This Nordic company wants you to wear trousers made from trees

You might be surprised by how renewable materials are helping the fashion industry turn over a new leaf.

This Nordic company wants you to wear trousers made from trees
Photo: Stora Enso
Sustainability is a way of life in the Nordics, where everything from hand soap to hotel rooms is labelled eco-friendly. And one Nordic company is going even further in its efforts to shape a better tomorrow.
Once a traditional paper and board company, 800-year-old Stora Enso is now a leading provider of renewable materials. In layman’s terms, that means materials made from sustainable resources instead of materials based on fossil fuels.
“Trees are a renewable raw material. Whenever we harvest trees we plant new ones, promoting a sustainable material that grows year after year,” says Sirpa Välimaa, who manages product development at Stora Enso.
In 2012, the company expanded its portfolio with a new product made from trees that can be used to make textiles.
Known as dissolving pulp, this new raw material is used to create what's known as regenerated cellulosic fibres. And despite the admittedly unstylish name, those fibres can actually be spun into yarn and then woven or knitted into fabrics used to create an array of stylish products.
Indeed, one such fabric — viscose — is a silky material similar to cotton that already accounts for around 7 percent of all the world’s textiles.
Much like cotton, viscose is soft, breathable, and comfortable to wear, meaning that fashion brands around the world are increasingly using it in their collections.
A close up look at cellulosic fibres derived from wood pulp before they are woven into fabric. Photo: Stora Enso
Scandinavian clothing brand Filippa K is one such company Stora Enso has partnered with to tackle “fast fashion”.
The two companies set out to shift the Scandinavian clothing brand’s business away from the fast fashion cycle typically associated with pushing new designs to market as quickly and cheaply as possible. 
“We want to be part of the solution, rather than adding to the problem,” says Elin Larsson, Sustainability Director at Filippa K.
A more “circular economy” aims to promote greater reuse, recycling, and refurbishment of materials, which in turn helps to reduce waste and give consumers maximum value from their purchases.
Larsson explains that in order for Filippa K to adopt this circular economy, the brand needed to switch out the old and search for the new.
“Going forward we need to have a diverse palette of fibres with a mix of materials other than the ones we are using today, but that serve their purpose just as well.”
Many Filippa K designs, such as the shirt pictured above, are made with wood-based fabrics tencel or viscose. Photo: Filippa K
And that’s where renewable materials developed by Stora Enso came into play.
Unlike cotton, which requires huge amounts of water and pesticides to be farmed — a single pair of jeans alone requires 3625 litres of water – the birch trees from which the dissolving pulp is made require much less water to grow. 
For example, the 11,700 litres of water required to make just 1 kg of cotton fabric would produce over 26 kg of wood-based viscose.
Roxana Barbieru, Director Business Development Regenerated Cellulose and MFC at Stora Enso explains that there is growing demand for sustainable textiles by global brand owners, and Stora Enso is committed to providing them with high-quality and renewable raw materials.
“Renewability is important as wood-based textiles can solve many of the challenges the textile industry is facing today.”
While consumers have grown used to paying less to fill their wardrobes, these cheaper garments don’t last and often end up in landfills. It’s been estimated that as much as 95 percent of clothes discarded with domestic waste could be re-worn, reused, or recycled. 
Throughout the cooperation, which concluded in 2016, Filippa K supported Stora Enso’s pursuit to promote dissolving pulp as a renewable raw material in the textile industry.
Larsson adds that working together, Filippa K and Stora Enso were part of the ongoing mission to find a solution to “fast fashion” waste and create a more sustainable model for the fashion industry in the future.
“The collaboration with Stora Enso was about showcasing the different steps, from raw material to ready clothes, and to demonstrate that the whole supply chain can be sustainable,” Larsson adds.
Transparency in the fashion supply chain is of growing importance to consumers who are becoming more concerned about the provenance of the materials used to make the products they buy.
“Consumers want to know the origin of their textiles,” says Välimaa. “They want to know who produced them and in what circumstances and whether the chain is sustainable.”
Barbieru agrees, adding that all Stora Enso’s wood is 100 percent traceable to its forest of origin and that the company makes every effort to ensure that more trees are grown than harvested.
“Every piece of clothing carries a story with it. How it was made, what it’s made of, and how many resources were used to make it. Wouldn’t you want to know that story?”
This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Stora Enso.
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Everything you need to know about buying and selling secondhand in Sweden

There are plenty of reasons to buy and sell secondhand in Sweden: it can save or earn you money in an expensive country, and it's more sustainable than always buying new. Here's what you need to know if you want to get in on the trend, from tax rules to the best apps for sellers and shoppers.

Everything you need to know about buying and selling secondhand in Sweden
Buying or selling used items at a flea market can save or even earn you money. These are the best ways to do it, plus what you need to know about tax and consumer rights. Photo: Faramarz Gosheh/imageb
This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here.
Secondhand shopping is a booming business in Sweden, and flea markets in particular are a favourite summertime activity. But getting involved in buying or selling used items can seem daunting to a newcomer, with everything from commission on sales to tax issues to think about. We've taken a look at six questions and answers which will help you get started.

How can I sell secondhand items online?

If you've got pre-loved items you want to sell in Sweden, there are many options. Which you choose will depend on factors like the amount of time you're willing to put into the sale, where you live, the item's value, and which category it falls into.

Blocket is one of the most popular sites for selling everything from cars to clothes to furniture, where you advertise your item and set a fixed price, paying a fee which depends on the item's category and you can choose to pay extra for things like additional photos or changing the ad. On Tradera, an auction site which also offers fixed price options, it's free to post an ad but they will take a ten percent commission of at least 3 and up to 150 kronor per item sold. A big advantage of these two sites is their popularity; lots of users means a high chance of making a sale.

Two options which are free to post advertisements and where the site does not take a commission are Shpock (which offers both fixed price and auction options, and the idea is that you sell to people in the local area), Citiboard, and American-owned LetGo

Another site which is a bit different is Sellpy: unlike the others, you don't need to set up the advert or communicate with buyers yourself, but instead send off your used items (clothing, electronics, toys and interior decoration) to Sellpy. They then sort through and decide what's worth selling, and set their own prices on their website and via Tradera. While this is the lowest effort option for sellers, the major downside is the lack of control over prices and whether things are put up for sale at all, and the fact Sellpy takes a bigger cut of profits than Blocket, Tradera or Shpock. Sellers get 40 percent of the item's sale price, minus 10 kronor for each item they try to sell. This means that if many of your items fail to sell, you could even end up making a loss.  

The Sellpy warehouse. Photo: Adam Wrafter / SvD / TT

There are also more specialized options, such as Campus Bokhandeln, Bokus and Studentapan where you can buy and sell used textbooks, AllForSale which focuses on furniture and specifically office furniture, or Diskant for musical instruments and equipment.

And lastly, there are a number of Facebook groups dedicated to buying and selling, usually dedicated to certain cities or categories of item, or you could try your luck at advertising your items in a community Facebook group via Facebook Marketplace, which is free to use. For example, expat groups might be a good place to sell your old Swedish textbooks, while a parenting group would be the right place to advertise kid's clothing.

READ ALSO: How to save money despite living in Sweden

How can I sell secondhand items in person, or to a shop?

To sell things in person, the most popular option is to attend an organized loppis or flea market. These are hugely popular in Sweden, and you'll typically pay a small fee to rent a table. You can sell everything from furniture (chairs and lamps are always popular!) and kitchenware to clothes, books, and miscellaneous items. The rules vary from place to place, including whether you need to pre-book a spot or can just turn up, and how much it costs to take part.

There are a few different kinds of loppis: a baklucekloppis is a car-boot sale where you sell things out of your car; a drive-in loppis is the same thing except there's no need to book your spot: and a bordsloppis or torgloppis are markets where you sell things from a table, and they take place indoors and outdoors respectively. Check websites such as or to find one near you.

The top tips for success are the same as at flea markets in any country. Get there early, especially if spots aren't designated so that you can get in prime position; lay out your items as attractively as possible (consider bringing a mirror if you're selling lots of clothes, and arrange your items into different categories); smile and greet everyone who walks past. You can prepare by making sure your items are all cleaned and clothes are ironed, bringing packaging materials like newspaper or bubblewrap for any delicate items, and perhaps used plastic or paper bags, and think about how you'll catch people's attention — perhaps with nicely made signs or an unusual item that can serve as a talking point.

An indoor loppis in Stockholm. File photo: Jessica Gow / SCANPIX

Most transactions at flea markets take place using the payment app Swish, so make sure you have that set up on your phone and have your number on display to make it as easy as possible for your customers. It's worth being aware that not everyone has Swish and the app does sometimes experience technical difficulties, so bring along a float of change as well so you can accept cash.

Another option for secondhand selling is to find a shop where you're able to sell your own items. These are rare in Sweden, since it's more common to donate used items to a charity shop if you're not selling them yourself at a flea market. But a few do exist, such as Loppis Lounge in Malmö, where you can hire a spot for your items to be put on sale. Prices start at 85 kronor for one shelf for a week, plus 15 percent of your profits are taken as commission. 

If you have items that are a bit more specialized, for example valuable ornaments, books or furniture, it's worth contacting an antiques shop (antikvariat) to see if they'd be happy to buy them.


What tax issues do I need to know about as a secondhand seller in Sweden?

If you're selling your own belongings secondhand, you're allowed to make a profit of up to 50,000 kronor each year without needing to pay tax on it (the reasoning being that you paid tax on the items when they were first bought). If you really catch the loppis bug and start buying things to sell on at a market, or start making more than 50,000 kronor from your own used items, you should look into the taxes that apply.

The basic rule is that if you're selling your own items, profit over 50,000 kronor is taxed as income from capital, but you can deduct the purchase cost (or a standard deduction of 25 percent of the sale price if the purchase price is unknown). But be aware that some items are considered exceptions to this, such as collectable items, artwork and more — see a full list here. For those who buy and sell on for profit, you should pay tax on all your profit, which is usually classed as having your own business. Find out more on the Swedish Tax Agency's website.

Photo: Aline Lessner/

Where can I buy secondhand online?

All the online sites mentioned above can be used for buying as well as selling: Blocket, Tradera, Shpock, Sellpy, Citiboard, Letgo and Facebook Marketplace. Note that eBay doesn't operate in Sweden; it owns Tradera, so you can either shop there or use eBay's sites in other countries (but make sure to check shipping fees!).

Which site you choose to use will depend on a few things: if you're looking for a large item such as furniture, you might prefer a site with a local focus such as Blocket's city sections or Shpock to make delivery or pick-up easier, and if it's a high value item you might look for an option which allows you to communicate with the seller and ask questions before buying.

Where can I buy secondhand in person?

Some of Sweden's major secondhand chains are run by charities, including the Salvation Army's Myrorna, Stadsmissionen (run by the homelessness charity of the same name), and the Röda Korset shops run by the Red Cross. Their stores vary in size, and typically sell a range of items including clothes and accessories, sports equipment, books, furniture and household items, all donated.

For lovers of vintage clothes, Stockholm is a haven, with the SoFo (meaning 'south of Folkungagatan') area of the Södermalm island home to the densest concentration of vintage clothes stores. But you'll also find vintage stores up and down the country, and not only for clothes: look out for antique and secondhand stores selling a whole range of items.

Check out the comprehensive guide to pre-loved shopping in Skåne, Blekinge, Halland and Småland. And the ReTuna mall in Eskilstuna is supposedly the world's first entirely secondhand shopping centre, so head there to browse over 200 shops.

READ ALSO: 15 Stockholm vintage shops to lose yourself in

Myrorna. Photo: Nora Lorek / TT

What are my rights as a secondhand shopper in Sweden?

If you're shopping in a secondhand store, you're covered by Sweden's Consumer Sales Act. This means you still have the right to return items if they are faulty and the shop did not clearly warn you about the defect before the purchase – it is the responsibility of the retailer to ensure goods are in saleable condition and that shoppers are made aware of any problems. 

If on the other hand you simply decide you don't like the item after buying it, you're probably out of luck. Some Swedish retailers have an öppet köp (literally 'open purchase') policy allowing you to return items if you change your mind, but there's no legal requirement to offer it and many secondhand stores don't offer this. You can always ask at the time of purchase.

And you need to be especially careful when buying from a private individual, for example at a loppis or via a classifieds site. The Consumer Sales Act does not apply in these cases, but the Sale of Goods Act does apply, and under that act people are forbidden from selling faulty items. If you're sold a faulty item at a loppis, you need to lodge a complaint with the District Court. Try to have a close look at the item before buying and make sure any defects are factored into the price.

It's always preferable to be completely sure about your items before you buy it, so for any bigger purchases (more expensive furniture, for example), make sure you have a record such as a Swish payment or a receipt, and consider drawing up a contract for any really big buys. You can find contract templates for items such as jetskis, cars, and motorbikes in Swedish here.

READ ALSO: A guide to your consumer rights when shopping in Sweden

Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT