Municipalities in Germany procure billions of euros worth of goods and services every year: local authorities decide how kindergartens are to be built. Districts plan local public transportation. They are responsible for hospitals and schools. In short, they shape things. The fact that municipalities with this creative power are a decisive driver for an economy that selects healthy and environmentally compatible materials that are also recoverable – that is what Cradle to Cradle (C2C) means – was underlined by the “C2C Summit: Shaping Communities of the Future” of the Cradle to Cradle NGO, which took place on May 12, 2022 at the C2C LAB in Berlin.
As with past events of the C2C NGO, it became apparent how much environmental and health-friendly and resource-saving circular economy would actually already be possible, if only consistent action was taken. It is good that with this event the NGO is focusing on those actors – public administrations – who can really make a difference. Consistent municipal development with C2C as a guiding principle encompasses all relevant areas of a municipality, from procurement to construction to mobility, infrastructure and local resource management. The possibilities to act environmental and health-friendly are therefore huge.
MATERIAL PASSPORT A MUST FOR EVERY BUILDING
One of the guests at the C2C LAB was Sören Bartol, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs. He informed the audience that in the coalition agreement, the German government plans to introduce a digital building resource passport in order to better track material flows. Understanding buildings as pools of materials is an approach that Cradle to Cradle has been pursuing for decades, and it is good that it has now reached the decisive bodies.
If you know what’s in your building, and then build it in a way that makes disassembling easy, you have a lot to gain when it comes to the issue of reusing materials. Considering that a significant portion of the waste generated in Germany is construction waste (in 2019, it was 230.9 million tons, according to statistics from the Federal Environment Agency), it’s clear that action is needed.
The event at the C2C LAB brought much to the point and was an asset to the debate, which absolutely must continue on this topic. Click here for the detailed press release (in German) with many interesting practical examples.