A new idea for recycling and the fight against waste comes from Sweden: an entire shopping mall devoted to recycled goods, the ReTuna Recycling Gallery in Eskiltuna, about twelve miles from Stockholm.
The gallery, which opened in August 2015, houses 14 second-hand shops and an “organic” restaurant with a strictly zero-miles menu. The centre offers dozens of different types of merchandise, from clothes to furniture and electronic equipment, anything that can be retrieved and re-used.
This idea from the North, which reverses the idea of the shopping mall as a cathedral of waste and consumerism, demonstrates that anything can be sustainable if it is based on a good idea.
The ReTuna Recycling Gallery has an area where customers can leave things they no longer need: the items are checked, cleaned and adjusted so that they can be sold on.
The centre wants people to take a proactive approach, and promotes awareness of recycling by organising many “design, recycle and reuse” courses held annually, and lessons to learn about and improve do-it-yourself techniques.
The Restart parties in London and the Swedish recycling gallery party share a basic idea: to extend the life of the objects we use, and oppose the planned obsolescence that is filling the world with waste.
The European Union has embraced this approach too, with the approval of its package of laws on the circular economy.
Similar activities are being organised in Italy by Mercatino, with its widespread network and recent initiatives to calculate the pollution savings obtained with the purchase of a second-hand object.