+ BACKGROUND, CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES
Since April 2012, the city government negotiated with various reuse companies, such as Beautiful Store, as well as experts in the field to discuss the construction of Seoul Reuse Plaza. After thorough discussions, the Seoul Metropolitan City (hereafter Seoul) on 14 May 2012 concluded that the Plaza needs to reflect one of the primary aims of the city to become the world-class recycling city. To make this happen, the city government consulted with various experts to define the Plaza’s architectural blueprint.
In June 2012, the survey on recycling companies based in the Metropolitan area concluded that it was challenging to find a space in Seoul big enough for them to run businesses altogether. Most of the reused and recycled facilities had moved or had plans to move out of the Metropolitan area due to the high rent. Another survey found that about 50% of the companies hoped to move to the Plaza, demonstrating their high expectation on Seoul Reuse Plaza project.
- High Waste Recycling Rate of Seoul
As of 2012, Seoul generated 37,854 tons of waste per day, 24% of which is household waste of 9,189 tons. Of this, 65.3% (6,005 tons) is recycled, and the rest was either incinerated (2,465 tons) or landfilled (719 tons). This high recycling rate was one of the highest in the world, compared to other major cities such as New York with 26%, London 25%, Tokyo 18%, and Paris 35%.
- Low Reuse and Remanufacturing Rate
In Seoul, most of the recyclables being recovered are through commercial junk shops. However, residents did not welcome these shops as they were often aesthetically unpleasant. In addition, the re-manufacturing sector did not earn stable revenue so that the recycling companies faced difficulties to secure proper sites for the stores.
1. To develop a complex to spread resource recycle and reuse culture
2. To utilise the complex as an educational and touristic landmark.
+ ACTIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION
With the industry support, Seoul decided to promote the plaza. From December 2012 to 2013, it opened an open competition for the plaza design. Among 6 companies that submitted high-quality samples for the blueprint, a panel of experts from diverse backgrounds chose “STORY BOX: Dream Factory with Stories” proposed by Samoo Architects & Engineers. The judges praised its uniqueness and artistry that symbolised recycling as well as the building’s harmonious design that fits naturally with the surrounding environment. The design was finalised in April 2014.
Seoul Reuse Plaza, living up to its name, was to be built with recycled construction materials, and the concept of recycling is applied to all corners of the Plaza in terms of its design and programs. The building itself was to symbolise recycling. Furthermore, the building was to be highly self-sufficient by utilising renewable energy sources such as solar energy, geothermal power, LED lightings, and other energy-saving facilities.
- Recycling and Reuse Facility
The Recycling and Reuse Facility will be the place where the old products such as clothing, home appliances, and housewares will be gathered and systematically sorted and re-made into new products. This facility will be not only a forum of education on product reuse but also a workplace for socially marginalised residents and volunteers.
- Recycling Workshop
Workshops that are planning to be part of the Plaza are as following: Clothing Workshop that uses old clothes, Leather Workshop whose material will be waste leather from discarded sofas or leather goods, Woodcraft Workshop with waste lumber and old furniture, Banner Workshop with discarded banners, and PET Bottle Workshop, among others.
- Recycling Museum
The Recycling Museum will exhibit art works made of recycled materials. It will provide the public with a space for spreading significance of recycling, as well as for amateur artists.
- Bank of Recyclable Materials
The Bank of Recyclable Materials will collect, process, and sell discarded leather, banners, lumber, and textile to artists and remanufacturers, businesses or individuals alike. The Bank will play a crucial role in the development of related workshops or companies. Unfortunately, however, there is yet no such remanufacturing company in Korea.
- Recycled Product Mall
The Recycled Product Mall will be a place to display and sell recycled products, remanufactured goods, and eco-friendly products. Some portion of the profit will be used for charity and public services. Consumers will feel good about taking part in helping the needy, and such spirit of giving and sharing will contribute to creating the culture of sustainable consumption.
- Space for Citizen Participation
The Plaza plans to develop and carry out various programs that will make itself a tourist destination to which visitors come back by operating resource recirculation-themed guided tours, holding educational events and cultural festivals.
+ OUTCOMES AND IMPACTS
Under the assumption that 15,313 tons of waste will be processed in the Reuse Centre every year, the amount of greenhouse gases reduced will be 38,000 tons, which is 3 times less than burying CO2-eq.
As the Reuse Plaza will have 16 resident companies, 39 domestic positions and 95 American positions are expected to be created. In addition to the 39 direct employment (based on domestic industry standard), there will be indirect employment (real-estate, financial, and legal services) and induced employment are expected as well.
+ REPLICABILITY AND SCALABILITY
Social and Environmental Effects of Reuse
- Reduction on the amount of waste for incineration and landfill
- Cut back on the cost of government paid incineration or landfill
- Savings on consumers’ purchasing costs
- Donations from donators
- Sales revenue from reuse centre and donators
- Job generation in related fields
- Related beneficiaries of individuals, homes, and organization
- Reduction on Greenhouse Gas emission by 50% compared to using newly produced goods
- Compared to recycling which utilizes the used goods as resources for other goods, reuse cut back more Greenhouse Gas emission according to the reduction on transportation cost.
Remanufacturing business, Internationally Emerging as a New Industry
- Wastes are utilised as materials for creating artworks, creating a new art trend
- Modeled after European eco-freindly cultural values, it has many potentials in the market
- Some multinational enterprises are utilising recycling as a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and a donation opportunity, which boost the brand image.
+ BUDGET AMOUNT
Total budget for the initiative was 32,356,000 USD. In detail, construction cost was budgeted for 29,406,660 USD and budget for design and supervision cost was 2,689,100 USD (Approximately 9% of the construction cost).