Reuse shop is a “common sense solution” to reducing waste

Barkers Lane tidy tip Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)

Opening a reuse shop at Bedford’s Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) is a “common sense solution” petitioners have claimed.

Clapham Cars

Borough councillors heard on Wednesday (7 February) that reuse shops reduce waste and landfill requirements, and provide a place for serviceable items that are no longer wanted.

Marilyn Leask, presenting the petition, told Full Council: “Somebody I spoke to today said they’re still using the high chair they got from the tip before this [Recycling Centre].

“Apparently, there was a reuse kind of facility in the old tip and this high chair is still in use.

“And other people who I’ve spoken to talk quite fondly about the bargains they’ve got at the tip previously,” she said.

Ms Leask said she first came across reuse shops in Devon.

“So what is a reuse shop,” she said. “It’s a shed with shelves that sells stuff that can be reused. There are very many different models and it might be staffed by volunteers or might be run by tip staff.”

The reuse shop at the tip in Ware was used as an example.

“There’s a point where you drop the stuff off that you think can be resold, it’s as simple as that. Drive in, drop off and off you go, and the people responsible for it sort it, price it and sell it, so that’s how it works,” she said.

“No doubt you’ll do a feasibility study and check, but we imagine that they’re savings for the council. There will be much less waste to be disposed of,” she said.

Ms Leask said as well as local families being able to get stuff “very cheaply”, groups, such as Scouts and craft groups, could also benefit from the donations.

Cllr Lucy Bywater (Green, Castle & Newnham ) said: “We are all seeing too much good and often brand new stuff being thrown into the large containers at Barker’s Lane, it’s a waste of resources.

“We’re in a cost of living crisis, but even if we weren’t in a cost of living crisis, there are always people who can’t afford those basic things, items of furniture, toys, even DIY materials.

“I’ve seen great big bits of plasterboard being chucked and you think that could be used for someone blocking their fireplace or whatever they need to do.

“And people are going down to [stores] and buying new. So, we need to close this loop, we have to divert stuff from the waste stream.

“This is one simple solution that would help Bedford towards being a circular economy,” she said.

A motion for the council to investigate reuse facilities with the view to setting up a facility at Barker’s Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre was passed by members.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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