ReTuna – the World’s first recycling Mall in Sweden

by Team Conscious Carma

ReTuna Återbruksgalleria is the world’s first recycling mall, revolutionizing shopping in a climate-smart way. Old items are given new life through repair and upcycling. Everything sold is recycled or reused or has been organically or sustainably produced. 

ReTuna was set up by Eskilstuna’s local government and implemented by its subsidiary Eskilstuna Energi och Miljö (EEM) in 2015. The mall has grown into an international success story and reached SEK 11.7 million in sales for pre-owned products in 2018. Moreover, the mall has generated 50 new jobs in a city that has been struggling with high unemployment rates and a drain of young people.

The mall is called ReTuna. “Tuna” because that’s the nickname for the city where it is based – Eskilstuna, an hour’s train journey west of Stockholm – and “Re” because the goods on sale have been recycled or repurposed.

The case of ReTuna is a strong example of a city acting as a circular catalyst. The strength of the recycling mall is that it makes sustainable shopping much easier and less time-consuming. Second-hand stores exist everywhere in the world, but ReTuna enables you to do all your circular shopping in one place. In addition, unlike many traditional second-hand shops, the stores in ReTuna have a diverse range of products, such as sportswear, furniture, fashion items, or toys. 

In addition, ReTuna has been successful in developing a self-sustaining system at local level. All goods that are being sold in the stores as well as the staff members of ReTuna are sourced within the region. The mall is located next to Eskilstuna’s recycling centre where citizens come approximately once a month to discard their used products. The initial selection of what is usable and what is not is performed at the centre by the staff from AMA (the resource unit of the municipality for Activity, Motivation and Work). Afterwards, the goods are transported to the mall where they are sorted and distributed to the shops by the mall’s staff members. Many shops have a workshop corner where they renovate or upgrade the used items before sale.

The success story of ReTuna provides some important lessons, which should be taken into account in similar future projects or initiatives:

  • It is important to keep in mind that consumers are influenced by the shopping environment and the aesthetics of pre-owned products.
  • It is important to brand secondary products and to put efforts in how both the store and its products look.
  • There is a need for educating citizens on the value of waste materials and products.
  • A city government plays a crucial role in the initiation and facilitation of circular initiatives. In addition to providing financial support, a city government should take action to lower implementation barriers, such as legal barriers around waste transportation.
  • ReTuna shows how re-using, repairing and upcycling of discarded items can be organised effectively to attract consumers at a local level and simultaneously spur local business development and generate new jobs.


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