Welcome to my Page! Hope you will join me on my journey…. 

Constantly uprooting and resettling yourself in almost every continent over a few decades will open your eyes to not only common good in the world, but also common issues. And that is exactly what happened to me. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I left my home country “East” Germany, to answer my call to travel.

From the Sustainable Self to the Sustainable Us – Tedx Chiang Mai

Fast forward 21 years later, I have been to more than 34 countries and call Switzerland, the US, Spain and Thailand my homes. From my various journeys, there is much beauty to tell others. But I started to also see a world in crisis in many ways. And there is one issue I now feel threatens the future of next generations: our increasingly convenient “throw-away” lifestyle.

I had been working in international marketing and corporate/ sport events, including managing my own destination management and team building company for more than 17 years before I realised that most companies headed in an unsustainable direction of consuming more and more resources. It was a problem that became more glaring when I switched to higher education in Bangkok and saw the lifestyle in Asia. I knew that something had to be done. And it had to do with my own way of living and consumption.

I started our Zero Waste Journey in 2015 in Bangkok and to say it was an eye-opening journey might be an understatement. No bulk stores, no gardening options, nor workshops on sustainable living were of interest back then. I literally started from scratch, but managed to reduce our waste by over 95%.

We have returned to Barcelona in November 2019 and even though we have more #plasticfree options, it takes time to adjust to a new environment. I am not starting from ZERO, but everyday is a new learning experience.

“Where do I start the counting process? One plastic bottle, two…. “
Mahidol University International College Students taking action…

The knowledge learned through my childhood in East Germany and living zero waste in Thailand since 2015/2016 has gained me valuable insights and practical tools, which I utilize when consulting with companies on zero waste to landfill and green office projects. I also guide and mentor students in special programs on circular economy design and sustainable development goals. My current partnership with Quizzbizz Thailand provides me with tools to empower schools, universities and organisations in terms of digital learning especially on complex topics like plastic pollution and zero waste.

Over the past 4 -5 years, I have taken to inspiring others how to live with less and on being more mindful about the choices we make. Now I give talks, facilitate educational workshops and seminars for schools, universities, businesses and community groups providing insights on the current waste/ environmental issues as well as simple solutions. My brand, ‘The Sustainable Self‘ is now also my identity.

Since March 2019 I also facilitate for the Circular Design Lab Bangkok, an experimental innovation lab bringing people together to address environmental and social challenges using circular design as one pathway to explore systems intervention possibilities- or in other words- solutions to challenges.

Another interesting project is Happy Cup Thailand, which was born at the Lab of Tomorrow September 2019 in Bangkok Challenge set to reduce single use plastics. My work will continue to work on solutions and behaviour change tactics…..

Are you ready to be the CHANGE?


Madeleine Recknagel, Tedx Speaker/ Sustainability Consultant & Educator, inspires students, employees, and communities in Thailand and Spain to embrace change and the importance of living with less/ reducing waste in a holistic way. Her story is proof that success is not about resources, but it’s about being resourceful, creative and mindful. 

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