Interview – The Goldmine

The Municipality of Copenhagen is rethinking how to build better recycling stations in the future. As a city we have ambitions of being CO2-neutral in 2025 and a city with no waste in 2050. In order to succeed with this, we have to rethink how we treat the waste being delivered there – in order for as much of it as possible can be turned in to resources, that we can redistribute in to society. The more resources that we can redistribute in to society and less waste we create, the more successful we are, and the closer we will get to a waste less society.

The ambitions of the Municipality is to dramatically increase our recycling capabilities over the next six years at the Southern Harbor Recycling Station – a state of the art recycling station set to open early 2019 – to reach 20% direct recycling in 2023. At the same time we wish to develop business models that enables the Municipality to increase the recycling efforts in ways that are financially sustainable. These are incredibly ambitious plans and therefore call for incredibly ambitious collaborations in order to find the right ways forward. It is possible to develop some of these solutions internally in the Municipality, while others must be developed in partnerships across different department. Still other solutions have to be developed together with external parties – both with public sector organizations as well as with the private sector.

The Goldmine was established in 2015 as a strategic design experiment in order to investigate the arena of collaborating with the private sector in search of developing methods to increase recycling at one specific recycling station – Vasbygade 26, South Western area of Copenhagen.

The Goldmine is a 500m2 warehouse located at a recycling station in Copenhagen. The interior of the building has been designed to accommodate the needs of the entrepreneurs – the Golddiggers – who use the Goldmine. They have free access to almost everything that the customers of the recycling station deliver there (old wood, sofas, building materials, clothes etc). The purpose is to redistribute as many of the resources possible, in order to increase the lifecycle of the products. At the same time, the entrepreneurs are encouraged to do this work in ways that are financially viable – finding business models that enables them to earn a profit is vital for their project to succeed in the long run.

The Goldmine is planned to close down, permanently, late 2018, as the Southern Harbor Recycling Station will open including an updated version of the Goldmine. The Goldmine at Vasbygade has provided many answers. Most importantly: The amount of resources delivered at the recycling station, which holds value or potential value are great. The entrepreneurs have, generally speaking, had a fairly easy job at finding a lot of resources with value. One does not have to look far in order to find gold! Secondly: There is a great potential in establishing collaborations between the Municipality and the private sector when it comes to recycling. 1% of everything that has been delivered at Vasbygade recycling centre has been recycled by the Golddiggers. This is around 100 tons of materials that has been recycled in to society over the last couple of years.

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