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Goal of sustainability: Bonn students pick up trash on the banks of the Rhine

Goal of sustainability : Bonn students pick up trash on the banks of the Rhine

The Infinity Group, a group of students from Bonn, is out to raise awareness about sustainability. This coming Sunday, they will pick up trash at the banks of the Rhine in a volunteer cleanup initiative. Active helpers are welcome.

"Taking a cold shower", says Andreas Biesenbach, is an example of something that anyone can do if they want to do something about climate change and something good for their immune system at the same time. The 23-year-old agricultural science student has been chairman of the Bonn Infinity regional group since 2018. Besides Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Heidelberg, the eleven members of the Bonn group are among the six regional groups that have already joined Infinity Germany.

"Tomorrow's challenges cannot be solved with yesterday's ideas," is the motto of the Infinity groups. "We had to establish an association," explains Biesenbach, in order to be recognized as a non-profit organization and to be able to accept donations. Apart from that, the student seems to find the association system rather annoying. "Nobody needs to become a member to be a part of us," he says almost apologetically and emphasizes that anyone can join in at any time and is not obliged to take part in the weekly meetings (always Wednesdays) or the cleanup campaigns on every first Sunday of the month. "Like-minded people are always good," is Biesenbach's motto. This is how he too came to Infinity, after the original Mannheim group contacted all universities in Germany in 2017.

Social commitment throughout Germany

Infinity Germany sees itself as a nationwide student network for social entrepreneurship. "That was exactly what I was interested in," says Biesenbach. And when he then saw the students from all fields of study gathering for a first meeting in Bonn, he quickly realized that "these are people who tick like me." Even the first meeting was a lot of fun. Many ideas had already been developed. Cold showers were just as much a part of it as the advice to use “Wachstücher” (a reusable alternative to plastic wrap) for packing food and to consistently avoid plastic packaging.

While everyday tips from the Bonn group are posted with little effort on Instagram, the production of a Bonn bottle caused more headaches. Similar to the first glass bottle presented in Mannheim - the "Man-Bottle", a bottle manufacturer had to be found. They also had to find a print shop which would be able to print the Bonn design on the bottle. The design had been determined in a competition. Sustainability is not only about the use of the bottle, but also about the production process. The bottle, which can be ordered on social networks, is now being delivered by club members. They deliver free of charge on their bicycles. Any donations will benefit the Bonn Counseling Center for sexual violence.

Applause for trash pickup campaign

"It has done so well that some Bonners have even applauded us" says Biesenbach about the last cleanup initiative of his association at the riverbanks of the Rhine on the Beuel side of the river. This coming Sunday, they will meet again at noon at the Rhine riverbank in front of the Bonn opera, with garbage bags and tongs at hand. Bonnorange, which is Bonn’s waste collection department, will once again support Infinity Bonn by providing equipment, garbage bags and being responsible for the removal of the waste. All active helpers are welcome. Participants need to wear a mask at the meeting point.

Original text: Stefan Hermes / Translation: ck