New hotline to help us ‘gift on’ the good stuff

A new freephone hotline which aims to make it easier for people across many parts of Scotland to donate quality, unwanted goods - like furniture, working electrical items, and clothing - for re-use by others has been launched today.  

2 Feb 12

To mark the launch, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead met representatives from Zero Waste Scotland, the Wise Group and the Edinburgh Furniture Initiative, one of the re-use organisations signed up to collect goods referred by the hotline, in a ‘pop up living room’ made from re-used items outside the Scottish Parliament.  

Funded by Zero Waste Scotland, the re-use hotline -  0800 0665 820 - will initially cover 16 local authority areas, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeenshire and Dumfries and Galloway.  Aiming to cover the whole of Scotland by the end of the year, the service will extend to other local authority areas as more re-use organisations sign up to take part.  

The hotline will help householders pass on suitable goods to others by arranging for a local re-use organisation to come and collect items for free.    The re-use hotline will be managed by social enterprise the Wise Group.

Recent ground-breaking research by WRAP identified that more materials could be re-used. Only a very small proportion of items commonly suitable for re-use are being donated.  Instead they are sent to landfill disposal or recycling. 

Unwanted household item
% donated for re-use
% send to landfill disposal or recycling


Dining Table


Washing Machine







The study, which looked at the benefits of reusing eight common items, showed that Scotland already saves almost 85,000 tonnes of CO2 by reusing these items alone at current rates.  This is the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 cars off our roads.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“This pilot service - which if successful will become Scotland’s first national Re-use Hotline - will make it easier to donate goods to be re-used by others.  

“Re-use saves new items being made from scratch which in turn saves raw materials and energy. It also gives people the chance to pick up some great bargains and save money. Buying re-used items already saves Scottish householders over £80m a year.  

“Clearly there are many more items we could re-use, and the Re-use Hotline will be a valuable source of information and service. Only 40% of us say we have donated to charity shops in the last year – clearly a much better option than needlessly throwing our used items in the bin.” 

The re-use hotline is one part of Zero Waste Scotland’s work to support the re-use sector, which aims to boost donations, raise awareness and encourage more people to shop in their local re-use store with confidence.  

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: 

“Nobody wants to throw out perfectly good things, and re-use provides an outlet for unwanted items to be put to a good use.  

“As more re-use organisations sign up to the scheme, we hope the re-use hotline will provide a local collection service to everyone in Scotland.  This will make it easier for more people to donate suitable items for re-use rather than throwing them in the bin.

“As well as increasing donations, our vision for the future is that more people think to visit a re-use outlet when replacing or buying the things they need.  We are working to develop a strong network of re-use organisations which offer quality goods at competitive prices.”

Matt Lopata from Edinburgh Furniture Initiative said:

“Encouraging more people to donate their reusable goods to us is one of our top priorities. The idea of having a single telephone line number for re-use is great.  We know people are really keen to donate items, but it’s not always easy to know how. This is an excellent solution.”

Brian Canning, Head of Sustainability at the Wise Group, said: 

“We are very excited to be working with Zero Waste Scotland and local organisations to give people’s unwanted items an appreciative new home. We will also be working with Local Authorities who will help us promote this service to their residents.”

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