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Researcher Saman Amir: If the residents of Nyköping buy less that's a good thing

If "Cirkulära Öster" ("The Circular East") can lead to that the people of Nyköping are consuming less, and that less goods are being produced, it’s good for the environment, according to a researcher. And that may lead to new job opportunities as well.

The project focuses on sustainable consumption. The aim is to try to promote and find value in things that are no longer useful. And that’s good, says Saman Amir, who is doing a doctorate in circular economy at the Stockholm School of Economics.

"Cirkulära Öster" ("The Circular East") is the pilot project that aims to change Nyköping's economy in the district "Öster". The idea is to create a sustainable business environment.

It is when the linear chain – to buy and to throw away – is broken that the circular economy really takes off. The Earth does not support excessive extraction of virgin materials that are consumed quickly. In a functioning circular economy, production and consumption are in balance with nature, explains Saman Amir.

"We have to reduce our consumption and promote- repair and reuse", she says.

The project in the district Öster is a start of a circular economy, according to Saman Amir.

Making something new out of old things, so-called "upcycling", is a lower level of circular economy. In a higher form, it is not needed to the same extent. The goods that are produced should preferably not end up in trash at all and the upcycling process will then become redundant, she explains.

To reduce consumption, consumers need to consider their purchases carefully, focus on good quality and ensure that products are repaired if they fall apart or broken. Something that is common in poorer countries, or as it was in Sweden in the past.

Sweden will of course hopefully not become poorer, but that less will be consumed, and fewer things produced, and that they maintain higher quality and have better designs, Saman Amir points out.

"It has come to my knowledge that this project focuses on design and craftsmanship. It is also a great way to create new jobs", she says.

A locally produced jacket with high quality that is worn often and repaired when it is torn is sustainable and won’t burden too much on the earth's resources. A jacket that must be shipped to Sweden and where the material is of low quality won’t last long and will perhaps only be used a few times. That is obviously bad for the environment.

In a circular economy, design and craftsmanship have a high status.

"The project in Öster in can be linked to social innovation and creation of new jobs. If the project is successful, it could lead to a change in Nyköping's workforce, and that the city is getting more people skilled in craftsmanship and design", says Saman Amir.

This is a translation of the original article in Swedish in Södermanlands Nyheter. You can read it here (subscribers only).