Härnösand’s Återbruksgalleria

Project Härnösands Återbruksgalleria wants to bring life back to Härnösands City Center and create job opportunities with new businesses. Recycling and circular economy begin with increased experience and consciousness, resulting in the goal to build an entire destination around a circular and sustainable concept.

Linda Lundberg is the project manager for “Härnösands Återbruksgalleria”. This project is driven and financed by Härnösänds’ municipality. The assignment came from the head of administration that works at The Administrations for Labour Market Integration or Labour Administration in the municipality, after they saw a high unemployment rate. Previously, they went on a guided tour that resulted in two projects that were grounded in creating job opportunities. Re:Store, and a separate project that was named “Stadsnära odling” where several foreign farmers are active.  One of the guided tours resulted in the inspiration of Eskilstuna and ReTuna Återbruksgalleria. However, in Härnösand, they choose to further develop the concept into a mall with a shared register, a market in the city center and mall employees.

Linda started working in the middle of March 2021, they had already done a guided tour and a pilot study. The municipality had written a project directive, assembled a management team, and then Linda was able to get the ball rolling. Three years before Linda started working on this project, she wanted to start a recycling mall herself. Linda is a licensed interior designer who gladly uses recycled materials and materials found in nature.  It is important for her that you recycle and restore existing furniture. “I have worked a lot with restoration within my entrepreneurship.”

Throughout her work on this project, Linda has collected insight around the laws of waste management and what happens in a recycling center. There is exceptional work done by the muncipality that she had no idea about.

The plan is to lift hand crafters, artists, and new designers in this mall. The main objective is to minimize unemployment, but to MINIMIZE landfills. This adjustment can be accomplished by establishing a circular approach.

The mall creates several job opportunities, generates new businesses, livens up the city center and most importantly – enables live trade. These later benefits restaurants and shopper, and in turn benefits the population’s physical well-being because there are more activities that take place. This strengthens Härnösand as a tourist destination, more people will be curious about Härnösand and Höga Kusten!

“When we create job opportunities, we lift individuals and families through social sustainability, and in this way save money because they contribute back to the community. But most importantly, they get a meaningful employment that increases their well-being.”

Linda sees advantages with living and working in an arctic sparsely populated area, “It is easier to collaborate. Nearness makes things easier. We live a little further from each other, but that does not need to be a disadvantage.  To make a mall with all these events, is not so easy, but by creating a market in the city center you can stay and sell your items just once a month. It is quality of life. We can even produce sustainable items in a different way than in bigger cities. We have different experience and circumstances.”

Many of the services that they make would not work in a big city. For example, the municipality takes on the responsibility of picking up furniture for recycling from people’s homes. They have chosen to put the mall central and not near a recycling center, which is possible in a small community. Linda is even working at implementing a service that would pick up service, and then restore so that it could later be sold.

But, collaboration between municipalities can be a little tricky. They cannot compete with the existing local businesses and they can look at the development of different services to collaborate with the existing. In Härnösands the recycling mall has chosen to develop an online shop to help the small entrepreneurs, thus providing a service. However, first a means of sustainable shipping must be obtained for this to become a possibility. This requires a constant focus on the entire field.   

According to Linda, it is fantastic to go through The Administrations for Labour Market Integration or Labour Administration and their programme for labour market measures. They are creating a model that other municipalities can use. The thought is that you will be able to include several companies so that you can replicate this to other locations and other municipalities.

“I am looking forward to starting Re:Store Höga Kusten in other locations, and countries. But even that this spreads in neighborhoods. To build a recycling neighborhood. This is a lifestyle that will expand in the entire destination. It is sustainable in all aspects. I usually say, I will be pretty satisfied the day that Re:Store Höga Kusten opens in Manhattan!”

Current locations are being renovated with more energy efficient electricity. This initiative wishes to inspire several new malls in the entire recycling trend. They are looking forward to opening the doors to Re:Store Höga Kusten during the first quarter of 2022.

Furthermore, they wish everyone a warm welcome!