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Empowering Our Communities To Redesign

Kretsloppsparken. Recycling or amusement park?

How to make getting rid of what we don’t need a fun experience? In Gothenburg, Sweden, they have designed a reuse and recycle park to look as an amusement park.

 

 

 

Results: they attract 300 to 400 visitors a day, sell for a value of 1,1 million euros, create 25 green jobs whilst radically reducing the amount of waste that otherwise would have to be disposed of. This is a good piece of Zero Waste!

 

Kretsloppsarken (the name of this amusement park) is a perfect example of how to succesfully move up the waste hierachy; it educates people so that they can prevent waste from being generated (prevention), it reduces waste by giving a second life to the products (reuse) and it recycles what cannot be reused (recycle).

 

People can bring any item they don’t need to the Kretsloppsarken; furniture, clothes, household stuff, white goods, construction materials, old bycicles (from every three old bikes a new one will come out from the repairshop), wood, etc… all gets repaired, reused or recycled and put in the market again.
When they were designing the new recycling park the city council thought of creating instead an amusement park for recyclers and reusers. The Kretsloppsarken philosophy is that donating, buying second hand and sorting one’s waste should be easy and almost a pleasure.

How to make it a pleasure? By showing the facilities always tidy and clean, with white clean containers where to drop the recyclables.

How to make it entertaining? By using a dog to sort out 6 differet waste streams, by having clowns taking care of educating children into recycling and reuse, by organising concerts and organic happenings…

How to make it educative? By making available a “personal sorter” to guide the person through the sorting process and asking the right questions so that waste finds its best purpose…

 

 

Kretsloppsarken was built in one year time reusing 80% of an old building and it was inaugurated in May 2007 with a cost of 4 million euros. The initiative was of the city of Gothenburg but the reusing and recycling of the collected stuff is one by 5 private enterpreneurs.

 

The succesful results in terms of economic turnout, green job creation and waste minimisation confirm this as the right approach.

 

Even visiting the bathroom can be a fun experience in Kretsloppsarken! Decorated with paintings and pictures for sale very often visitors come out of the toilette with a new acquisition to decorate their homes. There is no such a thing as a boring place in Kretsloppsarken.

 

 

The contribution of recycling-amusement parks to Zero Waste is paramount. They are not only cheaper, more effective and job-creating than incinerators or landfills, they are also a lot more beautiful and fun. The struggle for sustainability is less of a strain when it can be made fun!


Experiences from Zero Waste Europe presented at the annual CRRA conference in California

From July 31st to August 3rd the California Resource Recovery Association celebrated its 35th annual conference in San Diego, California.
California is the US state with most advance waste and resource management, with San Francisco leading the way with its 75% diversion rate and aiming at Zero Waste for 2020.
In this conference a delegation from Zero Waste Europe from three countries (Italy, Spain and Sweden) presented best European practices in Zero Waste. All in all more than 150 speakers filled the 3 day conference with best practices, information, education and concerted action.

 

We were surprised to see how Zero Waste plans are being approved all over the board in the state of California. With active campaigns to ban styrofoam and plastic bags, innovative prevention measures and committed companies complementing local administration.

This year a special award went to Captain Charles Moore for his work on the mapping and studying the plastic debris polluting the oceans. We had the chance to board his boat and accompany him to take water samples in the Tijuana bay. The worrying state of water pollution in the Pacific Ocean –with a plastic soup as big as Europe- and how that is affecting sealife. The pollution and depletion of fishstocks is behind the most progressive decisions in California to stop waste from polluting the seas.

Furthermore there were a good number of new Zero Waste initiatives such as a companies that organise Zero Waste events, shops that don’t use any packaging (the American version of the Italian Effecorta and the English Unpackaged ) or campaigns to spread bottle bills.
The event was a very useful event to strengthen the links between the US and European Zero Waste movements.