Bricoboutique is a new concept of solidarity boutique dedicated to DIY products. Open to all, the shop offers second-hand tools and materials, most of them new. This new activity naturally complements the social action offered by the French Red Cross of enabling people to buy products in order to improve their homes. It is thus possible to buy parquet strips, light bulbs or insulating sheets at a reduced rate.
In 2021, the EU’s circular material use rate –the share of used resources which come from recycled waste materials– reached 11.7%. Meaning that almost 12% of material resources used in the EU came from recycled waste materials (Eurostat, 2022). As this trend continues to grow, International institutions and local actors are working towards actions that promote circular economy activities. In March 2020 The European Commission adopted the new circular economy action plan (CEAP), crucial for Europe’s agenda for sustainable growth (European Green Deal). Furthermore, it’s been established that the EU’s transition to a circular economy will reduce pressure on natural resources and will create sustainable growth and the creation of jobs (European Commission, 2023). Adopting circular-economy principles could not only benefit Europe environmentally and socially but could also generate a net economic benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030 (Böhringer, 2015).
Since 2015, the Bricoboutique project was born from the realisation that the offers of solidarity actors in the field of housing were very limited (at most, helping to pay an energy bill). Considering the fact that 16% of homeowners in Isère live in precarious situations, and companies throw away large volumes of products, usually in perfect condition, the project was tested since the beginning of 2021 in Isère in the Ressourcerie’s premises in La Buisse, and since September 2021 in its own premises located in Voiron. Therefore, Bricoboutique responds to two problems: providing access to quality products at a lower cost (solidarity approach) and reducing the volume of products incinerated or landfilled (environmental approach). Plus, there is a community engagement approach by providing a place where anyone can come and talk or have a coffee.
Technical details & Operations
The Bricoboutique in Voiron (38), is a 90 m² shop located in the town centre. Open to all, Bricoboutique offers hardware products (screws, light bulbs, glues), gardening items, work clothes, doors and other materials. The products offered come mainly from donations from companies and communities. More than 80% of the offer is made up of new products. In addition, the collection from individuals is possible after sending photos beforehand. The shop is also complemented by a 300 m² warehouse for storing large materials and by a Facebook page with more than 1500 subscribers. The shop is open 3 days a week and the warehouse is accessible on request for the delivery of the products seen on Facebook, with a commercial vehicle also available for deliveries.
Deployment & Impact
Around 50 to 60 people visit the Voiron Bricoboutique in opening days. The shop is now recognised as an essential shop and some customers come every week. The project has also enabled the recruitment of more than 30 new volunteers, including both working and retired people. Economically, the project has been self-financed since the beginning. The grants obtained have made it possible to finance the rent of the shop, the warehouse, and the commercial vehicle. Since March 2022, the boutique has been promoting social inclusión by welcoming autistic people to participate as volunteers. Activities include tidying up the shop and putting up the prices of the different materials. These activities have shown substantial impact on the participants’ behaviour and social skills.