Exchange and fresh impulses at the RREUSE conference in Pamplona

The annual European Reuse Conference of the European umbrella organisation RREUSE is one of the most important events for the exchange of experiences and getting to know interesting implementation projects in the reuse sector. In November 2019 140 participants from 17 countries met in Pamplona, organised by the Spanish Reuse Association AERESS and the social enterprise Traperos de Emaús Navarra. Several representatives from the project SUBTRACT were present. The various workshops dealt with topics such as separate collection, re-use of old electrical appliances (WEEE), the social impact of re-use and the implementation of EU directives. A highlight of the conference was a visit to the re-use plant of Traperos de Emmaüs in Pamplona. Emmaüs collects re-usable items for the entire region of Navarra on behalf of the municipalities from the municipal collection centres and from donations in kind, processes them and then sells them in a large re-use shop.
A key message from the discussion panels was the pressing need for stronger efforts in linking social considerations with the circular economy. As the director of RREUSE, Michal Len, highlighted, “the circular economy should work for everyone in our communities and not just for the more fortunate”. On a policy note, Heli Immonen, from the European Commission (DG Employment) insisted the climate was good for promoting social policies thanks to political guidelines including the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Green Deal, a just transition, the new Commissioner-Designate Nicolas Schmit and clear readiness of the society, including youth. Finally, as Eszter Csiscai from the New York City Department of Sanitation, concluded, “re-use is fundamentally a human centred environmental solution”.