I'm proud of our low-impact supply chain. Here I'd like to highlight other local Berlin designers and producers of zero-waste and low-footprint products.
What makes a product zero-waste? To make this list, products must be either or both:
- made from waste, thereby giving discarded materials a second life
- designed to eliminate waste through use and/or at the product's end of life
If you’d like to learn more about circular design, check out our Book Report on Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, two circular design pioneers.
These are unpaid recommendations, although Polar Embassy's parent company has provided design services for Atmo Home in the past. These are the made-in-Germany low- and zero-waste products that I love myself, and plan to give as holiday gifts this year:
Atmo Home designs just-add-water cleaning solutions and produces and packs right here in Berlin. With their re-usable Aluminum bottles (made in France), you seriously reduce plastic waste output and pollution from the transport of liquids. I helped develop their Renewal Candle, a compostable candle in a ceramic pot, produced in Portugal and the UK.
Body & Care
Kynd Hair is the first in Europe to create plant-based, skin-friendly hair extensions for Black communities. I don't know when they launch, but I'm keeping an eye out on their gift certificates. It’s so exciting to celebrate Black-led zero-waste businesses here in Berlin. Kynd’s products are made in Germany.
Roots Radicals pickles, cans, ferments, preserves seasonal vegetables that they rescue from waste, and byproducts get up-cycled into spices! Find their bright jars at their Saturday stand at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg. Roots Radicals’ products are made in Berlin.
Zoom Fresh makes the best Kimchi I've had in Berlin. Edward and his team also make a fabulous vegan option (without fish oil) that is the perfect gift for the spicy food lover. They also have seasonal flavours and vegetables. Check them out at local markets at Markthalle Neun, Maybachufer, and Kollwitzkiez.
The re:Mix countertop blender from Open Funk allows you to use your own glass jars. Its casing is made from 100% recycled plastic, it was designed modularly to be as repairable as possible, and they even buy-back old mixers to refurbish and re-sell. Perfect for the smoothie-drinker. Open Funk’s products are made in Berlin.
I bought packaging-free (vegan!) sweets from Original Unverpackt for a giveaway we did this year with Diversity Spielzeug. Their staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and they have a wide selection of packaging-free food, body care, and some lifestyle products.
Kaffee9 is my go-to coffee shop because of its friendly staff, unfussy yet exceptional-quality coffee, and vegan treats from other local bakeries like Albatross. Their three options of fabulous packaging-free coffee beans from Vote Coffee, roasted in Neukölln, are perfect zero-waste gifts for coffee-lovers.
Kaffeeform makes reusable coffee cups (and watches!) from a mix of coffee grounds, recycled wood fibers, and a plant-based polymer. They collect coffee grounds from Berlin cafes by bike, and produce their products in Germany. I love my Weducer Cup from them - it's a great zero-waste gift for coffee lovers.
Designed in Berlin, made elsewhere
Nica’s Concept creates gorgeous handbags from discarded fabrics from furniture-makers and interior decorators. Easily one of the most stylish upcyclers I know, their bags are a special zero-waste gift for the fashionist@ in your life. Nica’s bags are made in Turkey.
Sumo, co-founded by Luisa Kahlfeldt, a standout Berlin design talent to keep an eye on, creates reusable baby diapers. Designed with environmentally benign materials, their cloth diaper is easy on sensitive baby skin and machine-washable. Instead of +5k disposable diapers, you’d need only 25 Sumo diapers, a reduction of 1.2 tons of waste! Sumo diapers are produced in Serbia.
Designed and made in Bavaria
I know this is an unusual addition for a Holiday Gift Guide - but I just can't resist the surprising beauty, the thoughtfully circular design, and the taboo-breaking storytelling of Urnfold, a startup based in Regensburg. Using locally-sourced paper, they craft absolutely gorgeous paper urns. If you are celebrating the life of a loved one this time of year, I hope Urnfold's multifaceted, colourful, and biodegradable designs help bring closure, and maybe even delight, to the difficult process.
Our Card Games
I hope this list is helpful! And I hope our card games stay on your radar for holiday shopping this winter 2023. Our Tarot cards, playing cards, and kids’ game are all produced in Austria by a Cradle-to-Cradle-certified printer. I'm giving them as gifts myself ;)