Whilst delivering my offspring to school this morning, I was pretty disappointed to see several lovely sofas dumped out in the rain and left to fester. One of which being a lush little velvet number that would happily have taken home if I’d had a van, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Low income families regularly struggle to furnish their homes – especially now pots of money for emergency loans and social funds are pretty much empty – and a low-cost or free sofa, or any other bit of household goodness can make a major difference to someone who simply can’t foot the bill themselves.
I personally have never owned one bit of new furniture, and im pretty proud of it. The working class ‘mend and make do’ ethic was drilled into me long before it was hip, and i have looked on sadly as ‘vintage’ has gone up in price while the majority of, less trendy, furniture is doomed to landfill. There’s a lot more we can do to share the wealth in this area.
There are plenty of solutions that we here at Kecks heartily approve of – the majority of which being Bristol based as we are here too – but a little bit of research, and im sure you’ll turn up some groovy people striving to save the planet.
First off, the amazingly philanthropic Freecycle network http://www.uk.freecycle.org/
This online listings service enables those with items to get rid of, or in need, to advertise their need / item. It’s all stuff given away for free, and I have seen listings for toys, furniture, food and even scientific equipment. The usual requirement is that you collect items yourself, swiftly (a gesture of thanks in the form of wine or cake is commonplace), but otherwise its free. Check it out – but beware, it can be super addictive. Gumtree also has a small freebie section – but it aint regulated, so be careful.
For those with clothes to shift, the charity shop is often the best way, or clothes banks -I’m genuinely shocked that i regularly see big bags of clothes being chucked in the bin, and that we still have to say ‘Take it to the charity shop’, surely it’s common sense? Ah well.. You can also join forces with others and donate en mass, sometimes to earn a bit of cash. The following directory contains companies who will pay for larger collections of clothes / textiles, nb: I can’t guarantee their green ethic or fair trade standing, but they are a route away from landfill. So if you have large amount, or are wholesaler, check this out: http://www.textile-recycling.org.uk/memlist.htm
Bristol people! As you can expect from the unapologetically lefty liberal types of Brizzle, there are a number of really forward thinking recycling projects in action:
1) Collecteco: http://www.collecteco.co.uk/: Collect anything from one bit of furniture to who shops worth, no collection too big or small. they put the stuff into the rather exciting sounding ‘Crysalis’ and resource it to things like schools and charities. Cool eh?
2) Sofa project: http://www.sofaproject.org.uk/: Bristol stalwart and saviour of many a student and single parent. They take in sofas, oven fridges and such essentials and turn them over cheaply – sometimes high-end, often a bit worn, but all for a good budget. The big green vans are a common sight round ‘ere.
3) Happytat: https://www.facebook.com/HappytatBristol : newly opened, very Stokes Croft shop packed with VERY reasonably priced things – often lots of quirky and upcycled (yay) furniture. I love the place and get lots of clothes from them. Last time I went in there was a big metal rhino. No shizzle.
4) Bristol Wood Recycling Project: http://www.bwrp.org.uk/ : Another not for profit enterprise recycling wood of all forms into everything from firewood to amazing carved goods – on their website today, old fire station doors, awesome!
5) Bristol Bike Project: http://www.thebristolbikeproject.org/: being a self-proclaimed ‘cycle city’ Bristol makes good use of this really prolific project. You can get your bike repaired, hire one, buy one, and in some cases earn a bike from this lot. reducing, reusing and recycling whilst also reducing car use. Bravo guys, I love ya!
There are loads more, but that’ll do for now.
I’d love to hear about any projects you know about are involved in – especially ones to do with clothes!
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