Holding your own reuse event

This guidance is designed to help you to run your own community reuse event.

Reuse events can include any household items such as furniture, bric-a-brac, DVDs, books, clothes and toys.

Before you start, consider what materials you are looking to target at your event. Some items are easier to deal with than others, for example, there is additional work required for electrical items. Consider if people will drop off items before the event or on the day.

  • Village halls, community centres and social clubs are ideal locations, as they are well known and usually central.
  • You will need to ensure there is easy access for customers and staff. Ensure there is adequate car parking with only a short distance to transport items to and from the venue.
  • Most events will require one large room for the reuse area where items are displayed for customers to take home, and an adjoining area for item testing/sorting.
  • Some venues require public liability insurance – particularly if holding an electrical event. It is advisable to check with the venue owner/parish council.
  • How long will you run the event for? If relying on same day donations, it is a good idea to open the reuse area later, to give staff time to set this up and if collecting electrical items it gives the Portable Appliance Testers (PAT testers) a chance to test the items.
  • You will need at least two people to load vehicles if you are collecting for recycling.
  • You will need volunteers to organise and put items into the reuse area and to sort out items not suitable for reuse.
  • You will also need volunteers to sign items out (see disclaimer/records section).
  • Risk assessments will be needed for staff – depending on the items collected there will be varying hazards such as lifting heavy items/sharp objects. Provide a simple risk assessment to all staff to ensure they take appropriate measures to minimise the risk of any incidents. Please download our risk assessment template.
  • If running an electrical event you will require qualified PAT testers to safety check and label all electrical items that are suitable for reuse.
  • Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Streetlife and community selling sites are a free way of advertising to a lot of people.
  • Leaflets are a good idea to target certain areas, but consider the cost. Unless you have someone willing to print and distribute for free, leaflets can be very expensive.
  • Posters and adverts in free local magazines/notice boards.
  • At the event clearly advertise the reuse area and rules of the event to any customers.
  • Are you going to limit the amount of items that can be removed or let people take as much as they want?
  • It is a good idea to keep a record of the items removed so you can work out how successful the event has been. The Furniture Reuse Network provide estimated weights for most items.
  • Will all the items be free or will you ask for a donation to charity? If asking for a donation, make sure you have a secure container for the money and the name of the charity is clearly displayed.
  • If it is an electrical event a disclaimer notice saying that the items are PAT tested is a good idea so people know they are safe, but you cannot guarantee how well they work.
  • What are you planning to do with items that are not taken away by the public?
  • It is the responsibility of the organiser to dispose of any waste in the correct manner.
  • Options include, storing items for another event, arranging with a local charity shop to collect the reusable items, or placing items in recycling banks.