City of Helsingborg / NSR
City of Helsingborg / NSR
Did you know that Earth Overshoot Day in 2020 fell on 22 August? The date when we now consume more of the planet’s resources than it can regenerate in this year. Worrying, to say the least. So what can we do to tackle the challenge of taking more than the Earth can give? Well, the answer is as simple as it is complex. We need to be better at sharing.
Helsingborg’s Education and Recreation Department is taking a close look at how city resources are being used, and the city’s school children are pretty happy about it! For example, preschools and schools can order logs and stumps from Helsingborg’s conservation work with thinning the forests – a source of natural play materials. A beach cabin that was to be demolished has instead been moved to become a schoolyard playhouse. Materials that have been left as waste at the city’s recycling centres are finding new life in classrooms and afterschool clubs, and are now the stuff of children’s imaginations. Old cement pipes have become playground tunnels and old kitchen sinks have become part of open air play kitchens. The ideas are coming thick and fast!
More and more departments are starting to see their “waste” as resources and their inventory as things that could better benefit others. The Education and Recreation Department has partnered with Hbg Works and the Labour Market Department to develop an app called Haffa – a simple platform for getting the most value and life from things found in the city’s workplaces. Here, tables and chairs and all sorts of items will be categorised directly when purchased, to be then put out on an “internal marketplace” when it’s time for them to be put to good use at another workplace/school or care home. Each item will be given an ID with tagging functions to track location, lifecycle, transport, etc. – all with the goal of sharing the things we have instead of continuing the trend of blind consumption.
But let’s not forget, an app is just a tool. The real challenge and the focus of this innovation pilot project is to influence behaviours – a cultural shift from the mindset of “mine” and “yours” and the foundation of a sustainable sharing economy. Now that’s how a smart city thinks!
“It’s certainly exciting to see the resources that can be found within the city. What’s most important is that we make sure they come to good use in making a more sustainable society for coming generations.”
– Emma Sjöberg, Environmental Coordinator, Education and Recreation Department