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Add value to objects, create social ties and jobs: the challenge of the resource centers

Fight against waste by giving objects a second life, this is the bet taken for more than twenty years by the resource centers. These structures collect crockery, furniture, textiles and even household appliances, repair them and then resell them in solidarity shops. Objective: to avoid the recycling center, the incinerator or, worse, the landfill. These associative networks are developed throughout the territory and nearly one in four French people live near a resource center. A concept and an awareness that resonates with the big decoration brands.

The National Resourcing Network has nearly 160 member structures spread across the entire territory and supported by citizens convinced that the future lies in reuse. “This is the fascinating side of the microeconomics of territories which could only be provided by people who know their territory”, explains Sébastien Pichot, vice-president of the Réseau national des ressourceries. “In the field, they are creating new economic models for short circuits, for recycling materials and objects, and are working in partnership with the public authorities who manage waste.” Complementary solutions, according to him, to those of public actors.

Places of social connection

Over time, resource providers have become experts in waste reduction at the local level. But not only: these structures have become places of sharing, which improve social ties and recreate life in the territories. Via solidarity collection in particular, explains Sébastien Pichot. “There are a lot of people who cannot change their environment because they cannot move their cupboards: these are too expensive services,” he says. “So we need a united service.” In-store sales make it possible to meet the public but also to meet the needs of smaller budgets.

The principle of revaluing items that are broken or destined for the trash has attracted companies, like the Maisons du Monde decoration brands. The company, born in the suburbs of Nantes, now has 350 stores around the world, including 225 in France. And has forged a partnership for several years with structures of revaluation of objects.

“We are very proud of this local partnership in the region”, confides Julie Walbaum, general manager of Maisons du monde, at the microphone of Europe 1. “Every time we have damaged products in the store, or in the warehouse in Nantes, we give them to the resource center so that they can be sold and this is also the case with Emmaüs. Last year, which was an exceptional year of needs, we gave 80,000 products to these structures. “

70,000 jobs to be created in recycling

Before being sold, the collected objects will be cleaned, repaired, repainted and sometimes even totally reinvented. “They can be diverted by craftsmen”, rejoices Sébastien Pichot. “There are many creators in the resource centers, which are really centers of immense creativity. To end up in pendulum if it were a piggy bank: everything is imaginable.”

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Promotion has become an expertise, which makes it possible to create jobs in the workshops: 4,000 employees currently work within the network and 70% of the resource centers are reintegration structures. “It’s true that we give back a taste for work because it is a job that enchants every day. It is not in the assembly line industry,” says the vice-president of the National Resource Center. “We estimated that if we opened as many resource centers as there are waste collection centers in the regions, we would create 70,000 jobs in less than five years,” he adds.

Another mission of the resource centers: advice to help citizens repair their items and add value to them in order to avoid throwing away their property too easily. Awareness of consumption patterns and waste management, which concerns adults, but also the youngest generations. “It’s a fabulous imagination with children,” says Sébastien Pichot. “Me, I make ‘ethico paintings’, we recover all the little bits of broken, inspiring objects and we create paintings. Finally, the waste that we did not want to see, we end up hanging it on the wall. “

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