How to swap, share, and get (or get rid of) stuff more sustainably

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How to swap, share, and get (or get rid of) stuff more sustainably

Whether you’re clearing out your shelves or looking for new ones, check out the sharing, renting and second hand economy first. It’s a great way to get things for cheaper (or totally free!) and give a second life to things you’re ready to pass on – keeping lots of lovely things in use between us and out of landfill. Here are 10 tips for where and how to do it.

These tips are part of something bigger. At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment. Check out what we do and how your actions add up.

Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbour! Across friends and neighbours, you might have everything you need between you, meaning you don't have to buy things that you only need on a one-off or use rarely in the first place! Tap into friend groups or a community network WhatsApp group and ask around – maybe someone will have the item you are looking for or would like what you want to give away!

Find people nearby giving away or lending out stuff for free on apps like Olio, NextDoor and Streetbank. The Freecycle network has been running since 2003, and the website has 9 million members who collectively save 1000 tonnes a day from landfill by giving their stuff away for free instead of binning it.

Books are wonderful to share, once we’ve read them they can easily be passed on (just make it clear if you want it back after or are happy for it to journey on to many people). You can head to your local library to browse, read and even order in books for free, arrange to swap with friends when you finish a read, search second hand in charity shops for potluck finds, or check out World of Books for second hand books online.

Can’t find what you want for free? Renting an item for a short period is a cheaper choice and saves you storage space. Olio also has a borrowing and renting section and if you're based in London, check out Library of Things where you can borrow things for your home, projects and also adventures.

Want a bit more choice locally? Try out the Fat Llama app and see what people in your area are happy lease out. Maybe there are a few items around your home that others would like to borrow too.

Try making a group chat with your friends or neighbours for things like tools, gardening, cleaning or party supplies that might be useful to share rather than everyone buying them each time.

There’s a whole marketplace of places to buy and sell goods online! Of course, there’s the old classics eBay (make sure you select ‘used’ for condition) and Gumtree, and relative newcomers Facebook Marketplace and Preloved.

Car boot sales are a treasure trove for second hand joy, bargains, and an easy way to make a few quid if you’re clearing stuff out. Check out the UK car boot map to find your local car boot sales and when they’re running. Check out the local charity shops on your high streets too, and find out when and what kind of donations they accept if you’re planning to drop stuff off.

Hungry for more?

For more specific things around the house you might want to get hold of or get rid of, here are some more tips and tricks.

What to do with old clothes

Textiles take a lot of resources and labour to make, so it's great if you can give your clothes as long a life as possible. Here are some sustainable ways to increase their wear.

What to do with old tech

Found a tangle of old tech? Here's how to sort it out and pass it on, from recycling, to donating, to selling.

How to declutter your life

It can seem like no matter how much you get rid of, your space is still cluttered. Try these steps to help figure out what you really want or need to keep, and how to stop the stuff from piling up again and again.

Digital decluttering tips

Now that you've conquered the physical world, check out our 5 steps for decluttering your digital spaces too.

Want to make your house a home? 

We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks for you to make your home greener, and save money whilst you’re at it. 

You’ve heard of fast fashion, but have you heard about ‘fast homeware’? 

Find out how we’ve partnered with Dunelm to help communities extend the life of pre-loved homeware.