The second-hand sector is on the rise

In 10 years, the number of actors in the recovery and second hand sector has quadrupled. The audience of shops that offer second-hand items has also evolved. This is what Arabelle Rasse, the communication manager of “Ressources”, the federation of companies active in this sector, explains: “Before, only people who had financial problems and who came to buy items at low prices pushed the doors of our stores open. Now we really feel a change in behaviour in general, people are thinking more and more about sustainable consumption. And so they choose the second hand and we have a whole new audience coming into our shops.

A quality label and a necessary professionalization

Faced with this growing interest, the sector must become more professional. This is one of the reasons why the federation “Resources” created the label “Rec’Up”, a label that guarantees the customer a quality of products and services offered by social economy companies. “This public is used to having a whole series of services, delivery service, after-sales service on certain types of products, to find clean objects, well displayed in a nice attractive store. As a result, the entire sector had to become more professional to meet these new demands. Hence the interest of setting up a label to standardize the quality of the products and services offered.

second-hand makeup brush
second-hand makeup brush

The companies honoured with this label undertake to comply with 120 criteria. Authentic specifications. Criteria that cover both the products and services offered but also, for example, a fair price policy (a second-hand product may not, for example, exceed one third of the price of the new item). Today, 44 recycling and second-hand sites in Wallonia and Brussels have the label. Four times more than ten years ago. The associated companies within the federation “Resources” employ 1400 people. 1400 volunteers also regularly come to help.

Books, clothes, dishes, household appliances… but not only.

Example among others, Ecotop in Fleurus. This company recovers, cleans and refurbishes ink cartridges for laser printers. Between 2014 and 2017, about 60,000 cartridges were collected and some 45,000 were remanufactured. Knowing that it takes about 3 litres of oil to make the plastic shell of a cartridge, it represents a saving of 117,000 litres of oil,” explains Yves Hodeige, the director of Ecotop.

For this social economy company, having the Rec’Up label is not insignificant:”This label certifies our quality in the various stages of production of our cartridges, in the collection, sorting and cleaning… It is also a label that we strongly promote to convince our customers that we really have a quality product and a lasting commitment.