Repair instead of replace

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Shopping mall for recycled goods
By Michelle Robertson
A shopping centre with a twist in Sweden is the heart of a new way to think about retail commerce. It is entirely dedicated to repairing and upcycling goods, and then reselling them. This is a model that could be followed all over the world to help create a ‘circular economy’ - one in which products are reused so that manufacturing uses less energy and less raw materials. Shoppers are flocking to this new concept located in the Swedish city of Eskilstuna, about 100 kilometres west of Stockholm. There are 14 shops selling everything from furniture and building materials to computers and clothing. The centre also includes a restaurant, an exhibition area, conference facilities and even a training college that teaches recycling.

Staff at the recycling depot intercept and sort incoming goods as they are dropped off, deciding which can be repaired or refurbished, and then passing them on to workshops to be renovated for sale. This concept is a good example of a circular business model that creates much more value from each unit of resource than traditional commerce. This type of industrial innovation started in the pulp and paper industry owing to our awareness of protecting trees. The hope is that it will gain traction in many other areas, as companies and consumers realize the savings that it provides.


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