The Shrub grew from an idea, sparked by students at the University of Edinburgh who wanted to stop household goods going to landfill when students moved out of their halls of residence. They wanted to break the cycle of students buying new clothes, books, furniture and household goods each year, only for the items to end up in landfill a few months later.
Since then, we’ve run annual collections from student halls, followed by a Freshers Free Shop in the new academic year where items are given away for free. In 2016 we saved 8.8 tonnes of stuff from landfill and saved students thousands of pounds.
Today, we run a Swap Shop on Edinburgh’s Guthrie Street which is open four days a week for the whole community to shop and swap. Our Food Sharing project collects excess food from cafes and bakeries across the city and redistributes it to people who need it, while connecting thousands of individuals to share food with one another. And we run hundreds of skill sharing, reuse, repair and upcycling workshops on everything from bike repair to screen printing and from transforming clothes to creative writing.
In 2013 we became the UK’s first student-led cooperative and today we work closely with Edinburgh’s many universities and places of learning as well as local businesses and community organisations. We’re funded by the Climate Challenge Fund and supported by the University of Edinburgh.