La Déchetèque is aInternet platform for the recovery of materials through reuse. It is a one-stop shop where you can find and make available second-hand materials. In short, it invites individuals as well as companies to use its future marketplace and become actors of the circular economy in Mauritius. Meeting with Stéphanie Bouloc, the founder.
Hello Stéphanie, what made you decide to create the Déchetèque?
A field observation that made me realize that there were forgotten materials that could still be reused, in companies or in gorges, in garages or in private yards, and that on the other hand there were artists, NGOs, inhabitants and companies, all eager to find materials that were unavailable in Mauritius. It was therefore obvious to me that these two worlds had to be connected, it’s common sense to connect the owners of deposits and those who are looking for them. Of course the knowledge of the saturation of Marechicose, and of the waste management in the world in general present in my mind, were an additional pretext to alarm me to find one of the possible solutions. Moreover, I have 15 years of experience in the circular economy, set up recycling centres in France, and have always been involved in sustainable development, so it was an obvious choice. But the real trigger to take action was winning the Climate Launch Pad competition in 2020 in Mauritius, an unexpected award as the projects alongside me were so revolutionary and technological. It was therefore a personal commitment to see the project through to the end and to make it a start-up in response to the interest aroused by the jury, the companies and the artists we met beforehand.
How can users benefit from the platform?
You can be a “seller user”, or a “buyer user”, or simply come and look at what products are available on the platform, before you register. If you are a company you pay an annual access subscription, if you are an individual it is free. In any case, you have to join the platform to be a member and be able to make transactions. The idea is to make reusable materials available, such as construction site scraps, leftover tiles, pieces of sheet metal, or stock that has been dormant for too long, in order to enhance its value by offering it to someone else who will have a use for it at a lower price than new material. It is not intended to offer sports or leisure items, bottles, cardboard, paper or fabric. There are already officially registered collectors and recyclers who have created the corresponding channels.
In the description of the Déchetèque, we are told of agility, innovation, speed and the creation of such a tool requires skills as well as technical knowledge to respect this vision. What digital means have been implemented?
All the digital part was realized by Clea and Samuel Mamet. They have done a wonderful job. Not being in the IT business, they had to decipher my words, understand my vision and my requirements to offer the solution that is online today.
“(…) the economic viability of reuse is a sine qua non for its generalisation”. A platform such as the Déchetèque can undoubtedly make a difference. What are the next steps in its development?
Let me enjoy the online launch already! That’s a year’s work to get to this point. But I obviously have a broader vision than the marketplace, which is a concrete circular economy tool accessible to all. Its vocation is to become an unavoidable showcase of material deposits for Mauritius and then for the Indian Ocean which has similar problems, and then to develop as a place of information, sharing, resources, expertise, collaboration and experiences around the circular economy