‘Reduce. Reuse. Recycle’ is the mantra of any sustainable waste guru and certainly in recent years we have all become more aware of what happens to our waste. Last year the University recycled 65% of all waste and there are now many opportunities to responsibly dispose of your waste throughout the town.

Recycling, however, is only one chapter in the story of waste reduction. Not least because often recycling actually means downcycling; plastic, for example, is rarely recycled into a material of similar quality. If we really want to reduce our impact on the planet (particularly in relation to energy and water use) we have to begin to address the first two rules of waste management: reducing and reusing.

I am the first to admit that reducing is undoubtedly the least thrilling aspect of sustainability.  Reusing can also be problematic; the definition of shabby chic rarely stretches to include broken and holey.  As a self-confessed shopaholic neither are particularly in line with my inner unquashable desires to consume.

Thankfully, however, I’ve learnt that all consumption is not bad consumption. In fact there are lots of good ways to consume too.  Collaborative consumption encourages us to share ‘what’s mine is yours’. From trading unwanted items to sharing skills and knowledge, a sustainable society can redefine what is meant by consumption: allowing us to get our ‘new stuff fix’ without drastic environmental consequences.

This Saturday in the Victory Memorial Hall, Transition University of St Andrews will be hosting our first ‘Gift Share’.  We have invited a number of University organisations to share their skills and knowledge with the local community.  We will also provide some tools and materials to help you fix and revamp your existing belongings. As if that wasn’t enough there will be the opportunity to pick up ‘new to you’ items in our swapshop (held in conjunction with StAnd Reuse).

  • The Knitting Society has agreed to share how to make and knit with ‘plarn’ (plastic yarn).
  • St Andrews Snowsports are coming to help you revitalise your skis and snowboards for the new season.
  • We will have a sewing machine and plenty of knowledge on hand to help you refashion both your newly acquired and well-loved garments.
  • You can learn to crochet a beanie; create recycled Christmas decorations; make edible Christmas presents and plenty more gifts that will last you forever.
  • There will also be tea and coffee available if you just want to come and bask in the festive cheer.

The event will run at the same time as the St Andrews Farmers’ Market: another ideal location to get your sustainable consumption fix.

It’s not too late to participate at the event. If you have a talent or skill that you would like to share, or you just want to help out. Please email transition@st-andrews.ac.uk


Saturday 3rd December

Victory Memorial Hall (click here for map)



See you there!