How Sweden is Changing the Upcycling Game

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ATTN: is partnering with Coors Light to highlight sustainability efforts focusing on waste reduction and innovative ways we can all upcycle.

While recycling is mitigating the issue of food waste, much of that can be curbed by generally reducing waste and embracing sustainability. Sweden is excelling at reducing waste and might have found a solution that addresses the root of the problem: a shopping mall based on upcycling.

ReTuna is a mall in Eskilstuna, Sweden where everything sold is an upcycled, reused, or recycled product.

 A collaboration between local government and businesses, the mall aims to change how people think about waste by offering extremely environmentally friendly products in an otherwise everyday shopping environment. It features fifteen stores that sell everything from furniture to plants, and offers courses in repair and DIY solutions, as well as featuring a recycling center on site. While not every store in the mall has been profitable, the creation of ReTuna reflects a unique solution for reducing waste, which is part of a larger effort to reduce almost all of the Sweden's total waste. 

ReTuna reframes consumerism as a solution to waste instead of a cause — and we can learn a lot from that.

In some countries, waste comes from many different sources that usually lead back to consumption. Accelerating fashion trends, and cheaper clothing have created tons of textile waste. The disposability of cheap electronics has created a growing environmental and health hazard. And the reliance on products designed to be thrown away, like plastic bags and plastic bottles have huge effects on the environment.

There are solutions for curbing retail waste.

Innovative solutions like ReTuna show that there are simple changes to make in the way we shop.

First, you can upcycle basically anything. From furniture to packaging to clothing, most things can be upcycled if enough creativity is put into the effort. If you’re looking to buy upcycled goods, there are many stores around the country dedicated to selling them.

Moreover, consider used items when shopping. Making purchases from online retailers can give a product another life. Vintage and thrift stores make for great shopping options, and when cooking, embrace leftovers and get creative with your refrigerator.

There’s plenty we can do to reduce waste.

 Waste reduction is pretty common sense stuff. Shop at brick and mortar stores and avoid impulse purchases. Frame your spending with an eye for waste.

And if you feel like you’re doing this already, consider getting active; swapping out wasteful purchases with donations of time or money to the numerous organizations that work to reduce waste