Spring cleaning is a fun way to get rid of the excess items people carry around. But, instead of throwing out the valuable materials, just recycle them.
Leave something and take something. That is the motto at the Retuna Återbruksgalleria shopping centre, which is the first mall in the world that allows customers to return an old item in exchange for a brand new item.
All 15 of the businesses in the mall are environmentally conscious. “Our idea is that the customer comes here and leaves, for example, some furniture and clothing that [they] have no use for anymore. Then you go do a lap at the mall,” said Anna Bergström, centre manager ReTuna Recycling Galleria.
The items that are reusable are submitted to the ReTuna Recycling Center. Then, the staff at Eskilstuna Energy and Environment fixes up the products. They are then transferred to the mall where they could be enjoyed and resold.
People can recycle their old furniture, computers and audio equipment, bike and toys, and gardening materials.
“Maybe find a new jacket and a new framework that will make [that] photograph of [your] grandfather unique and extra fine, ” said Bergström.
Recycling in Sweden
The average American throws away 65 pounds of clothes every year, which adds up to 14 million pounds of textile waste per year.
But in Sweden they have a 100 per cent recycling policy. It’s not that they recycle all of their products, not yet that is, but each household recycles 99 per cent of waste. This waste is then turned into energy. Furthermore, they are encouraging people to not throw away items but reuse them.
All-inclusive environmentally-friendly stores
The stores at the mall include a cafe, which offers organic food and beverages. It offers sandwiches, coffee, salads, wraps and nacho platters.
“Since you eat organic lunch in our restaurant to gather strength to do another lap and find new flowers for the garden and a new lamp for the living room. When you leave here, you should feel that you did something good for the environment.”
The mall even has a convenient bus stop located outside so people can frequently visit the stores. And, for people that drive, the ReTuna Recycling Center has a drive through making it easier for people to drop off the material and go.
The mall also offers the chance for students to learn recycling first-hand. Students can sign up the day before, and every Tuesday 30 people are given a tour of the facility.
Sweden’s new tax policy
Sweden announced they will give tax breaks to the citizens that opt to have their products fixed instead of throwing them out. This prevents people from buying new material and entering the vicious consumer buying market.
Now people can claim back part of their income due to damaged goods. These tax breaks can add up to $70 million a year. But the deputy finance minister says it will cancel out since the rise in labour will increase with the demand of repairing goods.