On April 11th, 2018, was invited to a walking tour in Brussels organized by Climate KIC Alumni. This was not just a regular Brussels city tour with taking photographs of your favourite Manneken Pis but like with most things related to Climate KIC and InnoEnergy it was, you guessed it right, a “Sustainable Tour”.
a brainchild of arrange guided tours in the beautiful city of Brussels with a motive of exposing environmentally and socially responsible projects to both locals and tourists of the city. From plastic-free second-hand stores to circular economy startups, they make you discover local initiatives that herald the beginning of a new economy and inspire you to take meaningful action yourself.
The tour started from Gare du Nord Brussels where we met students from AEGEE which entails a European track program, the theme of which this year was the issue of climate change and educating people about possible solutions. After a few handshakes and name exchanges, we started walking and arrived at Permafungi.
Permafungi is a four-year-old startup in the Tour et Taxis site in Brussels that makes organic oyster mushrooms with coffee grounds which are collected from their partner coffee shops and restaurants on bikes. After the mushrooms are harvested, the remains are converted into cool lamps and other items for your household decoration.
We left for GreenBizzBrussels after visiting permafungi, which is an initiative from Brussels municipality to facilitate new startups and small businesses. It is an incubator which provides office space, workshops and assistance to startups. We did a tour of their building which is a beautiful example of sustainable construction work.
The building is completely powered by solar panels and has a relaxing view of the ever busy Brussels city from their terrace which they call the “The Little Manhattan”.
We visited a number of interesting environment-friendly startups in their office space, one of them in particular that sparked my interest was . They develop new food systems and new ways of doing business in urban agriculture by breeding crickets for human consumption which surprisingly are consumed by 2 billion people worldwide. To make the same amount of protein as beef you need 25 times less food, 60 times less greenhouse gas and 300 times less water.
Our next destination was BioMarche a zero-waste organic vegetable and fruit market. It is different from other supermarkets because they neither produce waste nor provide any plastic packaging.
After grabbing some drinks and snacks from we took off for a library of things startup. It works like a normal library but instead of lending books to read, they lend tools for short-term repairs and also for your DIY project needs.
We ended our tour with a dinner arranged by ClimateKIC that contained innovative dishes made from the leftover food by supermarkets. After a few drinks with our new friends, we took off with good memories and a delightful experience of a sustainable Brussels.
By Awab Baqar
24 April 2018