Hardware Flohmarkt: "Upcycling makes a lot of sense in the electrical sector".

Why we’re organizing a hardware flea market and what you can expect from it. Interview with Dr. Dieter Müller.

On September 8, the Technology Foundation will host a hardware flea market in and around CityLAB. Where did this idea come from?

Upcycling is generally a trend right now: clothing, packaging... and there is hardly an area for which upcycling makes more sense than with electrical appliances. There have already been initiatives like this in the past, and we want to continue these efforts.

Electrical appliances are rarely completely broken when they end up in the garbage. The engine still works, the laser is still intact.... Everybody knows that, and most people have a guilty conscience when old devices simply end up in the garbage. And rightly so: the stories about how our old devices are dismantled in Africa or Asia under very questionable circumstances are unfortunately true. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

It’s better to disassemble the devices in Berlin and recycle the parts that are still intact! This makes sense in every respect: it’s sustainable, fun, and most of the time you learn something while disassembling and recycling. It’s no coincidence that to “grasp” something is a synonym for understanding it.

With the flea market, we offer anyone who is interested a great opportunity to act sustainably, have fun, and learn something at the same time.

Sounds good. What exactly is being offered?

First of all, we would like to offer the opportunity to exchange used hardware as well as purchase it at a reasonable price. As I said before: Everything doesn't always have to be brand-new. Recycling is a great thing to do, and it makes the things you create as a result absolutely unique.

In addition to this marketplace, we are planning a small supporting programme for the flea market in which projects will be presented that show how others have solved hardware-related problems. This kind of input is always interesting, especially for beginners.  We’ll also be offering a soldering course for any beginners at the flea market to show them how to best put their new purchases to use , i.e. how to solder them properly. In our experience, most people haven't really worked with their hands for quite some time, and they really enjoy doing this.

 

You offer these  hands-on formats quite regularly. Do you have any tips for people who can't come on September 8th?

The September 8th flea market is actually an experiment for us that complements our other offers at the CityLAB during the summer holidays.

For example, we’re happy to loan out our Hacking Box  to help people complete their own non-commercial projects. Based on individual needs, the Hacking Box components can also be paired with Arduinos, Calliopes, Raspberry Pis, sensors, servos and whatever else you might need. We can also provide several sets of the required hardware, for example for hackathons. And if you are not experienced in this area and thus unsure of what you need, we’re happy to advise you. For first-time projects, we also provide learning material. However, if you’re interested in making use of these services, don’t wait too long to check in with us, because  this offer is very popular. The boxes are on the road a lot, and those who need them on a specific date should contact us as early as possible.

We also regularly organise events at CityLAB; you can learn more about what we have planned via the Technology Foundation's website and in the CityLAB calendar of events – just take a look from time to time to see what’s new.

But there’s one event coming up I would like to highlight: On August 30th, we’re hosting an Open Workshop. Anyone can come by without registering and hack and code with my colleagues and myself on all kinds of topics. We are looking forward to everyone who joins us!