At yök Casa + Cultura’s eco-renovationrecyclability is one of the key factors. Even though we didn’t want to throw anything away, some of the original partition walls had to go in order to fit the distribution to our current lives, creating smaller apartments with more privacy.

What is important to us it that in the future, maybe in another 100 years from now, people can go back to the original wall distribution. We are not touching any of the mosaic tiled floor or decorative ceilings. New walls are simply being put on top and below, so that they can be taken out and recycled in the future.

As for the rubble resulting from taking out some of the walls, we had an official company take it away for proper recycling, as required by the City Council. Regarding the current recycling system, this is probably a downcycling rather than upcycling, but at least it is not creating more landfill but serves as material for building works.

The Waste Agency within the Catalan Regional Government (Agència de Residus de Catalunya) explains:

A high volume of construction waste is generated in Catalonia. Due to its characteristics, much of this waste can be reused or recycled. Therefore, due to its importance, there is a specific management programme and management model for this waste. After a period of consolidation in which the aim is to attain the correct final management, the focus will be on prevention, recycling and the promotion of a market for recycled materials.

Everything else we hope to restore, both for environmental reasons (to reduce waste and save resources) as well as emotional ones (to preserve a piece of history and culture). We believe that even a piece of the old wallpaper from the 70s has to stay (image above). Our motto is: first, preserve everything we can, then recycle everything that has to go and lastly, make sure any new stuff is recyclable in the future. Reduce, reuse, recycle! And restore.

Here’s a message from a very inspirational man, Ray Anderson, the radical industrialist who climbed mount sustainability. We recommend his book “Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose -Doing Business by Respecting the Earth”. Watch his TED talk “The business logic of sustainability

At yök, we will strive for technical and emotionally durable design! Read more about the latter on Triplepundit

A simple idea! A Jar On the Wall by Aventurina (the House of Glass) in Can Fusteret.

The Alto Hotel in Melbourne is Australia’s first carbon neutral hotel. Read here about their other environmental initiatives

We like the upcycled furniture by Reborn Recraft Atelier in the Born (Barcelona). Old drawers have plenty of after-life possibilities, like the Cojonuda Table by Pöko Design.

Here’s a wooden flooring that offers more floors per forest by respecting the trees’ natural curves. Bolefloor uses FSC certified wood and saves natural resources through its optimising technology. And it looks good! Thanks Dmass for the tip!

In Barcelona, buying bulk is part of the city’s history, and visiting one of these historic shops is a unique olfactory experience. Buying bulk reduces transportation, packaging and food waste, and, now it also looks good! No need for individually wrapped portions, not even in hotels!

The Soap Flake Dispensor lets you enjoy bars of soap in a comfortable way and has a reduced impact on the environment compared to liquid soap. 

Today, most of the soap we use is liquid soap, which contains a lot of water. Block soap instead is more concentrated and therefore has some ecological benefits: You don’t transport unnecessary water around. In place of plastic bottles you can simply use paper for packaging. The solid blocks can easily be piled and allow a greater space efficiency in a truck. 

We can imagine this, together with the soap bar cutting station, in our hotel…

We believe that eliminating the use of small shampoo bottles and installing soap dispensers is not only the eco-friendliest solution, but also the most comfortable one. And bars of soap still have the lesser environmental impact during transportation and require less packaging.

Get a piece of soap instead of individual small soap containers at hotels! Soap bars use less packaging and transportation than liquid soap. At Mexico’s Viceroy Riviera Maya you get a piece of locally-made soap of your taste hand-cut by the ‘soap concierge’.

A great way to reduce waste at the hotel breakfast table without sacrificing comfort: refillable glass containers as seen at Casa Camper in Berlin!