top of page


Updated: Aug 26

We created a chair from woven scraps of fabric!

Last weekend Vanessa @vandicraft_design came into the Zero Waste Hub to present their crafting project at our sewing cafe and collaborated with folk at SHRUB to create a chair from woven scraps of fabric! How cool is this? Read on!

A message from Vanessa:

“I am a 4th-year product design student at the Edinburgh College of Art. This is my final year project and I am working on a conscious design that creates a collaborative experience through crafting with post-consumer textile waste to increase the awareness of fast fashion contributing to climate change.

Since the fashion industry contributes significantly to global emissions and climate change is recognised as a global emergency in recent years, I felt the urgency of designing out waste in the economy. Keeping products and materials in use at their highest value is one of the key principles of circular economy, therefore I hope my design can speak the message of transforming the throwaway culture into honouring the repair and craft culture.

I find the method of cutting old t-shirts and making them into yarn fits my project context and started ideation around it. The chair is designed to celebrate the afterlife of clothes through weaving with t-shirt yarn, as well as encouraging people to live a conscious lifestyle and be mindful. The chair is only complete when people weave to make the seat. It is intended to be completed collaboratively because I believe the community is more powerful in spreading the message and it creates the opportunity for discussion on sustainability.

During the workshop, I had some great conversations with the participants, some have experience in weaving and some don’t. Weaving with t-shirt yarn is new, nonetheless, participants didn’t find it difficult to learn. It was fascinating to see creative ways of cutting t-shirts from participants in order to fully use up the material and to hear participants getting inspired by how to use their t-shirts at home.”

8 views0 comments

By Olivia Spring


Each year, an estimated £140 million of clothing and textiles are sent to landfills, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Much of this clothing holds untapped potential. Recently Edinburgh Zoo donated its old uniforms to SHRUB Coop and we then put the time and effort required into turning them into something new and useful for the community. We’re doing our part to help close the loop on clothing waste in a world where the fashion and textiles industry contributes towards a shocking 10% of global carbon emissions, projects like this are an important step towards reducing textile waste and highlighting the vast amount of clothing already available in the world that’s just waiting to get a new lease of life.

There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to get these clothes from the donation pile back into circulation, and this is where our volunteers come in to put the care and dedication required into successfully diverting perfectly good textiles from landfill. First, the donated clothes were moved to SHRUB Coop for repairs and patching by cargo bike. “Basically, it was a huge amount of stuff - two trips with bike and trailer fully loaded up”, remarked Rosanna, one of the volunteers who dedicated time to managing and upcycling the donations.

After two bike trips, the volunteers got to work filling 8 very-large bags with patched, mended and upcycled ex-uniforms.

The donations included 1 bag of warm fleeces and overalls, which volunteers worked on quickly to mend, patch and distribute just before Christmas during a particularly cold snap to ensure these items were donated when they were needed most.

Through projects like this, we have been able to not only contribute towards sustainable practices but to give crucial help to community members.

The team worked hard to sort, mend, repurpose and restore as many of the clothing items as possible, some of which were brand new and ready to be put to good use. Items had to be sorted and assessed for repairs - and volunteers worked hard to make sure as little was wasted as possible. The donations also included two bags of brand-new, warm puffer gilets which our volunteers got ready for distribution by covering logos with some lovely patches and pockets.

There were also 3 bags of jackets, 1 bag of sweatshirts and t-shirts, and 1 bag of around 30 polo shirts, some of which required repairs such as broken zips and worn-down collars, and upcycled patches to cover the original branding.

The circular nature of the project didn’t stop with just mending and re-purposing the ex-uniforms. “I put patches on 15 polo shirts, most of which were new and unused. The fabric with the tulip design was reused from a Stitches for Survival banner which had got damaged and the dye had run.”, said Mary, a SHRUB sewing volunteer who worked on the project. The patches came from previously used and repurposed fabric, and zips were also re-used rather than buying new ones unnecessarily.

“I did two zip replacements, one rather quirky in a fleece and the other a jacket which now has one zip instead of two as I used the inner one to replace the broken outer one. Fiddly work, but zips are expensive” – Mary

Through SHRUB Coop, the mended, restored and upcycled uniforms were distributed around Edinburgh. 2 bags went to the community centre, where warmer clothing such as the fleeces and overalls are particularly needed during the colder months that can make life extremely difficult for those sleeping rough or struggling to afford warm clothing. The remaining bags went to the Edinburgh mission bank and a couple more bags were up for sale in our Swapshop on Bread Street.

Projects such as this require the help of a dedicated team, but this can lead to important changes in our societal outlook on pre-loved clothing and its potential to be repaired, repurposed and re-distributed.

4 views0 comments

By Shannon Finnan


January 2021: New year, new city, new me - I’m going waste free

3 months later: I burnt out

I ventured into my zero waste journey with images of pretty pantries and watching TED talks with women holding old fashioned mason jars of their rubbish. The impact my rubbish was having on the world startled me but here was a way for me to solve it.

On day 2 I faced my first question when the post hit the floor. What was I supposed to do with the envelope? Its little plastic window peered out at me almost mockingly. I’m pretty sure I never saw an envelope in any of those mason jars.

From there, the questions kept coming:

  • Can I get packaging free biscuits? If not, what do I dunk in my tea?

  • What about when I fancy a bag of crisps?

  • Where do I refill my wine bottles?

My 3 months with a completely empty rubbish bin was helped along greatly by the time period we were in. In early 2021 the world had a stillness for me. Lockdowns and low contact living was still prominent. A blissful time when the world was done with excessive zoom socials but we weren’t ready to return to in person events. It lent the time to go to multiple shops, scratch cooking and googling “how to….” multiple times a day.

Then, as time ticked on, we started to resemble some form of normality. Takeaways and quick meals returned. Social outings vied for my time. Sure there are ways to make it work in a busy schedule, but most of these options come with a price tag. Buying our dry food (pasta, rice, spices, beans etc) package free isn’t that different in price to our normal shop. However, our fresh food (bread, veg, oat milk) had an impact on the pocket, and my time. I now had to plan a chunk of my week around buying plastic free peppers from the green grocer across town rather than nipping down to the local Tesco express. When I started heading on weekend trips, staying zero waste was more and more challenging. Low waste living is an exercise in being prepared. I didn’t do girl scouts, and my mum packed my school lunch box. This is not something I’m good at!

To be honest I became exhausted by it all. The space was geared towards perfection and I was falling well short. During a period of fatigue, I stumbled into the Zero Waste Hub. Over the following weeks my outlook started to dramatically shift - no they didn’t pay me to write that.

As obvious as it seems now, I realised I was caught up in the aesthetic of waste free living. My mindset was less to do with redesigning the system and more to do with a lifestyle brand.

I started to look at zero waste living in the context of community. Rather than fretting over the plastic that came with rescued food, I began to see the bigger picture. Zero waste living can not be addressed as a singular issue. It requires a community.

I recognised that my personal actions are important. I can dramatically reduce my waste with little or no exertion on my part without feeling guilty about not doing it perfectly. Even more so, my personal actions have a larger impact when it’s focused on the community. Pushing to change a broken system, while beginning to build an alternative.

My story continues, more sustainable than it started.

6 views0 comments
bottom of page