Located in Eskilstuna, just about one hour west of Stockholm, ReTuna Återbruksgalleria is the world’s first recycling mall, and it’s revolutionasing shopping in a way that is both smart and climate-friendly: instead of continuing to add to landfills, the mall gives old items a new lease on life through repairing and upcycling your castoffs.
Open since the summer of 2015, the mall is not just a space for selling; anyone can drop off their discards at the on-site recycling centre, where items are sorted into appropriate containers for repurposing. This includes things such as toys, furniture, clothing, and electronics. Staff then sorts through the items to gauge their viability and if they’re deemed acceptable they are then distributed to shops throughout the mall, where individual staff choose what they want to repair, convert, or refine – and then sell to mall customers. Old items are given new life and the planet deals with that much less waste.
ReTuna has been a decided hit in the greater Stockholm area, with 8.1 million Swedish kronor in sales, but the mall is more than just a place to sell. Educating the public is also part of the mix, with events, workshops, and themed days a regular part of the calendar. The mall even cooperates with a local school, Eskilstuna Folkhögskola, on a year-long on-site program called ‘Recycle Design – Återbruk’. Additionally, there are conference rooms for climate-smart meetings, as well as a café, Café Returama, which offers organic meals and fika.
The entire scheme is the brainchild of the municipality-owned Eskilstuna Energi och Miljö (Eskilstuna Energy and Environment), with the stated goal of serving as an example and source of inspiration for customers and residents in the area, while creating sustainable benefits for society. This is entirely in keeping with Eskilstuna’s efforts to be a green role model – something this mall has pushed forward a great deal. In addition to creating new jobs for local residents, the entire concept has attracted attention from around the world. This is all in keeping with Sweden’s general commitment to sustainability, which is serving as an inspiration to people and businesses around the world.