How to Have a Sustainable Sort Out!
About a month ago I was moving house and one thing that was really important to me was that we organised everything in a way that resulted in minimal waste and that we were as sustainable as possible with the whole process. I found out a bunch of useful stuff about where I could donate items that would result in nothing going to waste. Some things I was previously aware of but I learned the extent to which these groups and organisations could help eliminate waste and benefit the community at the same time. Even though for me this discovery came about from moving house, having a good old clear out and sorting out your belongings is something that many of us will be doing over the Christmas break as we make room for new gifts, or just finally have some time over the holidays to sort the house out.
*Most of what I have to share is Newport specific but you can research where these services are available in your local area pretty easily by checking with your local council, looking on social media or my personal fave…having a good google.
So you’re moving house and don’t have room to take the entire contents of your cupboards or fridge/freezer with you, or maybe you’re making room in your cupboards for the hoards of food you’ll accumulate over the Christmas period? Don’t worry it doesn’t have to go to waste.
Food banks play a hugely important role in not only reducing hunger and generally helping to create a more equitable society but they also help stop food waste from entering landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions - food waste is responsible for about 10% of all greenhouse emissions globally!
I visited the central food bank in Newport town centre, they were incredibly friendly and helpful and took my 2 very full bags of food off my hands - including dog food! There are a couple of guidelines you need to follow for example the food must be sealed (i.e. hasn’t been opened before) and they can’t except expired food for obvious reasons so make sure it’s in date. This is particularly useful if you’ve accidentally accumulated tins and dry cupboard food that never got used, or perhaps you never got around to opening that chocolate you received on your birthday or your dog didn’t get on with the food you bought 12 pouches of. I was shocked and frankly slightly ashamed of how much food I found unopened in my cupboards from years gone by that was still in date and ready to use so I was over the moon to find out it could still go to good use!
Here’s where to find it:
Citizens Advice building,
8 Corn St,
Open Tuesday to Friday: 12:00 - 14:00
When we finally got the keys to our new place, we realised before we could move in that we had a whole house of furniture to sort through from the previous owners including sofa’s, beds, mattresses etc. We already had a flat full of furniture to bring with us that was our own and we were pretty attached to and didn’t have room for everything. While you can always sell unwanted items on Facebook marketplace, or take to your local charity shop - some items are just too big to lug around and items like furniture are particularly useful for those looking to start fresh. ‘Don’t Dump Donate Newport’ is a pretty amazing Facebook group I came across a couple of years ago. In essence its an online community group that aims to help those in need by giving the local community the opportunity to donate their unwanted items. Many of the people who use this service have just moved into their own place and have nothing to start them off or have even lost items in fires or flooding. The space is usually full of people donating furniture, children’s toys, bedding etc. You simply post a picture of your item with your postcode (so those who ask for it know where to pick it up from) and let people get in touch with you if they are interested. Strictly no money exchanges hands it’s just passing on your belongings and keeping them in use!
Local Animal Shelters:
Animal shelters are a great place to take your unwanted bedding, duvets, blankets, pillows, cushions and towels as they rely heavily on donations of these items for their animals bedding. Side note - they also take unwanted pet toys and treats! There are a lot of animal shelters around Newport that could use your donations, as an example I was able to drop my bedding off at All Creatures Great and Small animal sanctuary.
Remake Newport recently opened on Skinner Street in the town centre and whether you have a donation to make or not it’s 100% worth a visit. A wonderful combination of Repair Cafe and Lenders Library, Remake acts as a local borrowing network where you can borrow tools, camping supplies, fitness equipment, gardening tools, games, cooking/baking supplies…the list goes on. You can also take your broken items to be repaired or attend workshops that teach you how to fix things yourself - keeping items in use for longer. They are constantly looking for items to add to their library of things and welcome donations. I recently handed over a working sewing machine I no longer used, a metal detector (don’t ask) and some board games.
Bonus, you can also get your refills when you visit as Remake stock a range of our products including washing up liquid, shampoo, conditioner, anti-bac surface spray, laundry liquid and hand soap as well as some other Sero favourite eco-swaps!
The Tip Shop:
Located at Newport's Household Waste Recycling Centre and run by Wastesavers, the tip shop is a Mecca for affordable goodies made up of donations that are in good enough condition to go onto good use. The shop sells furniture, homeware, bric-a-brac, bikes, golf clubs, games etc. and stock is refreshed weekly. The shop relies on donations from people looking to save their items from landfill. They take some surprising stuff off your hands too, for example, as long as it’s half full they’ll take your paint pots! They also take old IT equipment as part of their digital inclusion programme, giving access to people who would not normally be able to afford a computer. I was also able to drop off pots and pans, plates, a desk chair, a set of chest of drawers, books and some dvd’s. It’s worth taking any items you think might be reused even if you’re unsure - the odds are if it’s still useful to someone they will take it! It's also worth noting that you don't need an appointment just to go to the tip shop!