On September 8, 2021, took place SUBTRACT Dissemination Event, organized within the framework of the European Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP) in Graz, Austria. SUBTRACT project partners, their stakeholders as well as other conference participants took part in the event, getting valuable insights into numerous good practices in the field of reuse.
Session 1 kicked off with the presentation on the project SUBTRACT by Dr. Ingrid Winter, Head of Department Waste and Resource Management (Directorate 14, Office of the Regional Government of Styria), including the activities and key learnings from the project. Based on the interregional learning process, there is need to increase the flow and the management of reuse goods by means of digital tools and to increase the visibility of the reuse sector in all partner regions.
In his online contribution, Mathieu Rama, Senior Policy Officer at RREUSE, talked about the relevant reuse-related measures encompassed within the Waste Framework Directive (WFD).
“The WFD recognizes social enterprises as key actors in the implementation of an inclusive circular economy. For instance, recital 29 of the WFD encourages the establishment and support of recognized reuse networks, highlighting in particular those run by social economy enterprises”, said Rama. “It has been found out by the Finnish government that investing in one unemployed person working at the social enterprise would represent 12.000 euro net return to government and society”, he added.
Moreover, fiscal measures should be used to improve the implementation of the EU waste hierarchy. For instance, in Belgium, social enterprises active in the area of reuse have a reduced VAT rate of 6% because they combine their reuse activities with training and integration of disadvantaged groups.
Followed a good practice example in the field of refurbishment and reuse of WEEE. Compuritas is a privately owned, Graz-based IT refurbisher that takes over entire series of discarded PCs and laptops from large companies and prepares them for reuse. The company supplies mainly non-profit organizations and educational institutions with computer hardware at favorable prices. “In times of COVID-19, within the framework of the Compuritas’ initiative ‘Weiterlernen’ a total of over 1300 children were equipped with reuse hardware for free”, said Mathias Di Felice, the CEO of Compuritas.
Session 2 of the SUBTRACT Dissemination Event started with two interesting contributions from the Lund University in Sweden. Mariana López Dávila introduced the participants to her research study that aims at gaining behavioral insights into personal electronics repair in Sweden. In his online contribution, Carl Dalhammar gave insights into the Swedish Circular Economy policies, providing some examples of measures promoting reuse and repair at national level. Among the proposed measures is a new tax reduction for repairs and private renting of goods.
The dissemination event was rounded up with presentations by the two SUBTRACT project partners, highlighting several good practices in the field of reuse in Catalonia and Finland as well as important measures to be implemented in the upcoming years.
Reuse will gain high priority within a new Law on the Prevention and Management of Waste and Efficient Use of Resources in Catalonia. Alfred Vara from the Waste Agency Catalunya cited several proposed measures, such as support for authorized centers and networks for the collection and reuse of products, promotion of the creation of publicly owned Reuse Centers and promotion of deposit refund systems.
In her online presentation, Kati Hinkkanen, Quality Manager at Kierrätyskeskus talked, among others, about the reuse of electronic appliances in Helsinki Metropolitan Area. With an intake of about 900 tones of WEEE, Kierrätyskeskus is able to reuse approx. 20-30% of WEEE, thus saving about 10 000 tones of natural resources and generating over 1-million-euro revenue.