Marketplace + drop-off station + package service point
The NachbarschaftsBox, or neighbourhood box, set up by Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR), Berlin’s municipal waste company, and Charlottenburger Baugenossenschaft, a housing cooperative, has countless functions
For people who live in Berlin, it’s a familiar sight. “Zu verschenken” (to give away) is scribbled on cardboard boxes in front of buildings or on hallways. They often contain books, shoes, children’s clothes, and sometimes even a complete tea set. “We wanted to offer an alternative,” explains Michael Krebs of Charlottenburger Baugenossenschaft, or Charlotte for short. “The cardboard boxes in front of houses don’t look particularly nice and also don’t conform with fire safety regulations,” he says. The “Charlotte on Campus” estate on Gross-Berliner Damm comprises 121 flats, a community space, a rooftop terrace, a commercial unit, 242 bike parking spaces, and 82 car and motorcycle parking spaces – and, for just a few weeks now, a so-called NachbarschaftsBox.
With a look similar to the Packstation parcel pick-up boxes, Charlotte has set up the innovative box in cooperation with BSR. Through the platform provided by the waste company, users can use four of the total twelve lockers free of charge. They can be used for giving away unused but well-preserved items or to pick up treasures found on the platform. The service is open to all providers. With this offering, the cooperation partners look to improve the local area, promote sustainable use of resources, and make it as easy as possible for Berliners to make the reuse idea a reality.
“I think it's a wonderful idea,” says Robert Scheibe. Although he doesn’t live at Charlotte, he uses the BSR’s neighbourhood locker as a drop-off station: “I had been looking for a certain vinyl record for my grandmother for a long time,” says the Adlershof resident. To open the locker, he simply enters a generated PIN. Not having to pick up the record somewhere in person saves Scheibe time. “I found this small collection on a bartering platform. The giver then deposited it here for me,” he says.
“With our neighbourhood offerings, we support our citizens and jointly take the next step towards a Zero Waste City,” says Stephanie Otto, the chairperson of BSR. Carsten Röding, member of the Board of Directors of Charlottenburger Baugenossenschaft, adds: “The box is an attractive additional service for our residents.” Charlotte operates its eight lockers using the platform service provider PAKETIN. It enables users to receive packages around the clock.
Robert Scheibe gets on his bike: “I’ll ride to my grandma’s. She is already looking forward to the music of Cabaret from 1972.”
Helen Arnold for Adlershof Journal