KRISTINE MARIE BERG is eXXpedition North Pacific’s onboard circular economy expert
Kristine is from Norway. She grew up in the beautiful northern region of Trondheim by Trondheimsfjorden. She loves swimming and the ocean. She’s a shining star – always smiling with a fierce determination and belief in a practical solution’s-based approach to the issue of marine plastics.
After an exciting few years studying and working abroad, Kristine is back in Norway working for the world-leading reverse vending machine company, TOMRA. TOMRA is also the title sponsor for eXXpedition North Pacific.
Q: Kristine, can you explain in a nutshell what is circular economy?
A: I like using this analogy… It’s similar to the cycle of a tree in that it absorbs nutrients from the soil and takes energy from the sun through its leaves. When the leaves fall to the ground, they in turn become nutrients in the soil when they decompose that the tree can then use again. This concept of a cycle without waste where everything is a resource for something new can be applied to how we live our lives and how we do business and produce goods. This is the basic concept of circular economy.
Q: What does TOMRA do? (and where)
A: We are present in over 60 markets around the world and we have two divisions. The first is collection solutions where I work. This encompasses reverse vending machines, collecting used drink containers. The second part is sorting which is often further up the value chain, sorting and recycling materials. That can be plastics, metal or even food.
Q: What is your role at TOMRA?
A: I’m Community Manager and Circular Economy Expert. I work with people all over the world to make sure that plastic stays in the loop and doesn’t end up in our oceans. I work with everything from brand identity to crunching recycling numbers.
Q: You’ve lived abroad. Where did you live and what were you doing there?
A: I lived in Hawaii in 2012 where I studied International Law and Foreign Policy and Terrorism. And then I lived in Bali for six months working at a surf camp. We did weekly beach cleans and implemented a recycling system at the camp.
Q: What did these experiences teach you?
A: Whether I was aware of it or not, they took me closer to the ocean. It taught me that life can be lived in lots of different ways and I found a lot of things in myself that really connected me to those places. And also how much the ocean provides and how vulnerable it is to how we interact with it.
Q: What did you like most about living in Hawaii?
A: Never having to wear anything other than flip-flops! And the flowers that were everywhere.
Q: Why did you want to be part of eXXpedition?
A: I wanted to see the problem firsthand, learn about how we can do research on it to understand it better. I also wanted to join a community of amazing women from all over the world who are passionate about the ocean and dedicated to taking care of it.
Q: It’s been a big experience, do you know yet what you will take away from it?
A: This was my first ocean crossing but I know that it won’t be my last. Seeing an albatross out there, feeding on the plastic we saw in the gyre is an experience that will never leave me. It will motivate me in my work and personal life forever.