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The (re)winners live in Västra Götaland – the best in terms of sustainability

The massive interest in sustainability is growing worldwide, not least in Sweden. When it comes to electronics, which is one of the biggest environmental culprits, the residents of Västra Götaland take home the award as the best in the country. Here is both the city that recycles the most, and where the trend to buy refurbished is growing the most.

A whopping 95 percent of the population believes that sustainability is an important issue according to the report The Swedes and Sustainability, and earlier this year a Yougov survey from Refurbed showed that 29 percent think that in the last five years it has become more important to be able to show off a sustainable lifestyle.

A new trend that is gaining momentum is buying electronics that have been refurbished, meaning that the device is used but has been refurbished to look and function like new. Dagens Teknik has previously drawn attention to the mobile company Swappie, which sells used phones with a similar concept. Sales statistics from Refurbed, which sells refurbished electronics, show that Västra Götaland is at the top when it comes to buying refurbished. Namely, Västra Götaland is the county where the growth was greatest during the first half of 2022.

– Of course, it is always better to recycle than to save or throw electronics in the trash, but studies from the IVL Environmental Institute have shown that the greatest climate benefits come from reducing the consumption of new electronics. Therefore, it is better to use the full lifespan of technology, by repairing or buying refurbished electronics, says Therese Almqvist, marketing manager for Refurbed in Sweden.

Biggest climate change among electronics

Electronics belong to one of the categories whose waste has the largest climate footprint, and last year Swedes recycled an average of 13 kilos of electronics per person according to the Elkretsen. One city in Västra Götaland stands out extra: residents in Åmål recycled almost three times more than the country as a whole in 2021, a total of 37.56 kilograms per inhabitant.

– The circular mindset is increasing among Swedes, and it is perhaps not surprising that those who recycle the most also live in the same county where the reconditioned trend is growing the most. Both actions can be seen as part of a sustainable lifestyle, where hopefully other measures are also taken to reduce their footprint, says Therese Almqvist.

In total, Refurbed’s sales of reconditioned electronics in Västra Götaland increased by 361 percent between January and June, compared to 204 percent for Sweden as a whole during the same period.

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