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Swap Shop

image of new window display promoting the swap shop

new window display promotes the swap shop

Reduce Reuse Repair Recycle

Reducing consumption and waste must be at the heart of any attempts to tackle climate change. Every item we buy, eat, wear or use, required energy to produce and transport. In the UK we consume disproportionately more than the majority of people in the world. Most of the worlds agriculture, mining, manufacturing, transportation and power generation is directed at supplying the insatiable appetites of the developed world – at the cost of those elsewhere who supply the resources and cheap labour while suffering the environmental degradation and pollution.

But it doesn’t have to be like that and we can start to do something about it simply by buying less and making more use of the things we already have. That’s where the swap shop comes in (and similar initiatives like freeshops, freecycle, freegle etc).

Hows it work?

Simple, it’s just a mater of give and take. You bring in things you no longer need but are still useful or desirable to others, and if you see something you like you take it. There’s no money involved, it’s all freely given and taken. Pass on the items you no longer need and to take those you do.

By doing so we keep resources in circulation and out of land fill and reduce demand for new manufactured products so saving even more energy and resources.

While we’ve got limited space for the swap shop at Tipping Point, we will do our best to make it a useful and interesting corner to browse clothes, videos, books, games, etc. However, we’ll need you to do your bit by making sure you leave the swap shop tidy when taking or donating.

What about Charity Shops?

There’s some great charity shops in Medway, many raising funds for really valuable causes. We wouldn’t want to undermine them so don’t let the swap shop or similar projects distract you from giving to or buying from them. However, charity shop donations far exceed the amount they can profitable sell so some of the larger chains, at least, dispose of a large proportion of the donation. Also, for many people, donating to charity shops is a guilt free way to clear their wardrobe for further purchases of clothes, shoes and handbags which rarely see the light of day before being stuffed in a black bag for the charity shop just in time for another round of end of season sales.¬† We hope that the swap shop will be different, not about clearing space for more consumption.

What about Freegle / Freecycle?

Freecycle and freegle are very similar projects based around online communities who post wanted and offered adds. Gillingham and Strood both have such initiatives and occasionally we post ads there ourselves so that more people have the opportunity to hear about the items available in in the swap shop. A vast number and range of items are posted on these online communities every day. For many people it’s a frustrating logistical challenge to organise transport and mutually convenient times and locations for collection. We think the online communities and the physical space of the swap shop compliment each other well. One offers an efficient way for people to communicate what they have or would like, while the other offers a convenient place for items to be dropped off or collected. Over time we hope to work out ways in which the two ideas could work together even better.

See local freegle sites:

photo of the items in the swap shop

The Swap Shop

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