Rubbish or treasure?

Image of Juliet, one of our reuse volunteers at our Avonmouth Reuse shop

One person's rubbish is another's treasure

Juliet, one of our reuse volunteers, tells us why she decided to join the team and explains how things come to the shop and the joy of seeing one person’s rubbish going on to a second life.

Since the start of this strange time, we find ourselves in, we’ve all been spending more time than ever at home. With many people having a clear-out or sprucing up gardens there was a lot of unloved, unwanted items looking for a new home. Unfortunately, all the charity shops were closed so there seemed nowhere to take it all.

One of the first places to open up again was our local Household Reuse and Recycling Centre in Avonmouth. I headed there as soon as I could and joined a short queue of others with the same idea to dump some of my stuff. Whilst in this queue I read a sign advertising a newly opened onsite shop and popped in to find out more.

If you have not already discovered this place, then I recommend you make a note of the opening times and pop in some time as it is full of treasure!

So impressed by the shop, I decided to become a volunteer to support this venture. I joined a small team volunteering once a week to discover how we can prevent more things from ending up being wasted. I have always been a fan of the saying ‘one person’s rubbish, is another person’s treasure’ and when we no longer like, want, or have space for an item, why not pass it on for it to find a new home?

How does the reuse shop work?

Dedicated staff at the recycling centre will direct you to an area where you can drop off goods you feel deserve a second life. These items will then be put in containers for 72 hours quarantine, before being sorted out by a team of staff and volunteers – washed, polished, checked, and tested to get them ready for reselling.

You will find an amazing array of items at bargain prices including televisions, videos, and vacuum cleaners. Alongside a variety of furniture, household items, bric-a-brac, pots of paint, tools, tiles, and so much more. All electrical goods are given a PAT test and function test too so you can be sure they work. There is a constant flow of things coming in and going out, the stock changes all the time.

Since opening, we have saved literally tons of items and been able to donate many items not sold to local charities. Even if you don’t have anything to drop off you can still visit the Reuse shop, regardless of what number plate you have, to see the bargains on offer.

Please note, to avoid disappointment, at the moment the shop opening hours are 10 am-3 pm 7 days a week. You must wear a mask, social distancing is in place – only 6 people are allowed in the shop at one time and there is a one-way system. There is hand sanitiser available on arrival, and always a friendly face to welcome you and help with any questions.

Check out the Bristol Waste Reuse Shop on social media – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Or visit the Reuse section on the website.

So, why volunteer?

Whether you are wanting to gain some work experience, have a gap in your working life, or are perhaps retired with more time on your hands, this is an ideal time to volunteer. You may even find yourself in the role of carer for a close relative that absorbs a lot of your time and energy, but you still need the stimulus of being involved in something else to keep your mind active.

Volunteering is a great way to use and develop your skills, interact with people, boost your confidence, become inspired, and make a real difference in your local community.

I am particularly interested in recycling and reducing waste, so by volunteering at the Reuse shop I feel proud that I am making a difference and improving things for the future.

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