Second life for household objects in Madrid

Second life for household objects in Madrid

Residents of the Spanish capital are reminded of this unique and convenient service

The start of a new year and the end of the holiday cycle is the perfect time to start reorganizing one’s household and taking stock of all the new material things that have been acquired. Making room for those often means throwing out older stuff which has grown less useful.

In the connection, the City of Madrid has decided to remind its residents that while hoarding is not a good practice at home neither is the irresponsible disposal of objects all willy-nilly. To that end, the authorities had launched a programme back in 2019, called ReMAD, that seeks to instil the sense of reusing and repurposing old possessions rather than just throwing them away.

ReMAD won an award for Best Circular Economy Practice in Spain in 2020

ReMAD has the goal of formalizing the practice of the so-called exchanges and swap meets at the clean points in the city, where household items get dropped off, and making them a common routine in the waste management there. The idea is to also eventually get more residents comfortable with the concept of circular economy and responsible consumption through reusing and recycling.

Naturally, not all objects are fit for that programme. What can be exchanged? Things like household items, sports equipment, children’s accessories and toys and books are the most common and preferred. On the other hand, items, such as clothing, shoes, electrical objects, food, drinks and plants are not allowed. Some of the ReMAD centres do not have the capacity to accept bulky objects, so that should be consulted online in advance.

The way the system works is by registering at for an account, which will get you started with 100 points. Using ReMAD is free of charge, anyway, but the points are important.

Before taking an object to the centre, the owner has to upload a picture of it on his account, which will get him 100 points, taking home an item from the ReMAD clean point will subsequently subtract 50 points from the online account.

You can dispose of 10 registered objects per month throughout the whole network. As for taking an item home, it will not involve sorting and digging through what is available, the way you do in a second-hand shop. Users can consult the available products on the online catalogue and book the item they are interested in and collect it in person. Failing to pick it up after a week, though, will result in a temporary suspension penalty of 7 days.

Authorities have reported that this system is already showing promising results with 4200 registered users and 78% of reuse rate for objects. In 2020 the reality of the coronavirus pandemic has also caused management to implement strict disinfection measures for the objects that are delivered and a waiting period of 7 days from the moment items are dropped off before they can go to their new owners.

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