A new Berlin department store with a difference has opened its doors, selling only well-preserved second-hand goods. From furniture to fashions, everything in the store is pre-owned. By selecting only high-quality items, the city hopes to bring an end to a throwaway culture. It’s part of a city-wide drive to make Berlin a zero-waste city by 2030.
Berlin is aiming to become a zero-waste city, shrinking the amount of trash that will go to landfills over the next decade by focusing on key areas like avoiding food waste and single-use packaging. The government plans to increase recycling, including materials used in the construction industry. And it also wants to greatly increase reuse, making it simple for people both to drop off old products—the city estimates that every household in Berlin has nearly 250 unused items at home—and to easily find used products when they’re shopping for replacements.
The pop-up shop will be open on the third floor of the city’s Karstadt Hermannplatz department store, in the hip Kreuzberg district, for the next six months. If the pilot project works, more stores are planned.
Called B-Wa(h)renhaus, the store aims to attract people who might not consider shopping at the city’s many second-hand furniture and clothing shops. Across the new store’s 650 square meters of selling space, nine vendors offer products ranging from recycled and upcycled furniture and clothing to refurbished electrical appliances and toys. For anyone who fancies a snack, there’s also an outlet selling dumplings that do good – they’re made from “excess but high-quality” ingredients. On the floor above is a meeting space that will be used for a series of events to raise awareness of recycling and reuse, including promoting a scheme to allow shoppers to borrow cargo bikes to take their bargains home.
“For the first time, a secondhand store resides inside an established store,” says Dorothee Winden, deputy press speaker of the city’s department for the environment, transport, and climate. “Reused goods are offered where people do their shopping.” On the floor above is a meeting space that will be used for a series of events to raise awareness of recycling and reuse, including promoting a scheme to allow shoppers to borrow cargo bikes to take their bargains home. “Our motto is ‘new can be used’,” says Stefan Tidow, State Secretary for Environment and Climate Protection, who officially opened the store. “We want to make well-preserved used goods more easily accessible to even more people.”
Everything is in good quality and all electronics have been checked by their technical teams and come with a one-year warranty. They recently ran the trail store for 6-months and it was a massive success. So much so that four new stores have been approved for around Germany.
Berlin wants to be a zero-waste city by 2030. European Commission data shows it already recycles 90% of glass and paper waste and 41% of plastics and metal. Bloomberg reports that the city has cut annual household waste per resident by 11 kilos since 2008. Households separate their trash into five colour-coded bins for recycling and rubbish that cannot be recycled is burned in a waste-to-energy plant. The city’s recycling service says food waste used to produce biogas has to date replaced 2.5 million litres of diesel.
In a GlobalData report earlier this year, an online resale store, analysts projected that online secondhand sales would grow 69% between 2019 and 2021 in the U.S., while the retail sector as a whole may shrink 15%. By 2029, the report projects, the secondhand market may be twice as large as fast fashion.