The Swedish town of Eskilstuna is not the most well-known town in Sweden. However, it has recently made international headlines for becoming the first town in the world to open a shopping mall entirely dedicated to the sale of goods that have been repaired and upcycled.
The mall is known as ReTuna Aterbruksgalleria and includes 14 shops, a café/restaurant which sells organic food, an exhibition area, conference facilities and a training centre where students can study recycling. All items for sale in the mall are second-hand and visitors to the mall can buy furniture, computers and audio equipment, clothes, toys, bikes, gardening tools and building materials.
Upcycle Studio labels ReTuna Aterbruksgalleria as “A shopping mall with a difference” and adds that not only is it a “Refreshing take on the idea of the shopping centre, the stores inside also help to make a big difference for our planet.”
Also at the centre are places where visitors can dispose of unwanted old goods. Businesses and vendors then have an opportunity to use these goods, improve and upgrade them and then sell them again. This avoids goods simply being thrown out and becoming waste, a problem the local government would then have to deal with. It also helps to save energy and encourages a culture of recycling and reuse amongst local residents.
Fifty new jobs were created during the construction of the mall which is operated by the local municipality. However, the shops in the centre itself are private businesses and social enterprises so this creates space for innovative start-ups and local entrepreneurs and artisans to operate. This, according to Upcycle Studio, means “The mall looks minimal and well curated [and] not like a hodgepodge of vintage items that you would find at your local flea market.”
The website Make Wealth History describes the mall as “A living demonstration of the circular economy, a very practical way of unlocking the value in what we throw away, and it’s a project we could all learn from.”
If successful, the concept could be replicated in other environmentally conscious municipalities, towns and cities. Other similar malls could help create new jobs, reduce waste and help change behavioural patterns of citizens and consumers.
Image courtesy of Flickr. Originally published by S&S on October 31, 2017.