which will be internationalized even further in the coming year. Once again we expect countless actors and supporters who will participate in making it happen.”

The 4th Cradle to Cradle congress will take place at Leuphana University Lüneburg on October 20 and 21, 2017.

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