‘Smart Re-use Parks’ as the emerging model for boosting sustainable way of life
The SURFACE project (Interreg Central Europe), successfully closed in June 2020 after three years of activities with many good results paving the way for a future with re-use being a part of everyday life. SURFACE brought together ten partners from Central Europe to promote and run the so-called ‘Smart Re-Use Parks’.
The ‘Smart Re-use Parks’ bring various re-use, repair and waste prevention activities to the citizens, offering them alternatives to a consumption-focused lifestyle. It can be one physical place combining different initiatives such as repair cafes, re-use shops, workshops… or it can be a virtual connection among local initiatives such as an online platform.
The idea of Smart Re-use Parks has proved to be a visionary one and increasingly relevant across the project duration. During the three years, a number of similar initiatives came about, showing that a more integrated approach is needed to make waste prevention and re-use services as part of urban ecosystems and accessible and convenient for citizens (e.g. Urban Agenda for the EU, Resourceful Cities, Circular Craft Centres)
SURFACE helped connect, expand and further develop re-use practices in 9 Central European countries starting in selected regions and replicating the knowledge to 9 extra ‘twin’ regions and cities.
The re-use sector is full of promising initiatives, activities and innovative ideas. However, in order to be better established, it needs not only support from the national governments but also projects like SURFACE that create guidance for establishing re-use practices and inspire other urban areas to follow suit.
Highlights of the project
- 5 Smart Re-use Parks were launched in IT, AT, DE, PL, HU including two digital platforms
- 4 Feasibility studies were carried out for future Smart Re-use Parks in IT, CZ, SI, HR
- 18 regions and cities in total carried out a Smart Re-use park: The impact of the project increased twofold through the ‘Twinning scheme’ where each partner region engaged a ‘twin’ partner interested in replicating the Smart Re-use Park. The ‘twin’ received training and support to start the activities.
- 586 stakeholders involved, 254 activities and events organised, 1 346 468 people engaged, 253 jobs created, 1 607 610 kg of waste prevented
- Cooperation continues: The consortium committed to keep supporting each other and boost re-use even after the project end through regular online calls every 6 months.
- Project final infographic: What are smart re-use parks and what impact have we achieved?
- YouTube Channel: Collection of video Stories of re-use from Central Europe and Beyond
- Digital Smart Re-use Parks in Austria and Germany
- Activation Toolbox: A set of documents to help start a Smart Re-use Park
- Implementation of the Re-use Box in more countries
- Final Conference materials
Jana Zurkova, RREUSE, Network Development & Innovation Manager
Picture Credit © Cooperative Sociale Insieme