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This Swedish City Has Become the Recycling Capital of the World

Far from the Scandinavian stereotype of the modern city, Eskiltuna, with its grey and almost deserted streets, where you can find old cafés and pubs, is certainly not a place where you would expect to find such a convincing approach to environmental issues. Yet this city in Sweden has really found an interesting turning point for its future. In fact, it has decided to relaunch itself by becoming the recycling capital of the world.

swedish city

Eskilstuna is a Swedish city that has experienced very difficult times in recent years. However, it has decided to relaunch itself by becoming the recycling capital of the world. Here, in fact, people make a very precise and effective separate collection.

In addition, there is the first shopping centre where everything sold is second-hand or recycled.

The Story of the Swedish city of Eskilstuna

This Swedish city, an hour away from Stockholm, was once flourishing thanks to the power station that produced steel.

However, due to the rapid decline of the industry in the 1970s, it found itself somewhat without identity and with an unemployment rate of 8%. This was alarming because it is almost double the national average.

However, Eskilstuna managed to find an intelligent way to recover. How? Through recycling and care for the environment. In fact, since 2012, Eskilstuna has implemented a series of green initiatives with the aim, fully achieved, of becoming the greenest city in Sweden.

Buses and public cars run on biogas and electricity and the city uses thermal energy to heat water. There is also great attention to separate waste collection. Residents divide waste into seven categories: green for food, pink for textiles, grey for metal, yellow for paper, blue for newspapers, orange for plastic and black for undifferentiated waste. In addition, over the past four years, people have had the great opportunity to leave old clothes and objects in a unique place in Eskilstuna.

The First Recycling Mall

The flagship of this city, in fact, is ReTuna, a shopping mall where everything for sale is second-hand or recycled. The director of ReTuna, Anna Bergström, said that at the beginning people were suspicious.

“In a city like this, which has suffered, people are suspicious of change. Especially something radical like a shopping centre where all goods are donated by the people and then resold.”

Since it opened, though, it has been a great success. In fact, the shopping centre has 700 visitors a day and 300 groups of tourists a year. Moreover no domestic waste, other than that present in the 7 colour categories of the collection, has ended up in landfill. ReTuna sells and recycles everything: furniture, children’s toys, clothes and objects of all kinds.

Any waste, or rather “resource”, that cannot be resold in ReTuna is taken to the centre of Lille Nyby. Located 20 minutes from the mall, it has a waste sorting system that guarantees an accuracy of over 97%.

Far from the Scandinavian stereotype of the modern city, Eskiltuna, with its grey and almost deserted streets, where you can find old cafés and pubs, is certainly not a place where you would expect to find such a convincing approach to environmental issues. Yet this city in Sweden has really found an interesting turning point for its future.

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