A large proportion of all products manufactured today are not reused but discarded at the end of their life, which affects the environment in terms of emissions. Waste reduction is becoming more important to reduce climate impacts, but also for supporting private demand in becoming more environmentally friendly.
Recycling and reuse conserves resources and reduces environmental impacts. Alelyckan in Gothenburg is the first re-use park in Sweden, promoting sustainable practices by giving people the opportunity to not only recycle products but also to donate products that may be re-used.
The eco-park Alelyckan, operated and owned by the City of Gothenburg, is a new version of a recycling centre where residents of the city can not only sort waste for recycling but also leave it for reuse. At the plant incoming items are repaired and refined in order to be sold in stores in the park area. Visitors to Alelyckan can thus dispose off unwanted items and then buy used furniture, building materials etc. at a discounted price; a practical example of an eco-cycle.
When visitors come by car to the recycling park they arrive at a sorting hall. In the sorting hall, there are trained personnel who can help with sorting. They could bring anything from things that can be recycled or reused to wastes that must be disposed off because of environmental or health hazards.
Studies on the environmental benefits of Alelyckan, showed that the recycling park prevents 360 tons of waste each year. If all recycling centers in Sweden were turned into recycling parks 5% of all wastes normally discarded would be re-used.
Besides raising consumer awareness the new re-use park demonstrates the fact that there is a high percentage of waste that may be reused instead of being discarded, which contributes to a better environment.
The studies to examine the environmental benefits of Alelyckan were conducted by Recycling Office at the City of Gothenburg in collaboration with the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) and Avfall Sverige (an industry association), disseminating knowledge about the benefits of the recycling plant.
The facility Alelyckan receives circa 500 tons of products each year of which nearly 75% may be sold in the park's stores.
The concept of Alelyckan is estimated to be 9 on the GML scale, demonstrating the potential to convert recycling centers to re-use parks, but it has not yet been transferred to other areas.