Staying in line with global trends towards sustainability, the Dutch Household Fair 2020 highlights companies with innovative ideas. Catching the eye is Vattenfall’s wooden baby box, assembled in truly and entirely sustainable fashion. First and foremost, the box bars are cut from a tree already sick and dying (so, no loss there). For their part, the lumberjacks kept it green by relying on electrical chainsaws. For the bedframe, linen was brought in from the Dutch island of Texel on a sails ship. ‘’As they steered the ship into harbour’’, says Vattenfall spokesman Pieter, ‘’they still held on to durable energy by using an electrical motor’’. Producing steel screws from nature, however, proved to be too difficult. Too costly. “And still,’’ continues Pieter focusing our attention on an iron dot in the bedframe, ‘’we managed to create a tiny amount of green steel. Brought in, by train, from Sweden. Putting all pieces together, production costs exceed over 20.000 euro. ‘’Too expensive for average consumers’’, knows Pieter, “but a price we gladly pay to prove that it actually is possible to produce a baby box purely from natural resources. At least that’s how I sold it to my wife”.
Rightly so. Because at the Household Fair, all executive power is transferred to housewives. Meticulously holding the lines, they forage the exhibition hall, moving at a controlled tempo, accelerating at the stand of Sodastream. This kitchen device turns tap water into a sparkling sensation. “A long waited solution to daily problems”, according to Sodastream’s promotions team. “No more tossing around with bottles of sparkling water from the supermarket. And, of course, you save money, producing up to 60 litres of your own sparkling water before you need to replace the inflator (around 12 euro).” More important, Sodastream reduces the plastic soup. Not for nothing the company’s head office is located in Israel. A country where sustainable water management recently has seen spectacular improvement.
The Dutch also know their way around durable management. Uit den Vreemde promotes vanity fair trade chocolate as well as yoga equipment, produced from natural materials. In the cleaning industry, Hygeniq rivals its competitors in sustainability, relying purely on natural processing for its cleaning products. And Dutch food giant Hak spares time nor effort to reserve a whole green corner at the Household Fair. From multiple stands Hak promoters inform visitors about the underestimated nutritional value of legumes and vegetables. Their call to a healthier diet, however, suffers competition from the salami stand, located inconveniently in front of the green corner.
Finally, the Dutch show that sustainability can be turned into a business model. At the Rainbar, enthusiastic youths first explain visitors about the destructive nature of rain. With around 217 days rainy days per year (piling up to more than 700 mm of annual rain) the Dutch are all too familiar with getting wet feet. “And rain is more dangerous than you might think,” says one of the Rainbar promoters. “Roads crack because water pours into the pavement. At the same time, heavy rain water makes flat roofs collapse.” Then again, rainwater is done away with so easily. “While you could do something useful with it, like washing your car.” Or, of course, turn rainwater into beer.
That’s exactly the idea at Rainbar. A 5,7 % beer is made from ultra-filtered rain and organic malted barley or wheat. This brew is served with an artificial rain shower. After all, in the rain is where Dutch preferably drink their beer.