Image of woman upcycling

Ideas for waste projects

12 Apr 23 2 minute read

We support a network of community groups through our pioneering Circular Economy projects.

This allows us to support projects involving waste and circular economy activities, or the installation of energy-efficient measures in community-owned buildings. 

You might already know exactly what projects you want to work on, but sometimes it’s good to get ideas from what’s already being done out there.  

We’ve got 10 ideas to help inspire your own projects. 

Library of things

Instead of buying new things that are rarely used like power tools, you can encourage people to borrow them instead. A great example is Edinburgh Tool Library

Waste workshops

Teaching people skills so they can upcycle, make and repair can save a lot of waste in the long term.  The Edinburgh Remakery. runs a wide range of workshops to teach a wide range of things such as sewing, IT repair, upcycling and bookbinding. 

Create a re-use and repair guide

Lots of people don’t buy pre-loved, donate items or repair items because they don’t know where to go for these things. How about publishing a guide to help them? Greener Kirkcaldy and Changeworks have both created excellent guides.  Changeworks have a Charity shop and re-use guide.  

Cookery lessons

Teaching cooking skills is a great way to show people how to reduce food waste by using up leftovers. Orkney Zero Waste and CFINE both run regular classes and have great engagement in the community. 

Composting and Food Waste Recycling

Teaching people how to deal with unavoidable food waste such as egg shells, tea bags, banana skins is useful in reducing waste. Working with your local council to encourage participation in food waste recycling schemes is very beneficial, or for those who have somewhere to compost, teaching them the skills – and even how to build a compost bin from waste wood is ideal.  

compost bin filled with leaves and flowers

Bike repair

Encouraging the reuse and repair of bikes is very popular and worthwhile. Bike for Good (previously Glasgow Bike Station) takes and sells second-hand bikes and provides workshop space for people to come and fix bikes as well as teaching skills. 

Repair cafes 

Repair Cafes are a great way of encouraging people to repair items.  People bring along items to repair, and volunteers show them how to do the repairs, so passing on skills to help people repair their own items in the future. 

Swap shops

Not heard of a swap shop yet just yet? It’s a free and local exchange where people can pass on things they no longer want and change it for something they need instead.  

Book reuse scheme 

Just like a swap shop for clothes or other items, why not start up a book reuse scheme? Instead of selling or keeping books, book donors have created re-use social enterprises focusing on just books. This allows them to offer a great selection for customers and a national pick-up service for organisations wanting to dispose of books.   

Upcycling workshop

Upcycling is the hot new trend and is a great way to show people how to make a pre-loved hand item and turn it into a classic and elegant one-off piece.   

New Start Highland have created their own upcycled brand – ‘Unique ness’ and opened a shop in a major shopping centre selling upcycled items and teaching workshops.