Purpose and personal commitments from the Indeed team 

Happy holidays dear circular thinkers & doers!! With 2023 coming to a close, it’s time to get cozy, celebrate the passing of one roller-coaster year for climate impacts and action, and look ahead to the arrival of what’s shaping up to be another year of impact. In case you want to look at what’s to come, Tom Standage just launched an article about 10 things to watch for 2024. Check it out for a mixture of hope, motivation, and real talk. 

The holidays are also a time for personal reflection for some team members. Skeptics of #new-year-new-me, our team set attainable resolutions for 2024 we are happy to share with our readers. Of course, the moves we make in our own lives are personal and on a smaller scale. Let’s be real: picking a sustainable toothbrush won’t miraculously solve the whole climate crisis, and turning our entire existence into a green paradise might not be the most practical use of anyone’s time. However, those little friendly choices we adopt, stick with, and proudly share with our crew… they count for something. And guess what? They bring a sense of satisfaction—a nudge closer to the future we’re all rooting for. 

What about you? Are you making any climate-related resolutions? We’d love to hear about them! 

Midjourney Generated Image

Meat Consumption 

For the first time in over five decades, we can say that we have come a huge step closer to achieving climate neutrality in our private lives.  

In 2020, we got rid of our own car and now only use sharing services, public transport and bicycles. Above all, getting rid of the car reduced the number of kilometers driven by car from an average of 12,000 to 2,000 km per year.  

In 2023, the next big step: from mid-April to mid-November, we saved 7.2 tons of CO2 equivalents – extrapolated to a full year, it will probably be around 8-9 tons. The trick: 38 large photovoltaic panels generate so much electricity that we can feed two thirds of it into the public grid; we are currently at over 5 MWh. We were able to consume 2 MWh ourselves. We’ll see what that will look like for a whole year in 2024.  

The biggest insight: the family changes its behavior – according to the availability of the sun. When it shines, the large consumers are consciously switched on. As a modern PV system always includes an app, the reward is immediately visible.  

The power curves show that although the stove is running at full speed, the 2-4 kW power is supplied entirely by the sun. The morning coffee machine peak is also reflected in the power curve, as are the heating phases of the washing machine.  

Behavioral change is supported by the apps through monetary incentives: If you use your own electricity, the app displays the savings in euros. This is because self-consumed electricity earns four times more money than sold electricity – due to the low feed-in tariff  

The change in behavior is supported by the decision against a storage battery: too expensive, too short-lived, too resource-intensive. Instead, there are more PV modules – they now supply enough electricity for the base load in the house even when it rains.  

What’s left for 2024? The issue of meat. The children are almost completely off it anyway – we are testing the option of only eating game instead of farmed meat. If there’s anything available from the local hunter – after all, he has to meet his quota – then we’ll have meat. Otherwise vegetarian food.  

How that develops is a story for next year. 

Michael Leitl – Hamburg team 

Food Waste 

The food waste problem is a global issue with significant environmental, economic, social, and ethical implications. When food is wasted in homes, it leads to the inefficient use of resources, including water, energy, and land. The environmental impact is exacerbated by the production of methane in landfills.

In 2024 I’m adopting a new fridge organization system entitled “First In, First Out (FIFO)”. This concept helps you to arrange your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer based on the “first in, first out” principle i.e. using older items before newer ones to prevent items from expiring. It’s a small change that reinforces more responsible consumption.

Sarah Crooks – New York team 

Vegan Week Days 

Dairy is one of the worst foods for greenhouse gas emissions, but so help me, I do love cheese. But a few months ago, when I hosted a vegan colleague for dinner, I discovered that cheeseless cheese products have come a long way.

Now, my plan for going vegan on the weekdays isn’t some strict routine where I deny myself goodies on certain days to make up for the feast on others. Nah, it’s more about shaking things up in my food game. I’m some days per week to uncover tasty dishes that steer clear of the downsides of animal agriculture. It’s not just a diet tweak; it’s an adventure to spice up my grub while doing a little good for the planet. 

Larissa Scherrer – Hamburg team 

Night Trains 

Every year, a big German airline is offering charter flights from Hamburg to Innsbruck for all the ski advocates in the north of Germany who want to spend their holidays in the (snowy) mountains of Austria – including myself, who is originally from the Alps and returns home for every turn of the year. A seemingly convenient way to travel south since the flight only takes 1 ½ hours to cover a 1.000 km distance between the two cities. Is it environmentally friendly, though? Well, not so much.  

However, there is an even more convenient and greener alternative to travel through Europe: Night Trains.  

Night trains not only allow you to maximize your vacation time by traveling while you sleep, but they also provide comfortable accommodations, such as sleeper cabins or berths, allowing passengers to rest and making the journey itself more enjoyable. 

The Austrian Federal Railways (or ÖBB – who operate one of the most extensive overnight networks throughout Europe) just launched new sleeper carriages, designed to the needs and wishes of today’s passengers, offering modern design, enhanced comfort, and more privacy.  

This is why the Night Train is my choice of transport to travel through Europe in 2024 – the only thing one must keep in mind is to plan your journey ahead and book your seat/bed early, as tickets are in high demand 😉 

Paul Fally – Hamburg team 

Second-Hand Consumption 

As new products and technologies are released every year, our often hungry consumer minds tell us our existing ‘stuff’ is no longer worthy. Although, this is not the case. Often times, there is plenty of life left in our unwanted products, and it is important to realize this with every decision we make as consumers. So with this in mind, I found a challenge that I would like to set for myself for the next year. 

In 2024, as I purchase goods for myself or need to buy gifts for others, I am setting a goal to only shop second-hand.  

Lucas Lehman – New York team 

Reducing Plastic  

Going plastic-free can be challenging and costly, but there are very easy ways of taking a first step and reducing plastic – especially in your household. Three years ago, I decided to minimize plastic in cleaning items such as rugs, sponges and brushes, and purchased alternatives with natural fibers. Today, I can’t imagine returning to conventional, non-recyclable synthetic articles. An excellent alternative I found for my dishing sponge is the loofah sponge. It eliminated the problem of plastic particles coming off the sponge when washing and going directly into the drain. Also, it’s a product that lasts up to one year since it can be washed and reused, making it smart and affordable. My next attempt is to try out a solid dish soap and keep reducing plastic in my kitchen. Let’s see how it goes! 

Mariana Yzusqui – Hamburg team 

Sustainable Gift Packaging 

Giving gifts is fun, and joy is a mimetic process! But along with the gifts comes a mountain of packaging waste. That should be avoided. For the new year, I have resolved to use reusable gift packaging. Sewn bags are made from beautiful fabrics that can be reused year after year and that are even more special than normal wrapping paper because there is already love in them. 

Merry Christmas 🎄 

Maxi Bartkowiak-Sengelmann – Hamburg team 

Solar Panels 

Being an engineer and an optimizing nerd that drives his family crazy with tweaks to reduce electrical and heat energy consumption, we already use much less than comparable households – but there is still a lot of potential. 

The next big step this year will be putting solar panels on our roof! Having recently switched to an electric car, I calculated that this is the fastest and most effective measure to reduce our carbon footprint. 

Replacing our gas furnace by a heat pump is next after that … 

Florian Witt – Hamburg team 

Track, Reduce and Avoid my Plastic and Packaging consumption 

Living in Asia for the first time, I’ve observed a notable increase in the use of single-use plastics and packaging compared to Germany. While I consistently carry my “Jute-Beutel” (cotton bag), its impact on reducing my daily plastic usage is marginal.  

In supermarkets like “ALDI” and others, I’ve noticed that items such as avocados are excessively packaged—two avocados encased in a plastic box, each further wrapped in protective foam netting to prevent damage during transport.  

Similarly, food delivery here tends to be more plastic-intensive than in Germany. Occasionally, a temperature-protective bag is included to ensure the food remains warm during delivery. Although such packaging enhances user convenience, I’ve become increasingly conscious of the need to take meaningful steps to reduce my plastic consumption. Merely possessing a reusable cup and cotton bag no longer suffices.  

So in 2024, I will be more mindful of my packaging usage and identify areas where I can make a difference. The first step involves understanding my current consumption, prompting me to initiate a daily vlog to track and estimate the waste I generate throughout the year. This proactive approach will enable me to make informed decisions and contribute to reducing my environmental footprint. 

Alex Dumler – Shanghai team 

Get into Repair 

You know that common advice to “buy quality stuff, take care of it, and it’ll last forever”? Well, reality often kicks in when the quality comes with a hefty price tag, and you find yourself opting for a quick fix until the perfect version becomes affordable. 

When I moved to Hamburg, I needed a toaster. My wallet, a little empty from spending on furniture and whiteware, landed me with a basic double slice toaster— 18 euros, job done. 

Fast forward to moving in with my partner. The cheap toaster looked out of place but still chugged along, earning its spot in our kitchen. On a December morning, seven years after buying it, the toaster decided to call it quits. It wasn’t much of a tragedy, and we swiftly moved on, sharing thoughts such as: “Well, it had a good run,” and “Your Mum wanted to give us a Christmas present anyway.” 

Enter our friend Pauli, who urged me to walk the talk and try fixing it….Why not? A few YouTube videos, some dismantling, and replacing a magnet… Voila! I had a proud look on my face and the toaster was back in action. 

Lesson learned: It’s all about a shift in attitude. Even seemingly cheap and disposable items can hold unexpected value. A little TLC can revive these budget buys, and making the effort to repair can be surprisingly rewarding. 

Nisarg Acharya – Hamburg team 

The Mensch

The avatar of Indeed Innovation not wired to an individual colleague but expressing our brand’s unique vision on design, circularity, and the future. Also used when several colleagues worked on this particular content piece :-)

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