For members of the SHRUB CO-OP, recycling and avoiding waste is second nature. Throughout the year, as one of the many community workshops they run, members will be providing sewing machines and a little guidance for students to create their own clothes and jewelry out of recycled material.
We are a wasteful lot and no more so than students after it was discovered that at the end of the academic year around seven tons of perfectly usable items are discarded. In 2008 a group of students decided to put an end to this and went round student accommodation to collect all the cast off items. Instead of it going to landfill, the students kept the material over the summer, and at the start of the next academic year, held a freshers free shop where the goods were distributed to other students.
Since then, and in particularly over the last 4 years, an estimated 30 tons of waste has been saved from going to landfill. Students who take part and benefited from the Free Shop said, among other things, ‘it saved me loads of money’, and ‘I got some really useful stuff.’ From tea pots to text books, students left with all sorts of goods to use in the coming university year. Some students, when asked what they would do with them at the end of the year again said, ‘I’ll just donate them back,’ thus saving even more waste.
In 2013, after the freshers free shop was such a success, the Swap and Re-use Hub, now know as SHRUB was born, the UK’s first registered student co-operative. Now open all year round and run entirely, through shared ownership by the students, SHRUB operates as a swap shop and community drop in. Shared by its members, anybody from the community can join and swap and share items.
As well as its Swap Shop, SHRUB now runs a number of weekly and fortnightly workshops and project groups. Tackling Food Waste is a high priority for the CO-OP and one of their focus groups aims to collect and distribute discarded food throughout the community. Entitled, ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ for example this workshop aims to teach and distribute strategies for saving food waste at home. Other workshop include basic bicycle maintenance, wallet, and other fashion item making, and an allotment group that focuses on growing and using home-grown vegetables.
Anybody can become a member of SHRUB, you don’t have to be a student to participate in any of the workshops or to bring and swap items. SHRUB aim to serve the whole community and get everybody involved in redistributing usable items and food and help put and end to culture of waste we have in the city. Anybody for become a member or a volunteer and share in the running and ownership of the community. For more information go to www.shrubcoop.org