Barcelona Forever Goes Copenhagen, a Recycling Project


In a local recycling station, Mette Bak Andersen from Copenhagen Forever is surprised about the lack of interest to recycle plastics in Copenhagen and shows Mayor Klaus Bondam a piece of recycled plastic made in Barcelona.

After Barcelona Forever in 2008, a design installation of a house built from materials found in the streets of the city, designer Mette Bak Andersen and her team are now moving north and planning Copenhagen Forever. Barcelona Forever's aim was to draw attention to those materials that have become waste but which could easily be given a second life though a creative approach. Now the team wants to see what materials and products in the Danish capital can be rescued from ending up as landfill.The project started by focusing on reusing materials and objects, but soon went deeper by analysing the materials' lifecycles and their flow around the city. One led to another and soon the Forever concept was born. Copenhagen Forever, just like Barcelona Forever, is based on the project's experience that the citizen relates easier to reusing furniture and material than to recycling.

The challenge between the different Forever projects lies in the various ways their citizens relate to recycling; some cities have more or less successful recycling facilities which some people use while very few realise the potential that exists in the waste that they generate. The objective of the Forever projects is to involve citizens in taking a more active role and responsibility in the use of materials that surround them, and making them aware of material resources, all in a creative and fun way.

Copenhagen Forever will start by mapping the waste from the city's recycling bins and the industry's by-products. Designers will then be involved in the recycling process to come up with new designs to produce from the waste materials by the local industry. The final challenge is then to commercialise those products to the local customers, and make sure they will get recycled again at the end of their life. All in all, the project seems to adopt a Cradle to Cradle philosophy.

Copenhagen's Mayor Klaus Bondam, who welcomed Copenhagen Forever last month, remarked:

I think that Copenhagen Forever is a very interesting initiative: In the city of Copenhagen we are working on achieving a greater level of recycling for the benefit of the climate. Recycling and re-using is the way forward and there is something especially beautiful in showing that we do not just throw out to buy new.

Want to get involved?

Copenhagen Forever is design "made in", "made by" and "made from" the city of Copenhagen. To achieve their goals, Copenhagen Forever is looking for collaborators such as private and public companies and institutions who are interested in recycling their by-products and waste, and organizations who are already involved in recycling, as well as schools and universities and anyone else who's enthusiastic about tackling today's waste problem. Contact Mette Bak Andersen for further information.

We are looking forward to see the first prototypes and designs this summer, thanks to The Danish National Workshops for Arts and Crafts who has granted Copenhagen Forever a 2 months residency. We are also curious to compare the different habits and recycling cultures in Barcelona and Copenhagen. ::Mette Bak Andersen

Tags: Barcelona | Copenhagen | Recycling