Reuse Commons

city governance commons

Ecosystem for the collective stewardship of post-consumption materials.


Reuse Commons

Reuse Commons is a model for a multi-stakeholder body governing the reuse of discarded materials in a city or region.

Relation to other concept ideas

The reuse commons integrates transformation labs, lost and found services, reuse cabins and similar initiatives, community reuse projects (repair cafes, zero waste and material redistribution projects), reuse bins and reuse datasets.

Potential members

  • Citizens / households.
    • Donating / Selling goods to the commons and being able to track their destination / social impact.
    • Having access (affordable prices / donation schemes) to trusted second-hand goods - provenance and individual history.
    • Possibility: reward donors with credits to acquire other goods.
  • Community reuse initiatives - repair cafes, men's sheds, charity shops, ressourceries, clothes swaps, zero waste projects,
  • Repair/reuse services - SMEs and social enterprises making their services known. Smartphone and Laptop repairs, tailors, bike shops, automobile maintenance,
  • Upcycling / Antique / Design shops
  • FabLabs / Makerspaces
  • Council / Local Authority - reuse cabins, large item collection, house clearances, renovations of schools and public buildings.

Economic model

One of the main motivations behind the reuse commons is to create ways for people and organisations to be rewarded for reusing materials themselves, or allowing others to reuse - instead of discarding things that would then be "downcycled" at best.

Membership model - people, businesses and organisations sign up to participate in the commons. Every object they put into the system is registered. When it is reused or upcycled, the commons grows. Credits from donations of materials can be used to acquire other goods.

Open Questions

  • How to reward citizens and organisations for reusing materials? Fine tune the system of incentives for different stakeholders.
  • Communicate in a way that is easy to understand.


to come

Target Groups

  1. Community Reuse
  2. Citizen / Household
  3. Council / Local Authority
  4. Professional Repair

Supporting Research Data

I found two chairs, wooden chairs. They look as if they are mid-century, but it was missing the seat. That’s the diary I made and shared with you. And I guess in this case, because we moved into this place a year ago and we’ve slowly been putting things in it. And we tend not to have too many things because my work sometimes takes me to other countries and I move for a bit of time. So we try not to have too many things. But we knew we needed chairs, so I took it in as a necessity/opportunity to do something creative with it. Especially since I was looking for excuses to use my printer, that was kind of the idea. What else was there? What else has broken recently? Quite a few things.


Waste Banks in Indonesia

Like a regular commercial bank, you open up an account with your local waste bank. Periodically, you make deposits with your non-organic solid waste, which are weighed and given a monetary value, based on rates set by waste collectors. This value is saved in your account from which, like a regular bank, you can withdraw. The basic principles of waste banks remain the same across provinces: collect, save, earn, change behavior, and enjoy a clean neighborhood.

World Bank Blog

Plastic Bank

We are turning plastic into gold by revolutionizing the world’s recycling systems to create a regenerative, inclusive, and circular plastic economy

Images used on this page

  • Header image: collage

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EU Flag This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813508.