Fight Waste: Patrick vs Baby Stroller

Patrick Hypscher, Co-Founder Green PO & Podcast-Host, is on a mission to eliminate waste. In this new series, the problem of everyday objects that on surface level appear to be long-lasting, but often break, have expired warranties, and come with hefty repair costs will be examined. This month, Patrick takes on the baby stroller

by Patrick Hypscher | Mar 20, 2024

The average Munich resident uses 32 tons of virgin material… every year. This is as heavy as a typical Munich subway wagon. And only 2.4% of these 32 tons are circular.

In the last weeks, I experienced what causes this low rate. It played in Berlin but could have easily happened in Munich as well.

Our neighbors broke the fantastic news: They are expecting their first child. This is awesome for them and an opportunity for us. We have two kids, four and six years old, and, as everyone with kids knows, things pile up rapidly. But soon, clothes, toys, and “special-purpose-equipment” won’t be needed anymore. We offered our neighbors to take over our baby stroller set. It’s in good shape, except for the front wheels. The suspension mechanism does not work anymore, and that makes turning hard. No problem, that already happened a few years ago. Back then, we fixed it with a front-wheel replacement set.

Unfortunately, this replacement set is not available anymore. Customer service explained that “the management decided to stop supplying this model with spare parts.” WHAT? In 2017 the baby stroller won the Stiftung Warentest Test Award – a result many Germans review closer than the program of political parties. This premium, best-in-class baby stroller is no longer supported by one of Europe’s highest-regarded brands!? Our neighbors did not want to wait and found another solution.

But I wanted to fight waste!

The product has a compound weight of 14.5 kg. But the broken front wheel suspension blocks this 14.5 kg from remaining in the loop. A YouTube video taught me you can remove the front wheel reflector and open the suspension unit. That’s what I did. The result looks like this:

I suppose there were three or six rubber-like suspension units inside the bracket that just vanished over time. The erosion of parts with about 0,05kg should cause 14.5 kg to go to waste. Hello?! What if there were still spare parts? It would be an immediate win for me as a customer: Longer-lasting product, less money spent on alternatives, higher resale value. It would be an immediate win for the planet: Fewer resources harvested and a lower impact on the operations around it.

I already hear you saying: But what about the manufacturer? That’s right. The management stopped selling spare parts for this model. I don’t know the details, but there are other options available. Let‘s have a look at some:


  • Design for longevity in the first place. The front-wheels don’t need a replacement for every child.
  • Spare parts production could be licensed to 3rd party manufacturers. They pay a license fee to the manufacturer, bear all the other costs, and receive the revenue.
  • Spare part design and production could be free and accessible to the community. While this will technically not work for all parts, 3D printing enables many people these days to print alternatives.
  • Marketplace for used products run by the manufacturer. The platform takes a fair share of second-hand transactions. Refurbishment and repair services could be offered, centralized, or decentralized.
  • Start a rental model. Customers use the baby stroller only as long as needed, and material utilization can be improved.

I know that not everything will fit each product and company. These new businesses require exploration, iteration, quality control, and resources. But everything is hard at the beginning until the team finds the proper parameters of the offering. And with an economy surpassing planetary boundaries, we need to find alternatives.

A mix of determination and good service solved my case. I asked the manufacturer if some parts were still in the warehouse. If not, I asked if they could tell me the article number and name of the supplier that manufactured these small suspension units. In trying to find a solution, they found a set of as-new front wheels from an exhibition product that they sent me.

It won’t help my neighbors anymore, but I will make sure that these 14,5 kg will be kept in the loop for another product cycle.

Patrick 1, waste 0.