A good life for everyone with minimal use of resources: We believe in a future where a highly sustainable circular economy creates a constant level of prosperity for everybody, measured not by material parameters but by happiness and contentment.
To promote mindfulness with human beings and resources: We stand up against our current throw-away society, its waste and exploitation of human and material resources. We link repair and re-use and its waste-reducing and resource-saving patterns of production and consumption with a social goal: providing jobs for people with difficulties in the labour market (for example long-term unemployed or disabled).
We connect, consult and inform stakeholders about re-use: To promote and anchor re-use and repair in Austrian and European politics, administration, economy and waste management, we use multiple tools – lobbying, stakeholder dialogues, networking, public relations and events. We consult initiatives, NGOs, enterprises, stakeholders and decision-makers who wish to establish a circular approach in their field of action. Together with our umbrella association RREUSE (Recycling and Reuse of European Social Enterprises), we advocate for European politics which promote re-use and repair by multiple measures on a long-term scale.
Founded in 2004, RepaNet’s actions are based on the strong belief that our society as a whole needs to shift towards a circular economy model. In extending the lifespan of products through re-use and repair, waste of resources can be prevented and waste can be avoided. This needs to be anchored in politics – and we are lobbying for it on the Austrian as well as European level. Together with RREUSE, we successfully lobbied for a European Waste Directive with a clear 5-step waste hierarchy with re-use as the second step (below waste prevention and above recycling). Another success: In the 2018 revision of the European Waste Framework Directive, the role of social enterprises active in re-use and repair was significantly strengthened (read more).
As the re-use- and repair-network Austria, we represent social enterprises active in this sector. Most of our members are social enterprises working in reuse and repair, notably with textiles, electronic equipment or furniture. The efforts of social enterprises in this specific „green“ sector are double: ecological and social. Our annual activity report highlights the achievements of our members (read the report 2019, in German with English summary). In 2019, the entire Austrian re-use sector was able to save more than 262,000 CO2 equivalents; 43% of this achievement are to be attributed to RepaNet members who created approximately 1.500 jobs.
In addition to representing social enterprises, we are connecting initiatives active in the DIY-repair-sector (e.g. repair cafés) and helping interested individuals or groups to set up new ones. We are active in multiple projects such as the award-winning BauKarussell (re-use in the construction/demolition sector) and Let’sFIXit (bringing repair culture to schools).
According to the European Environment Agency, „many countries have initiated reuse networks that offer high-quality second-hand products to consumers, with Flanders and Austria as front-runners“ (EEA Report No.4/2018: Waste prevention in Europe – policies, status and trends in reuse 2017]. Furthermore, the European Commission report („The Environmental Implementation Review 2019 – Country Report Austria“) highlights Repanet as „[the biggest] social enterprise initiative“ in Austria. Obviously, our message hits the mark, and we will keep on standing up for the realisation of a circular economy by supporting re-use and repair on many levels.