Recycling is great, but reducing and reusing is even better.
Reduce waste by avoiding creating it in the first place, buying differently and buying fewer new things.
Reusing items, for their original purpose or a new purpose, gives them a new lease of life and helps us reduce waste.
Simply giving or receiving ‘passed on’ items – borrowing or for keeps – helps us both reduce and reuse.
Depending on the interests of your community group and the space available, you may wish to focus on particular types of items. For example:
- Toy libraries are great for groups supporting children and young people
- Gardening clubs may be interested in saving money by sharing more expensive tools, like hedge trimmers or shredders
- Hobby and craft clubs share equipment and gadgets to help other enthusiasts
SHARE – a library of things in Frome hosts a wide range of items for members can borrow for a small charge.
SHARE is a partnership project between Frome Town Council, Edventure Frome – School for community enterprise, Cheese and Grain charity and Sustainable Frome.
They have put together resources and support packages for people who are passionate about starting similar sharing initiatives.
Online exchange platforms
Freegle, Freecycle and other free exchange websites are a great way to offer usable items you no longer need, and for others to request them. There are many established local groups in Somerset with thousands of active members – they are worth joining.
Local free exchange groups in Somerset include:
- Chard, Beaminster and Bridport Freegle
- Chard Freecycle
- Minehead Exmoor Freegle – Exmoor
- Frome Freegle
- Frome Freecycle
- Minehead Exmoor Freegle
- Minehead Freecycle
- Shepton Mallet, Wells and Street Freegle
- Shepton Mallet, Wells and Street Freecycle
- Taunton Freegle
- Taunton Freecycle
- West Somerset Clutter Busters
- Yeovil Freegle
- Yeovil Freecycle
Alternatively, look up your local area’s Facebook “buy and sell” page.
By donating or buying from charity shops you are contributing to reducing and reusing, as well as saving money.
Whether it is clothes, furniture, bric-a-bric or electricals, charity shopping or donating also generates much needed income for good causes.
A number of charity shops sell donated good quality furniture alongside bric-a-brac, books and clothing to raise much needed funds.
The British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical store in Taunton can offer a free collection of unwanted furniture and electrical items to raise funds. Contact them on 0844 248 9122 or visit British Heart Foundation for queries or to arrange a collection. Dorothy House Hospice Care and a furniture shop in Frome.
St Margaret’s Hospice can offer a free collection of furniture, electrical items (not white goods), bedding and linens, crockery, clothing, ornaments, bric-a-brac and other items, if they are of good quality and in working order, through their central booking number 01935 410126.
Most charity shops sell everyday items such as bric-a-brac, CDs, clothing, DVDs and toys, so please consider donating your unbroken and unwanted items to a charity shop rather than sending them to a landfill.
A number of charities also collect items like foreign currency, mobile phones, printer cartridges, and stamps which are recycled or refurbished to raise funds.
To find your nearest charity shop outlet, see the Charity Retail Association website.
You may also be interested in Local Furniture Reuse Organisations which collect some reusable furniture, appliances and miscellaneous items to help people in need.
Businesses can donate clean, safe unwanted materials (such as foam off-cuts, textiles and plastic lids). Scrapstores sell these materials at a low cost to schools and community groups for reuse in arts and crafts projects.
Scrap stores in Somerset:
Address: The Community Resource Centre, 27 Market Street, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1HZ
Phone: 01935 472407
And outside Somerset County:
Address: The Motex Centre, Winterstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 3YW
Phone: 01934 416286