Quality labels to encourage shoppers to buy second-hand
Although the majority of European citizens are open to buying second-hand, much needs to be done to dispel the notion that second-hand implies lower quality. In order to address the issue many social enterprises active in the second-hand industry are taking action and creating quality labels, showcasing a highly professional approach to re-use and the commitment to creating employment for those struggling to find a job.
One such example is the ‘Keurloopbedrijven®’ quality mark, devised and implemented by the Dutch association of re-use social enterprises bKN. BKN’s re-use centres can be certified for three years following a formal audit and undergoing interim checks.
The quality mark also recognises dedication to re-use as a priority treatment of collected goods and materials and responsible handling of the non-reusable fraction. At the moment almost 80 % of BKN members carry the Keurloopbedrijven® certification, making the quality standard well spread over the Netherlands.
In addition bKN has recently developed a customer-oriented label ‘100 % Kringloop!’ (100 % Circular) which can be used by members certified with the Keurloopbedrijven® quality mark. National Recycling Day to be held on 6th October 2018, has now been renamed as ‘100 % Kringloop! Day’, where the label will be officially launched at national level. By then bKN hopes that all members will be able to reveal the 100 % Kringloop! sign on their buildings.
In 2016 bKN represented 15,000 employees, trainees and volunteers engaged in almost 200 re-use stores with 12 million paying customers.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Community Reuse Network Ireland, a national network supporting 8 500 job, training and volunteering positions, launched the Re.Mark project at the end of with help of funding from the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The pilot project is running in cooperation with ten re-use organisations and aims to develop a ‘quality standard of excellence’ for re-use shops. The initial consumer research in Ireland discovered that for many consumers re-use still remains undiscovered. The label aims to improve the image of buying second-hand build confidence in that the products they buy are ‘safe and fit for purpose’. The first accreditation under the Re.Mark project is expected in spring 2018.