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19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

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Repair and reuse initiatives: which interactions and expectations between stakeholders

In order to go beyond the recycling strategies and consistent with the European directives, different institutional initiatives have recently emerged in France promoting Circular and Cooperative Economy: Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, call of projects from the Environmental Agency… Some local and national solutions are put in place; numerous initiatives are tested and implemented by the associative sector and the social and solidarity Economy to promote reuse, reemployment and reparation, sometimes for a long time (like the Emmaüs network) (Horne, Maddrell, 2002). However, despite the diversity of the existing solutions, the resort to repair and reuse remains limited, notably because of a lack of public sensitivity, a negative representation towards these practices, a weak institutional recognizing of these initiatives (often located far away from the urban centres) (Gregson, Crewe, 2003).

Recyluse is a research and operational project targeting to better understand the nature of the different resistances against and interests in repair and reuse not only from the citizens but also from the public authorities and waste operators. It questions the collective capacity to build circular networks of reuse and repair, while taking into account local characteristics, path dependences and technical lock-in. This project is based on two French case studies and different work sequences (territorial diagnosis, organisation of living labs). It also combines different scientific disciplines: engineering sciences and social sciences and quantitative and qualitative approaches (survey, semi-directive interviews, observation, organisation of living labs).

A particular question which worth to be explored is how the new initiatives around the upcycling, the reuse and repair of “waste” conceived the future or current users of their business or activities and if and how these representations and associated goals meet with the expectations of the users, which can be just be a consumer of second hand goods or a provider of objects which do no match anymore his/her taste, functionality and so on… or a stakeholder involved in different actions (repair café). The interactions between these different “agents” (we will categorise them throughout their commitment, their representations…) are motivated around objects/goods playing different roles according to their “possessor”, the person who transforms and fixes them, the one who buys them. These objects/goods should no more considered as rubbish. Their value evolves step by step (Thompson, 1979) from the no more desirable object to a second “life” with new uses and performances.

Julie Gobert

José-Frédéric Deroubaix

Romain Allais


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