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Kretsloppsparken. Recycling or amusement park?

How to make getting rid of what we don’t need a fun experience? In Gothenburg, Sweden, they have designed a reuse and recycle park to look as an amusement park.

Results: they attract 300 to 400 visitors a day, sell for a value of 1,1 million euros, create 25 green jobs whilst radically reducing the amount of waste that otherwise would have to be disposed of. This is a good piece of Zero Waste!

Kretsloppsarken (the name of this amusement park) is a perfect example of how to successfully 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).

People can bring any item they don’t need to the Kretsloppsarken; furniture, clothes, household stuff, white goods, construction materials, old bycicles (from every three old bikes a new one will come out from the repairshop), wood, etc… all gets repaired, reused or recycled and put in the market again.

When they were designing the new recycling park the city council thought of creating instead an amusement park for recyclers and reusers. The Kretsloppsarken philosophy is that donating, buying second hand and sorting one’s waste should be easy and almost a pleasure.

How to make it a pleasure? By showing the facilities always tidy and clean, with white clean containers where to drop the recyclables.

How to make it entertaining? By using a dog to sort out 6 differet waste streams, by having clowns taking care of educating children into recycling and reuse, by organising concerts and organic happenings…

How to make it educative? By making available a “personal sorter” to guide the person through the sorting process and asking the right questions so that waste finds its best purpose…

Kretsloppsarken was built in one year time reusing 80% of an old building and it was inaugurated in May 2007 with a cost of 4 million euros. The initiative was of the city of Gothenburg but the reusing and recycling of the collected stuff is one by 5 private entrepreneurs.

The successful results in terms of economic turnout, green job creation and waste minimisation confirm this as the right approach.

Even visiting the bathroom can be a fun experience in Kretsloppsarken! Decorated with paintings and pictures for sale very often visitors come out of the toilette with a new acquisition to decorate their homes. There is no such a thing as a boring place in Kretsloppsarken.

The contribution of recycling-amusement parks to Zero Waste is paramount. They are not only cheaper, more effective and job-creating than incinerators or landfills, they are also a lot more beautiful and fun. The struggle for sustainability is less of a strain when it can be made fun!

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There are 7 comments
  1. […] Kretsloppsarken. Recycling or amusement park? […]

  2. Thanks for sharing the nice and valuable information about the zero waste in Europe,I hope your idea is valuable for Europe.

  3. […] Teeme Ära! Teadmistetiimi inimesed käisid augustis uurimas, kuidas prügimõttes arenenumad riigid oma prügiasju ajavad. Suuremas plaanis on tarmukatel eestlastel mõte välja töötada prügivaba Eesti (zero-waste) konseptsioon. Jääme ootama!  Teksti koostas Anne Ruusmann koos abijõududega. Rohkem infot Göteborgi taaskasutuskeskuse kohta leiad siit.  […]

  4. […] Fashion of Reet Aus from Estonia, the experience of the Zero Waste family in the UK or the funniest Reuse and leisure park in Europe Kretslopp park from Sweden. Also on better design, the Craddle to Craddle Foundation will present its work in […]

  5. […] della famiglia Rifiuti Zero nel Regno Unito e il divertente parco di riuso e riutilizzo di Kretslopp in Svezia. La fondazione Craddle to Craddle presenterà il suo lavoro di progettazione di […]

  6. fiammetta

    In this page there is a great omission, the city of Gothenburg defines itself green and about waste management claims to have a “world-class regional waste management” ( This page of zero-waste Europe praises Gothenburg recycling park , which is indeed great, without a critical mention to Gothenburg’s incinerator. In doing so I think that Zero-Waste implicitly advertises Gothenburg as a green city but in my opinion no city with an incinerator plant deserves to be called green. Moreover Gothenburg claims to send only the 2% of its waste to landfills. An incinerator produces a 25% of toxic residues. This means that Gothenburg recycles about the 92% of its waste. Is the 8% of Gothenburg waste enough to maintain the incinerator plant or does this burn waste from other regions? Yes, this seems indeed the case, instead of going towards a closure of the incineration plant it is more convenient to import waste from England. Is the population living around the waste energy plant happy? Are there any long term epidemiological studies on the residential population? Why none of these questions is raised in your page? Best regards, Fiammetta

  7. Thanks for your comment Fiammetta. We completely agree with your views on incineration and we have long advocated for phasing out incineration in favour of alternatives, and so have our municipalities been doing since the beginning of our existence. We are aware of the situation of Sweden and how unsustainable their waste management model is. For instance, in 2013 we commissioned a report on waste incineration, describing the situation in Sweden and other Northern European countries. You can find here a small summary. However, the intention of this article wasn’t, to greenwash Gothenburg or to praise the city as a perfect model to follow, rather on the contrary to promote one specific good practice, such as the one of this Ecopark, and to show that even in the land of incineration, there’s hope for zero waste.

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