In Scandinavian countries, especially in Sweden, ecology, organic and sustainable living are the number one development priority. And no wonder that the world’s first recycling mall opened exactly not far from Stockholm.
Everything in ReTuna Återbruksgalleria sold is recycled or reused or has been organically or sustainably produced.
The original idea of creating such space came from local politicians in 2006 or 2007. According to the waste management plan, all the municipalities should reduce waste and start some kind of business where it is possible to reuse these unwanted resources. By 2015, after a long discussion, the shopping mall and the recycling centre could open their doors. This non-profit business is run by the municipality-owned company Eskilstuna Energi och Miljö (EEM). Anna Bergström, the Mall’s manager, says she accepted this mission immediately saw that it was a brilliant concept not only to take old things and transform them into something new but also to reduce waste, create new job opportunities and teach the locals to be more sustainable.
How does it work?
People come to the recycling centre, just outside the shopping mall, to drop off their unwanted items, 7 days a week. “Our staff take care of it, sort it and supply to the stores”, says Anna Bergström. “As they all have their own business plan, they are responsible for the rest of the work. They do further sorting, upcycling and pricing. There is a furniture store, a florist, a pet shop, a toy shop, clothes and sports stores, even a building materials store. There is also a restaurant with organic food. We have 700-1000 people visiting the mall on a daily basis”.
One of the original goals of the mall was to educate the public on environmental issues.
Anna points out that in their mall they have a one-year course for grown-ups, teaching them old Swedish traditional handcrafts but with these (recycled) materials. They work with paper, fabric and textile among others. There are also conference rooms, where guests can hold climate-smart meetings, but any company, organization , or union is welcome. Often coming here gives business people ideas to do something green in their field.
Managers say they made this business to be the inspiration for others to do something similar, even though this mission is local.