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  • What are Reuse Scotland’s aims?
    Our aim is to facilitate local access to local waste; to develop and support opportunities for makers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and anyone else that wants to take advantage of quality stuff that would otherwise have been buried or burnt. We aim to create local jobs, products and opportunities from waste streams, whilst supporting those in need by enabling access to free materials. Our ultimate aim is to develop models for reuse, which are suitable for expansion outside the local area, and to aid other communities benefit from our learnings.
  • How does Pay What You Want work?
    Exactly what it says on the tin. Reuse Scotland SCIO started Pay What You Want across specific areas (books, games, toys, household essentials) to try and keep valuable materials out of landfill, and make sure everyone could benefit from them, regardless of means. This model does not generate enough income to cover its costs and therefore we rely upon increased donations to help support this initiative. Whilst PWYW is a lifeline for many, there are some circumstances when we have to limit how much individuals take. In store, PWYW sales are limited to 5 items per family per day on larger items, to keep things fair and discourage resellers and traders from scooping up everything. It’s all about fairness.
  • I'd like to reserve, or get a price for an item I've seen on Facebook/Instagram
    We only sell items to customers present in our shops, where they are able to assess the condition of the second-hand items they buy. It is not possible to reserve or pay for items over the phone/internet. The Facebook and Instagram photos are a snapshot of what's in-store at 9am each morning. The shop staff are then at work processing stock, assisting customers, or manning the till until the shop closes, and are unable to respond to individual price or stock requests. Our prices are keen, and for many items, substantially less than most charity shops. At the Dunbar Shop, toys, games and books are Pay What You Want so a trip is worthwhile. Check out our FAQ about pricing for more details.
  • How is Reuse Scotland funded?
    Reuse Scotland SCIO receives no external funding and covers operating costs through trading income. After operating costs, any surpluses are reinvested into expanding reuse operations across the region, job creation, and towards local donations of materials and cash to other Third Sector organisations, community groups and schools.
  • How do Reuse Scotland SCIO’s activities benefit the community?
    Reuse Scotland SCIO currently diverts around 1200 tonnes of reusable materials away from landfill each year. Over 30% of the materials we divert are distributed to Charities, Social Enterprises, Community Groups, Schools and to those in need for free. These diversions save East Lothian Council over £100,000 per year in landfill taxes; money which can then be put to other uses. Our organisation is unique and the impact of our work is widespread, enabling hundreds of small organisations to benefit from access to good reusable materials, rather than having to buy new. We are proud to say this work was recognised in 2019 by Lothian Chambers of Commerce when we won the Lothians "Community Impact Award". Reuse Scotland’s activities are also responsible for massive carbon savings, helping ensure our Local Authority can meet the Scottish Government's climate change plans. Our textile project The Big Pick was solely responsible for reducing over 1,000,000 kg of carbon emissions over a 2 year period. We don't just wait for organisations to approach us when they need something. We proactively look for new ways to work with difficult to reuse materials, as can be seen in our Loose Parts Play project which has benefitted over 120 organisations in East Lothian and further afield. Our "FREE Books for Schools" initiative donated over 15,000 "as new" books to East Lothian schools last year. We let the schools come and choose what they want. The savings to these schools compared to buying new was approximately £90,000. Our Pay What You Want initiative removes all financial barriers to accessing Reuse materials. When helping individuals in need we understand how distressing it can be to ask for help (and that many of us are just a pay cheque away from needing support). Therefore we work discretely with all Local Authority and Third Sector organisations to satisfy their client's needs. This support can range from providing clothes to the homeless, working with Criminal Justice teams to support those reintegrating into society, or emergency requests from Health Visitors, Social Care teams and individuals at risk. We also support all Food Banks in the County with regular cash donations, and the promise to support their clients with everyday essentials.
  • "But you get it for free."
    I wish we lived in a different world; one where organisations like ours, with a strong environmental and societal mission, had no costs; no rent, salaries, insurances, vans, diesel, gas, electric, rates, water ...... But we do have costs. They account for most of our turnover. Our prices are generally cheap, often Pay What You Want, and sometimes free. We can only sell at those prices because lots of people shop with and donate to us. Sometimes as an organisation we are trolled online by people who don't agree with our model, but we hear very positive messages from our customers. It's upsetting to hear hurtful comments online, but always gratifying to see the massive increase in donations and sales that occurs directly afterwards, as people vote with their feet and donations. People donate for a variety of reasons: they like the prices and variety at the shop, they want positive outcomes for their unwanted stuff, or they see the community benefits of keeping this stuff local. What ever the reason, we are proud that as a community we are currently diverting around 1200 tonnes of good reusable materials away from landfill each year. As we have grown and gotten better at the job, we have systematically increased the amount of items we give away or made Pay What You Want, to allow everyone to access them, regardless of means. It is often assumed that as we are a charity (providing what we believe is an essential service) we rely heavily on grants. We are proud to say that all of our core costs are covered by trading income, and have been since day one. This is not the normal charity shop model, heavily reliant on grants and volunteers; it is self sustaining, and has the potential to help communities across Scotland and further afield reach their Net Zero Targets, whilst supporting the local community at the same time. After "but you get it for free", the second most heard statement is "I wish we had one of these near me". We know we can't please everyone, but we are trying really hard to make a difference. Thank you for your support
  • What is Reuse Scotland SCIO?
    Reuse Scotland SCIO is a charity (SC051234) registered in Scotland, based in Dunbar and operating across East Lothian and Edinburgh. We work in partnership with East Lothian and Edinburgh Councils to divert reusable materials away from landfill for community benefit. Zero Waste sheds and Big Pick clothes banks are located at all of the recycling centres and the community is encouraged to put their good items inside for reuse. Once checked and sorted against Revolve guidelines these items are then sold cheaply from one of our Zero Waste Shops, donated to local good causes, community groups, schools or to those in need. We believe the Big Pick - our clothing reuse initiative - has the potential to eradicate clothing poverty in Scotland. Whilst this project is currently on hold, we are actively seeking partners to roll this initiative across Scotland. Reuse Scotland SCIO also works with private clients such as the University of Edinburgh, commercial recyclers, Local Authorities and community organizations. We conduct everything from small house clearances to large commercial salvage jobs. We currently divert around 3-4 tonnes of materials from landfill each day..
  • What is the Big Pick?
    The Big Pick CLOSED during Covid 19 and we hope to relaunch this initiative in the future. Did you know… Up to 90% of clothes donated to charity shops and charity textile banks are exported to other countries for sale to private market traders. Shipping clothes thousands of miles is terrible for the planet and the impact on indigenous textile businesses is devastating. Just as China has stopped taking our plastic and other waste, African nations are now refusing to accept imports of second hand clothing. Clothing poverty is a real thing that we can eliminate NOW by just doing things differently with the same resources. The Big Pick diverted local clothes from landfill through our Big Pick textile banks, located at Recycling Centres across the County. We picked, sorted and sold quality clothes back to the local community at great value “by the kilo” sales. Supporting the Big Pick isn’t just about getting great clothes cheap. Clothes production is the second largest global polluter, after oil. Reusing local clothes is literally the best way for us to reduce our carbon footprint; and together we can stop clothes poverty in our community now. They're our clothes, lets use them locally to save our wallets, the planet, and improve the social health of our community. Keep it local
  • What is your pricing strategy?
    Our prices are cheap, and often Pay What You Want (books, toys, games, household essentials etc). Staff have some discretion on pricing, and provide free goods to groups that are the backbone of our communities: community groups, charities, social enterprises, schools and food banks. Higher value stock: new and unwrapped, collectables, antiques etc. are valued using Ebay, barcode scanning apps or internet research. Our upper pricing limit is a maximum of 50% of average selling prices on Ebay and usually far less (10-30%). This means that we are the first port of call for a wide network of resellers. Books, toys, games, and a selection of household essentials, electrics, furniture etc are sold on a Pay What You Want basis to ensure there is something for everyone, regardless of means. To our knowledge we are the only organisation in the UK that provides this benefit to the community. If you don’t like the price of a Fixed Price item please talk to a member of staff and if it is over priced, we will reduce it. However items which are collectable (are antiques or valuable) justify a higher price, which help support our running costs, community donations and other initiatives (like Pay What You Want) which require subsidisation. Sometimes we get it wrong; we're only human and when processing thousands of items are bound to make the odd mistake. We are only too happy to review any item you feel doesn't reflect the stated pricing policy.
  • Do you have a returns policy?
    Yes. Please return any items within 30 days, with a receipt. Receipts are emailed upon checkout upon request, and always when purchasing electrical items . If you don't have an email, paper receipts are available. Returns cannot be accepted without a receipt.
  • Which materials can/can’t Reuse Scotland SCIO accept for donation?
    We take all materials in good reusable condition apart from the items listed below. If in doubt please email Please note that staff at Recycling Centres are Council staff and not employees of Reuse Scotland SCIO. In order to make sure the information you receive is accurate and up to date please get in touch with us directly. We have limited storage and cannot accept the following items: WE CANNOT TAKE Any broken, damaged, soiled or incomplete items Large furniture - sofas, bookcases,display/glazed units, TV stands Beds, headboards, mattresses or baby cots White goods Baby gates, walkers and baths Please understand, if you choose to put these items in a Reuse Shed our only option is to recycle them. Moving these items causes additional work and risk to our employees. We HATE putting stuff in the skips! If in doubt and you are local please drop your items to the Zero Waste Dunbar Shop EH42 1DX, (next door to the Factory Shop) every day 9-5 and Sundays 10-4. A member of staff will be able to assist you identify what we can take and other organisations that may be able to accept what we can’t. For any further questions please email with photos of the items you aren't sure we accept, and we will contact you to confirm.
  • How can I feedback or make a complaint?
    Please contact with your query. We aim to respond to any issues asap.
  • What do you do with your waste?
    Most of the donations we receive are from our Reuse Sheds at Recycling Centres, where members of the public put stuff they feel is too good to be put into the waste stream. As to be expected at a recycling centre, some items are only suitable for recycling and we place them in the appropriate stream. We are Revolve accredited and have to adhere to their criteria and wider legal standards of what can be reused. Items which fail to meet these standards or that we do not accept; broken, incomplete, heavily soiled, bulky items, furnishings without fire labels etc are recycled on-site at the Recycling Centres or placed in the appropriate waste stream. When items in our shops fail to find new homes, even after being offered for free, we have no choice but to put them into the appropriate recycling or waste stream. Like any commercial business we have to pay to do so, and hate putting good stuff into skips. Many reuse organisations have gone bust by paying to store vast quantities of materials which no-one wants. We take pride in that we are transparent in our operations. Unlike most other charities and reuse organisations we operate in plain site; our waste is not travelling to private facilities where it receives no scrutiny. Many High St charities donate their D Code stock (D for destruction) to our reuse sheds. You will see our drivers at the recycling centre every day, performing a variety of tasks in addition to servicing the sheds; recycling electrics that have failed PAT tests, disposing of items that don't pass checks, or recycling wood, paper, cardboard and metal into segregated recycling streams. Items which are mixed material, or don't have a dedicated recycling option, go into landfill. We are always delighted to hear from any individuals or groups who feel they can reuse items from our waste stream. Every option to prevent items going to landfill is a good one. We hope that in the future, recycling infrastructures will improve to allow for the recycling of more diverse and mixed materials.
  • What hours are you open?
    The Reuse Scotland Zero Waste Hub in Dunbar is open 9-5 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday opening hours are 10-4.
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