When it comes to sustainable behaviours we often think of cycling more, flying less, eating more plant-based, and planting trees. But the simple act of sharing – whether it is resources, space or services – can be one of the most simple, yet powerful means of tackling waste and the climate crisis. Across the University and the local community, we, at Transition, are engaged in fostering this idea of a sharing economy through projects such as Tool Share and St AndReuse. These projects are moving on and up with Tool Share having reopened and St AndReuse starting to run more regular events.
Tool Share, which launched in 2019, has been in a state of pandemic hibernation. Thankfully, an opportunity to reopen the service arrived and tool loans have been back in action since June 2021. Since then we have set up 6 Tool Share lockers at the Student’s Union and a new system to run the project. People now reserve tools via MyTurn or return their tools by Tuesday, and pick up their tools on Thursdays. Although these lockers are not big enough for tools such as the pizza oven, for smaller tools, they are providing Tool Share members with the flexibility to pick up their tools in their own time.
The relaunch of Tool Share has sparked some interest across of the town with a steady growing membership taking place. Across June and July we have seen 10 new members sign up and 14 tools loaned out. This includes the Ooni Pizza Oven being loaned out three times and the Bosch 9″ Angle Grinder being loaned out twice. Showing off what Tool Share has on offer by social media, it looks like people are keen to get in on this sharing economy action. Look at this pizza oven below. Who wouldn’t want that at their next garden soirée.
Having been about for over a decade, St AndReuse is one of Transition’s longest running projects. It has grown so much that it is now a town-wide collaboration between us, the St Andrews Environmental Network and the University of St Andrews. The past year has been a challenge to run our standard Giveaway events or Thrift Clothing Sales. Behind the scenes however, we now have the most dedicated and passionate team of volunteers committed to making a difference!
In fact, our volunteers are the only consistent thing about St AndReuse at the moment. The project is currently split between 4 venues with the intention of moving them all over to a new, but temporary lockup at University Hall (more news to come on this).
Changes in covid restrictions since Spring have opened up doors with in-person events being possible. Since April we have run 3 events: Spring Giveaway at Woodburn Place; a Thrift Clothing Sale at the North East Fife Community Hub’s Summer Fete; and a 4-part series of 1-hour giveaway and clothing sales at St Salvator’s Halls. Through these events we can see the powerful impacts made by something as simple as going secondhand. We saw 139 people through the doors, shifting more than 600kgs of stuff and saving more than 11tCO2.
Once we have everything moved we should be in a better position to run more regular events. There is even the potential of including larger furniture items into the mix – something people have enquired about in the past. In fact, as we were clearing out the new lockup we came across 30 or so office chairs for landfill. With one post on our socials we have managed to shift on at least 20 with 48 hours. A great example of how effective the project has become!
Finally, a quick but massive thank you! Whether you have come to collect new items, volunteer with us or collaborated with us on events, you are helping St AndReuse go from strength to strength.