I’ve just spent a few days in Finland exploring their Kierrattyskeskus (reuse centres). Owned by the Helsinki City Council, but run independently, they have a number of stores across Helsinki and Espoo - they offer a service to drop off things you think could be reused or repaired. They have been doing this since 1990. They cover everything from white goods (fridges, freezers, washing machines, dryers, ovens and microwaves), electrical and electronics (irons, fans, cameras, stereos, games consoles, PCs,), bicycles, skis, ice skates (it is Finland) furnitures, kitchen ware, clothing, books (300k / yr), … almost everything except cars and mobiles! As well as the main stores, they sell more valuable items on-line to maximise what they can get. They claim to reuse or repair 60%, properly recycle 30% and only 10% goes to incineration (energy generation). They employ around 500 people, 250 in the largest store I visited. They have even created two of their own brands: Plan B - which makes up-cycled furniture and clothing, and Napro which uses all the remnants and odd socks etc to make handicraft kits). They also offer education (68k trained in waste management last year). They buy spares and repair parts, but also reuse parts from unrepairable items, making maximum use of the goods that are left with them. All the money made is ploughed back into improving and expanding services.

There were so many good ideas. I have contact details if anyone is interested (especially local councils, who might be looking to expand capability). I’ll try to post some images shortly.


Hi Mark

That sounds like a well-designed and very functional reuse/recyling service.

Here in Devon, this is happening:


Ian, Thanks. I went down to Devon a few weeks ago to BigFix, met Catherine Causley and to see other examples in Exeter and Chagford etc. Devon is probably doing more than most councils, and has now got reuse and resale at a HWRC, but there is a lot to learn from Finland. I’ve put Catherine in direct contact with the Kierratyskeskus team.