We’re a cooperative in Edinburgh working for a world without waste!

We empower our community to live a low carbon life. Become a member and learn to fix a bike, swap your preloved things, enjoy some rescued food and be inspired by new ideas.


Our Purpose

  1. To provide a welcoming space for rethinking our relationship to waste, reducing consumption and developing effective use of resources
  2. To support community empowerment in Edinburgh, learning and sharing skills to make a practical difference to the world we share
  3. To deliver innovative waste prevention, creative reuse and repair practices in a living laboratory of Circular Economy

Our Values

We value inclusivity and work with others to provide a welcoming community for all

  • We act with integrity and strive to be sustainable in everything we do
  • We live by co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity

Our activities and spaces

SHRUB Coop currently has 3 spaces across Edinburgh, with several key areas of activity.

  • At the Zero Waste Hub on 22 Bread Street, we have a Swapshop, where you can shop for second-hand items, including swapping your old items for tokens to be used in the shop; a Food Sharing Hub, where you can buy rescued food on a pay-as-you-feel basis; and a Cafe where you can relax and get inspired by the community.
  • At the Wee Spoke Hub on 13 Guthrie Street, we have our bike workshop, where you can join us for fix-your-own-bike sessions on Tuesday and Thursday nights, 5-8pm, or on our volunteer nights on Wednesday evenings, same time. You can also buy bike parts and bikes that our volunteers have fixed up. At the same location you’ll also find one of our offices where our finance and project coordination teams work.
  • At SHRUB Space on 17 Guthrie Street, you can join us for Sewing Drop-in sessions on Thursday evenings 5-7pm, as well as other events and meetings. You’ll also find our second office, where our Zero Waste Edinburgh team works.
  • In May and June, you can find us in the university halls and across the city, collecting items that students have left behind as a part of our annual end-of-term collections. We give them away at our annual Freeshop in September and at other Freeshops throughout the year. Beyond the collections, we also run a variety of other events and workshops, including the Zero Waste Festival, upcycling and repair workshops, sustainable fashion meet-ups and much more.
  • Finally, our Food Sharing network collects food year-round from small and medium businesses such as bakeries and distributes it to anyone who might want to eat it, including charities, the volunteers themselves, and bread boxes in businesses throughout the city.

Story of SHRUB

SHRUB Cooperative (formerly the Swap and Reuse Hub Cooperative (Edinburgh) Ltd) was registered as the UK’s first student-­led community co­operative. It was established as a not for profit company limited by guarantee in March 2013. As of November 2018, we are registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), meaning we have charitable status.

A large proportion of our members are students, mostly from the University of Edinburgh (UoE) but our membership is becoming increasingly diverse, incorporating individuals from a range of ages and backgrounds in the local community. We no longer describe ourselves as “student-led”, but instead we are “community-led”.

As a co­operative, the SHRUB operates an open membership policy (anybody above the age of 16 can apply for membership). You can join either by being a paying member or by volunteering.

SHRUB is organised non-hierarchically and governed through consensus decision making. Members are free to join in decision making and to stand for a position as a Trustee. Trustees are elected at the AGM and are legally liable for the Co­op.


How we operate - non-hierarchy

SHRUB is a community cooperative. We are a non-hierarchical organisation, which means that everyone has the right to have equal say in how we do things and what we decide to do.

We operate through consensus-based decision-making, which means that we discuss ideas until we get to a solution that everyone can agree with, and every member has the right to veto any new plans if they think they will be harmful.

We follow the cooperative principles below, and organise our work through working groups, which have autonomy in their own areas of work.


Our Working Groups

Swapshop: We look after the Swapshop which includes: organising donations, pricing items and greeting customers! Also includes our Sustainable Fashion activities and events.

Workshops & Events: We organise events and upcycling workshops to educate the community about sustainable living.

Food Sharing: We re-distribute excess food from businesses to the community through our Food Sharing Hub and Food Sharing Network, and run sustainable cooking and home crafting classes.

Wee Spoke Hub: We organise DIY workshops for you to learn how to fix your own bike with help from trained mechanics.

Cafe: We look after the Zero Waste Hub Cafe, helping provide a welcoming space for all the community.

Communications: We promote the coop’s activities and keep members informed about what’s happening.

Finance & Admin: We oversee general administration, maintaining financial records and forecasting. The group includes Monitoring and Evaluation, Bookkeeping, Management Accounts, Social Enterprise and Funding subgroups.

Welfare: We ensure the wellbeing of members, if you are experiencing any problems within the community, you can get in touch with us at welfare@shrubcoop.org

Governance & Policy: We take care of the Coop’s decision making processes and other working practices and policies.

Human Resources: We ensure the wellbeing of our staff and offer them feedback and support.

Trustees: We are the legal guardians of the Coop, responsible for oversight of risk & compliance, human resources, monitoring & evaluation, funding, and member engagement.


Our Policies

Our Constitution

Our Safer Spaces Policy

Privacy Notice

SHRUB Coop is funded through the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. We’re grateful for all their support. Find out more about our funders by clicking on the logos above.