Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reclaimed Goods Mall Opens in Sweden

Here's one more thing to make those of us in the U.S. who care deeply about sustainability say, "Maaaan, Europe has all the cool stuff!" Back in August 2015 the city of Eskiltuna, Sweden opened a mall, called "ReTuna," dedicated exclusively to goods that are repurposed, refubished, or made with recycled materials. According to this morning's article by Leon Kaye in TriplePundit:

"Functioning as part recycling depot, part shopping experience and part education center, ReTuna features 15 stores, a restaurant and a conference facilities. The mall includes retail shops for home decor and furniture, refurbished computers and electronics, housewares, sporting goods, and outdoor plants...Several of these stores also function as 'do-it-yourself' showrooms, where customers can learn tasks such as how to repair household items or make their own lamps. DIY-ers and sustainable living mavens can also take a break in ReTuna's café, which offers organic and sustainable fare...The center is also open to ideas for businesses that can contribute to the local sharing economy, with one example being a tool-sharing business."

This is clearly a place after my own heart, since my day job involves working on zero waste projects, including the Illini Gadget Garage, a collaborative repair center on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, where students, faculty, and staff can be guided through "do-it-together" troubleshooting and repair of their personally-owned electronics and small appliances. I wish I'd have heard of ReTuna back in 2015, so I could have started saving money for a trip to Sweden just to gaze upon such a place.

Genuinely, the place is "part recycling depot," because there's a drive-through drop-off recycling center. Workers sort through the items dropped off, and if anything seems appropriate for reuse in the stores within the mall, those items are distributed accordingly. There are also educational programs available, including a year-long "Design-Recycle-Reuse program" and "study visits," which include exploration of the mall's inner workings. Study visits cost $136 and are held weekly--so I'll make a mental note to add that to the budget and agenda for dream trip.

As a side note, "Tuna" is a current nickname for the town, and actually was its original name back in the days of Saint Eskil, whose name clearly was added later on. Being a native English speaker, I personally enjoy the fact that when I say "ReTuna," (and likely mispronounce it in a way that would make Swedish eyes roll), it reminds me of "retune." That seems appropriate, since this business model is all about adjusting our relationship with goods and materials.

ReTuna Ă…terbruksgalleria Entrance
Source: Green Hack GBG

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