Reuse Shop by Bristol Waste

Bristol’s Waste's first ever reuse shop diverts tonnes of items from the waste stream so they can be reused instead by local residents, ranging from bicycles and mobility aids to tested electrical items and paint that is remanufactured.

1,000
Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

Bristol Waste Company, which is wholly owned by Bristol City Council, runs two household reuse and recycling centres in the city. They also deliver all residential refuse and recycling collections as well as street cleansing and a low-cost, eco-friendly commercial services to businesses.

They began their reuse work in April 2018 when they started collecting bikes and mobility aids at Recycling Centres and donating them to project partners. Since then their Reuse team has salvaged over 77 tonnes of material from the waste stream, including 22 tonnes of paint, 25 tonnes of books, over 1,400 bikes and 1,600 mobility aids. At the same time, they have raised more than £5k for charity based on the surplus they generate from this reuse operation.

This year, they opened their first ever reuse shop at the Avonmouth Recycling Centre. The shop diverts good quality, pre-loved items from the waste stream, providing low cost household products, such as televisions, furniture and vacuums, for residents. Their stock is made up of items saved from the scrap heap at the Recycling Centres in St Phillips and Avonmouth. The money raised from selling the items goes back into Reuse at Bristol Waste and a third of the profit goes directly to charity.

They take electrical items which are in working order (at the moment they cannot do repairs on items which don’t work). They PAT test all electrical items and function test too – this ensures items are safe to use and in good working order.

They also work with Community Repaint, providing them with tonnes of unwanted paint which they can use to create remanufactured paint under their “ReColour” brand.

What have you learnt that others will find most useful?

  • Experiment with the concept by first setting up a "pop up" shop so you can learn from residents feedback before opening a permanent shop.
  • Co-locating next to a Recycling Centre improves efficiency in moving items from one place to the next, and provides more opportunities to intercept valuable items in the waste stream.
  • Offering to take electrical items and collecting paint for remanufacturing are a couple of services that are unique to our reuse shop compared with other shops that accept donated items.
  • A reuse shop is a great way to build better relationships with local residents by providing a new and interesting service that encourages people to think differently about waste.
  • A reuse shop is a source of incremental operating profit.

Measures of success?

Tonnes saved from the waste stream. Money raised from surplus from running Reuse shop.

Read more: https://www.bristolwastecompany.co.uk/reuseshop/

Joanna Dainton
Reuse Shop by Bristol Waste