Reuse – pass it on

Recycling items is great but uses energy and resources to collect, transport and recycle.

Reduce waste by avoiding creating it in the first place, such as not wasting food, using real nappies and stopping unwanted mail.

Reuse items for alternative purposes, repair them or donate them.

Turn organic waste into compost to use in your garden as a soil improver.

Instead of throwing usable unwanted furniture and household appliances away, you can arrange to have suitable items collected and re-used by local furniture reuse projects.

Furniture and appliances collected by these groups are provided at low cost to members of the community on restricted incomes. ‘Engage in Alcombe’ has a dual pricing system so everyone can buy furniture for reuse.

Only reusable furniture and appliances can be accepted, although in some cases minor repairs can be undertaken. Items not suitable for reuse can be taken to Somerset’s Recycling Centres or Community Recycling Sites or can be collected for a fee, which you can arrange with your local council customer services.

Details for reuse groups in Somerset are shown below.

Mendip

FurnEquip (Glastonbury) Unit 7, The Beckery, Mill Lane, Glastonbury, BA6 9NX
Phone 01458 831188

Wednesdays only – 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm

Sedgemoor

Regrettably Sedgemoor Furniture Store closed on 31 August 2017. Please consider using other charity outlets below (quality items for fundraising) or you may like to use online giveaway networks.

South Somerset

FurniCare (Yeovil) 32 Goldcroft, Yeovil, BA21 4DH
Phone 01935 433416
office@furnicare.co.uk

Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
Closed Bank Holidays, Saturdays and Sundays

Taunton Deane

Furnitrust (Home Furniture Services Trust) Former Priorswood Library, Eastwick Road, Taunton, TA2 7HD
Phone 01823 253053
info@furnitrust.org.uk

Tuesday to Friday 9.30am to 3.15pm
Closed Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays

West Somerset

Engage Furniture Reuse Project Ground Floor, Alcombe Village Hall, Marshfield Road, Alcombe, TA24 6AQ
Phone 01643 707484

Tuesday to Friday 9.30am to 5.00pm
Saturday 10am to 2pm
Closed Monday and Sunday and Bank Holidays

What type of items do the groups accept?

A whole range of furniture and household items, including electrical appliances, can be accepted, but you will need to contact your local reuse group to check if they can reuse your item. Items must be in reasonable condition, and furniture such as sofas must be made of the suitable fire resistant material now required by law.

For a list of items accepted by the Furniture reuse groups, please use the links below.

Accepted furniture
Accepted electricals
Accepted miscellaneous items

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:

Bridgwater Freecycle
Chard Freecycle
Chard, Beaminster and Bridport Freegle
Frome Freecycle
Minehead Freecycle
Shepton Mallet, Wells and Street Freecycle
Taunton Freecycle
Taunton UK Upcycling
Wedmore Freecycle
West Somerset Clutter Busters
Yeovil Freecycle

For links to the national organisations and other local groups around the UK see Freecycle and Freegle

Alternatively, look up your local area Facebook “buy and sell” page.

If you are an active Freecycle, Freegle or similar group in Somerset and are not listed, please email us and we would be pleased to include you on the list.

Under slogan buy it or bring it, just don’t bin it, the Reuse Shop at Taunton’s Priorswood recycling centre opened in 2013 to offer furniture, sports equipment, kitchenware and much more at great prices seven days a week 8am-4pm. Find it at the Crown Industrial Estate, Priorswood, Taunton TA2 8QY, or phone 07985 438897 to ask about specific items.

Please note:

When materials are deposited at recycling sites, they become the property of site contractor Viridor. Separated materials are sent for recycling or reuse. Waste that cannot be recycled is currently landfilled.

Due to safety considerations, lack of adequate space and traffic access limitations, items deposited at most recycling sites cannot be taken by or sold to site users.

Most sites have a licensed reuse merchant, with whom special arrangements have been made to reclaim reusable items and sell them. Details are available at each site.

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 free collection of unwanted furniture and electrical items to raise funds. Contact them on 0844 248 9122 or visit BHF.org.uk for queries or to arrange a collection.

St Margaret’s Hospice can offer 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, though 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 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.

Ask your local charity shop if they are interested in clean reusable bubble wrap or packaging material for wrapping sale goods.

To find your nearest charity shop outlet, see the Charity Retail Association website.

Scrapstores are a great resource allowing unwanted materials to be reused.  Businesses can donate clean, safe unwanted materials (such as foam off-cuts, textiles and plastic lids).  Scrapstores sell on these materials at a low cost to schools and community groups for reuse in arts and craft projects.

There are three scrapstores in Somerset:

Clowns Scrapstore
Minehead Eye, Minehead, TA24 5BJ
01643 707190

Children’s Scrapstore Taunton
Temporarily closed. For up to date details, please visit their website.
email: lisahunt@childrensscrapstore.co.uk
Facebook: TheCommunityScrapstore

Yeast Scrapstore  Glastonbury
Unit 7 Dyehouse Lane, Glastonbury, BA6 9LZ
01458 832345
Email: info@yeastscrapstore.co.uk
Facebook: YeastScrapstore

Yeovil Scrapstore and Community Resource Service
The Community Resource Centre, 27 Market Street, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1HZ

01935 472407
email: scrapstore@thehubyeovil.co.uk

And outside Somerset county:

The Childrens Scrapstore, Weston-super-Mare
The Motex Centre, Winterstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 3YW
01934 416286
Facebook: childrensscrapstorenorthsomerset

There are independent scrapstores all over the UK – see: Scrapstores UK website

Instead of throwing them away, many everyday items can find a new use in the garden.

This is not an exhaustive list but some tips include:

  • Reuse plastic bottles as mini greenhouses to protect tender plants or half bury and use as a water reservoir during the drier months
  • Dry and reuse crushed egg shells around seedlings to protect them from slugs and snails (these will need replacing after it has rained). Coffee grounds are a good deterrent too
  • Use loo roll tubes, yoghurt pots or old fruit trays as containers for seedlings
  • Reuse plastic tubs on the tops of plant canes as eye protectors
  • Use old carpet (preferably natural fibre), sheets of newspapers or lawn cuttings as a mulch or weed suppresser around established plants or when you are establishing a new flower bed
  • Use plastic bottles as home-made bird feeders or bird scarers
  • Reuse old panes of glass to make a cold frame to protect tender seedlings
  • Reuse broken crockery, such as mugs, in the bottom of pots as crocks to help with drainage
  • Line a hanging basket with an old woolly jumper
  • Use cold wood ash (not ash from coal fires) to feed plants – the ash is a natural source of potassium
  • Make leaf-mould every autumn from fallen leaves, which break down into superb potting compost
  • Use old carpet as a ‘lid’ for a compost heap
  • Source or donate unwanted garden tools through Freecycle or Freegle groups – or groups like Tools for Self Reliance or The Tools Shed Project may accept donations of good quality garden or building tools
  • Ask your local garden centre if they accept old plastic flower pots for recycling
  • Finally, make the most of the rain which falls in your garden by saving it in a water butt – you can buy water butts through our home composting offer

Tools for Self Reliance website
Tool Shed Project

Charity fundraisers who collect or deliver large quantities of milk bottle tops (washed clean and free of any paper, rubber or foil inserts or labels) can contact recycling firm GHS Recycling Ltd.

A swap shop is like a cashless bring-and-buy sale. It sometimes has other names “bring and take”, “give or take days”, “free for all” or “Freecycle days”.

Participants do not need to being anything in order to take away goods, and vice versa. However, you may want to limit the number of free items taken per person to avoid abuse from traders looking for cheap items to sell on. Additional items can be sold to participants at your event for a nominal price.

This is a great way for a community to come together, and for local groups to raise their profile. You can use this as a fund-raising idea by asking for donations, charging an entry fee, or selling additional items above the agreed limit for free items.

For more details, download how to run a swap shop.

There are additional tools below to help you organise your event:

Template press release for Freecycle day courtesy of Wedmore Green Group
Risk assesment template (PDF) or Risk assessment template (Word document)
How to make a risk assessment rating courtesy of Somerset County Council
Event poster template version 1 – no electricals or duvets
Event poster template version 2 – add your own exclusions

To use the event poster templates, simply fill in the form boxes for

  • the name of your group and the event
  • the day and date of your event
  • the time of your event
  • the address of the venue
  • on version 2 only, add the items you wish to exclude
  • your web address if you have one at the bottom of the page

If you are using Adobe Reader, you will not be able to save the completed poster, but you can print it. If you have Adobe Acrobat you should be able to save and print.

A swishing party is a fun way to update your wardrobe for free. It is easy to do and it can be as big or small as you want, from a small group of friends to a bustling community event. You choose.

How to hold your own swishing party

Like swap shops (see above), swishing events are great way for a community to come together and for local groups to raise their profile. You can use this as a fund-raising idea by asking for donations, charging an entry fee, or selling additional items above the agreed limit for free items.

Here is a great guide from Alzheimer’s Society to start fund-raising:

Organising a jumble sale