Alelyckan Recycling Park in Gothenburg
Contact: Per Hogedal
Telefon: 031-368 72 63
WHERE: Gothenburg, Sweden
WHEN: since 2003
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention, Preparing for reuse and Recycling
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, awareness raising and Voluntary
WASTE STREAMS: Municipal waste, Packaging waste, Waste electrical and electronic equipment, Construction and demolition waste, End-of-life vehicles, Organic residues (garden waste), Cardboard, Wood waste, Food and organic waste, Paper, Textiles, Batteries, Bulky waste
About: The recycling park planning of started in 2003 and it was opened 4 years later through an EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation Project. AleLyckan Ecopark provides the citizens in Gothenburg with the unique concept of recycling, reuse and second hand stores all in one place. It started as an initiative of the city of Gothenburg but the reusing and recycling of the collected objects is supported by private entrepreneurs. The facility has been in operation since 2007 and is currently operated by the municipality of Gothenburg in cooperation with “Göteborgs kyrkliga stadsmission” (charity organisation). The architects have been creating the recycling park Alelyckan from scratch, from the program and plan to finished design of the buildings. One of the park’s recycling goal is to inspire the general public to adapt to environmental construction and strengthen Gothenburg’s profile as an eco-city. This is clearly seen in the buildings where the beautiful old windows interacts with tall paned doors, 80% recycled materials from old buildings. In most buildings the intention of recycling can go even deeper than that. Even structural parts, truss beams and columns are collected, quality analyzed and re-used, all to make as little impact as possible on our environment.
Materials that can be reintroduced into the cycle is utilized as, for example, environmentally harmful products and electronics are sorted out. On the recovery site bulky waste as well as newspapers and packaging is dropped for recycling. All collected materials is being sold for re-use in their buildings. Anyone looking for recycled bricks, genuine paned windows, cast iron stoves, appliances or plumbing articles will find everything it the park. In the park, residents can sort waste for further recycling, leave unwanted items for reuse and buy second hand goods and materials (e.g. furniture, building materials etc.) at a discounted price. Items aimed for reuse are repaired/refined in order to be sold in stores in the park area. Trained personnel helps visitors in the waste sorting
To give the inhabitants the possibility to donate reusable materials before recycling and to buy donated (sometimes repaired) goods in thrift shops located within the recycling park. The concept has also a strong social impact and acts as a circular approach for furniture and other goods
1. Know-how: the park has a very well designed flow: first, all visitors can access the 3 specialized shops (selling building material, second hand and repaired goods) within the area. Then, they can choose to enter the re-use station under roof, with three lanes for cars. There, they are asked if they have something to donate to second-hand sales. Products that are in good condition and could be sold in the park are collected in the re-use station. They are also asked if they have any hazardous waste or WEEE that are also collected in the re-use station. The rest is directed to the recycling centre where the visitors sort into different waste fractions for materials recycling or energy recovery.
2. Funding: 4 milion EUR (EU financing)
3. Material resources: total area of 30.000 square meters, on the site of an old building
4. Human resources: 25 new green jobs were created (initially, 10 new jobs + volunteers + jobless trained persons)
5. Period of implementation: 2003-2007 the design time, the park is fully optional 10 years later
– About 300-400 visitors per day
– Turnover: 1.2 Mio. EUR (in 2013)
– Created opportunities for 25 new jobs (green jobs)
– 70% of the donated products are re-used.
The park prevents 360 tons of waste per year by enabling products to be reused rather than discarded, representing a reduction in environmental impact equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 430 cars, each driven 15.000 km. About 2.200 tons of waste per year (equivalent to 5 % of all bulky waste delivered to Gothenburg’s 5 recycling centers) could be prevented if these were converted to recycling parks
Urban metabolism relevance
The project is a best practice that aims at providing a clear sustainable example of a zero waste approach, promoting as a Gothenburg’s profile as an eco-city. All the shops, from the coffee shop – where you can eat food cooked from scratch with organic ingredients from the park promote a sustainable living providing the resources and ideas for the visitors to adapt to this way of living. The results of the “all inclusive system” – from growing the organic food to reuse clothes and repair bicycles and up cycle furniture while obtaining profit and creating green jobs represent a best example of circular economy, closing the loop on an extended number of economic sectors and waste streams. It improves the air quality of the city through the promotion of organic agriculture, reduces the use of natural resources and focuses on reuse – from construction materials to clothes, furniture and so on.
In addition, significant improvements in waste flows and waste management have been recorded due do the recycling park. Also, the waste prevention activities are estimated to give an annual net reduction of some 1.3 k tonne of CO2 equiv. and 9700 MWh compared to a conventional recycling center
Engaged participatory processes
Alelyckan re-use park has been developed based on a successful collaboration between the Municipality of Gothenburg, 3 thrift shops and a charity organization. 10 years after the opening the Park has been further developed as a results of increasing citizens engagement – around 400 visitors every day.
The municipality has developed an open participatory process and further creates new opportunities to improve the quality of citizens life, involving the visitors in a wide range of activities from workshops (promoting also new designs) to discussions looking for feedback and adapting the activities in the Pack to the community’ needs. The Park acts as an educational tool also beyond a physical platform for a wide range of objects that promotes sustainable valorization of reusable articles.
In terms of innovation it covers a lot of relevant aspects – from the design of buildings using 80% of recovered materials from old constructions that are in the same time sustainable, to the concept of the Park that is a closed loop focusing on close cooperation between all the relevant stakeholders aiming at improving the social aspects (creating green jobs, engaging citizens in all the phases of the process, promoting sustainable living and the means to achieve it). Moreover, it is a profitable municipality owned sustainable business with increasing number of costumers
Sustainability and replicability
The park is highly sustainable, a perfect example of how to successfully promote waste prevention while move up the waste hierarchy:
– 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).
Similar sustainable initiatives have been initiated in other EU countries, some examples are:
– Marche Region: Reuse Center L’Alligatore, Italy
– R.U.S.Z. – Vienna, Austria
– Ecomoebel Germany
– Wrap UK – at the forefront of the circular economy
The practice is not easy to implement and to replicate, as it takes time and financial resources to build it at this large scale, but the results are outstanding, combining awareness raising activities with voluntary agreements, public-private partnerships and creation of green jobs while obtaining significant profit in the process of waste prevention and management with quantifiable results on a large number of waste streams. It is the best all-inclusive best practice on waste prevention and management, replicable for municipalities with significant population
The municipality of Gothenburg is the key actor of the Best practice and has developed sustainable partnerships with local stakeholders
• A key factor was the 4 years planning process that covered all the relevant aspects and the long term vision that will expand the Park, attracting more visitors and costumers in the future, thus improving the image of the City as an eco-friendly environment.
• The initiative influenced people’s behaviour, educating people by the principle „learning by doing”
• People just visiting the park were encouraged to donate their unused things, which led to increase in things left for re-use
• The municipality promoted the fact that it should be a pleasure and easy to donate, buy second-hand goods, sort one’s waste or just understand how the recycling park is working.
Waste, Resources, Innovation.
- Unawareness about the park and its potential among citizens
- 30% of the goods handed in are disposed of as waste because they do not work properly (half directly in the sorting station and half in the shops). The Municipality is planning to create more jobs in order to increase the resources to repair goods and to increase the amount of reuse objects while decreasing the quantity disposed