An ecovillage with a disruptive character

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

The first part of the Benu eco-village in Esch/Alzette opens this spring with the newly built restaurant. With its initiatives, the organisation wants to be an experimental laboratory for upcycling, circular economy and co. A tour with project initiator Georges Kieffer.

The path leads us past workers over wooden slabs and mud. Even though the front of the building on the right, with its idiosyncratically inserted windows, already looks ready for occupancy, one can't quite imagine that the first guests will be received here in spring. But Benu Village (pronounced 'be new'), located between Rue d'Audun and Boulevard John F. Kennedy, is definitely taking shape.

Georges Kieffer opens the door to the studio. In one corner, furniture parts and boards are piled up. New tables and cupboards, the future Benu furniture, are being made here from the wood of old furniture that is no longer suitable for resale, because (almost) nothing is bought new in the eco-village. Even the woodworking machines are second-hand; the paints are also leftovers. There are so many of them that the Benu employees can choose the ones that are best suited from an ecological point of view. "All the furniture that will later be found in the Village is homemade. And it can be shopped by anyone", says the Benu initiator. Because the raw material costs the non-profit association nothing, the customers only pay for the hours of work that went into the project. In this way, Benu wants to point out the true price of supposed bargains. If you pay 19 euros for a chair, you are always taking into account the working and wage conditions in the respective production countries. In countries like Bangladesh, for example, workers in the textile industry would be paid 83 US dollars a month, where, according to the Global Living Wage Coalition, a minimum wage of 250 dollars would be appropriate.

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