Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A little Give and Take

Last year we took part in Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's Slim Your Bin project, to see if we could reduce our household waste. A spin-off from taking part in the project has been getting involved with the Zero Waste sub-group of our local Transition Town organisation, Transcoco.

One of the group's particular successes has been instigating regular 'Give and Take' days in Corsham and Box. They're a bit like a good old fashioned Jumble Sale, except no money changes hands. You turn up on the day, give stuff you don't want any more, and you take away anything that takes your fancy. Remember the three Rs mantra - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle? The Give and Take days have got all of them covered. Waste is reduced, stuff is reused and all the leftovers at the end of the morning are carefully recycled by the Zero Waste volunteers.

Although I'd been along to previous Give and Take days, last weekend's was the first one where I'd helped out  as a volunteer.



My first instruction on arriving was to get rid of my bag immediately. The cardinal rule of a Give and Take day? For heaven's sake don't leave your handbag (or anything else you don't want to be snapped up by an eager 'Taker') in the hall but hide it out of sight in one of the adjoining rooms!

With tables put out, and signs indicating where people should put their unwanted goodies, an eager queue builds up well before opening time.

And then the hoards descend. If things look a little sparse at the beginning, it doesn't take long for the tables to fill up.


Housey stuff


Books, books and more books...

Bric-a-brac - it was a good morning
if you were looking out for Christmas decorations.


Or a loo seat...

If you are not sure whether it is actually true that one man's trash is another's treasure, then this is the place to dispel all such doubts. One of my favourite moments of the morning was when a never-been-used, not-entirely-to-all-tastes, Christmas themed cruet set appeared on the housewares table. The donor confessed in hushed tones that it was an unwanted gift. Within minutes someone else was gasping with delight at the very sight of Santa salt and his reindeer pepper, and he had been lovingly rehomed.

One of other beauties of the event is that the constant stream of 'givers' over an hour and a half means that each time you stroll around the hall the scene is different; there are new items to see, and this holds the audience, many of whom do several circuits of the tables. Even the most avowed declutterer would find it to resist taking a little something home with them. Especially when you know that if it transpires that you really didn't need it after all you can just bring it to the next Give and Take day...

(And if you're wondering, I broke even and brought as many items home as I took, all of which have been used already!)


18 comments:

  1. What a brilliant idea. I love schemes like freegle and swaps but these can seem a bit of a faff. Your scheme has everything on site and so much more travel friendly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is really one of the easiest ways of getting rid of stuff!

      Delete
  2. I'm curious - is there a rule that you can take as many items as you bring, or is it unlimited?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No rules. The more that is taken, the better as it means there's less for the organisers to recycle at the end.

      Delete
  3. We have something sort of similar in some towns in the US. There are weekends where you can put stuff out for the taking on the street edge. People will park their cars and stroll a neighborhood, picking through the treasures. This is entertainment as well as finds new homes for the unwanted stuff.

    Now, I'm curious, what did you take back home with you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to reveal what I took over the weekend!

      Delete
  4. What a great idea! But you do need to tell us what you got :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I simply love this idea, and seeing the City of Sydney's motto is 'zero waste' I think I might see if they would get on board. They do a e waste collection day, but I bet this 'give and take' idea would work well, sort of like freecycle but with a venue... or like donating to an op shop, but not everything (seems) sell-able!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great fun - you should see if you could get them on board with it!

      Delete
  6. I would to participate in something like this. However, the challenge would be to not leave with MORE things than I came with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a challenge. I'm still decluttering, so I had to rein myself in!

      Delete
  7. We picked up dining room chairs at one of the Give & Takes a few years' ago. We were delighted because they matched the chairs we already had. On our way out of the Community Centre we even bumped into the couple who had given the chairs - they were so pleased someone had wanted them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are the chances of that - finding matching chairs! Great stuff!

      Delete
  8. It sounds great. I had been thinking of suggesting something similar to our transition group.

    Sometimes people have things they no longer want, but feel are too valuable to give away or too bulky to transport. This is great for a charity garage sale, where anyone with unwanted goods they wish to sell pays £5 to be included on the garage sale map. The map is then sold in the schools or local shops for 50p, raising a bit of money for charity. It is a really social event as families wander around the neighbourhood looking for bargains and chatting with their neighbours on route.

    Like you say it reduces things being thrown away, it encourages people to spend their money locally on second-hand goods, it raises money for charity and it is a great social event. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right to point out that it's a social event too. There was lots of chatting and laughter and people bumping into friends.

      Delete