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Short Story from the October Waste Stories Workshop

This fictional story was written as part of a Waste Stories writing workshop. The aim was to write a story in 30 minutes based on found objects and waste. Waste Stories is a project that uses the affective power of story-telling to try to change people’s relationships with waste and the resources that end up in the waste stream.

That’s a bit odd, by Heloisa Fyfe

Sometime after my mum passed away we decided to clear the garden of

what my dad would call ‘unacceptable kitsch and bad taste’. A bit harsh, but

he’s got a point. My mum had all these animal sculptures and a garden

gnome placed neatly around the garden. You wouldn’t think much of these

things but they meant a lot to her. She purposefully used them as a symbolic

rejection of her past. You see, my mum didn’t like her life growing up, whether

it was her two parents, the six girls who bullied her at school, or the twelve

mean chickens on her grandma’s farm that would chase her and peck her

legs. It wasn’t just that. When she turned eighteen she accidentally dropped a

knife and lost a toe, only leaving her with four on one foot. Of the eight

boyfriends she’d had, six broke up with her, one died and with the last one

she got married. So how is this related to the garden kitsch? Well, once my

mum turned twenty-three and had moved out of her family home she made a

decision to live her life in complete opposition to when she was younger.

According to her, there was a recurrent pattern in her unhappiness, everything

bad that ever happened to her came in even numbers. Whether it was the

chickens, the boyfriends, or the toes. So she made a point of imposing only

odd numbers to the rest of her life. That, she knew, would make her happy

because at least it was her choice. This is why I’m an only child. My parents

married in 1993, they had me in 1999 and our house is number 27. When we

went to the supermarket we would buy an odd number of products. If we went

to the doctor we had to only have one issue or three, but you could never

have an even number of ailments. It was bad luck, she said. You may call this

superstition but life really had become wonderful for her once she had

banished the even numbers from her past. She was finally free. The garden

was where she spent most of her last days, and all the animal statues had

odd numbers associated with them. She broke the ear off one of the rabbits,

the bird had thirty-one ceramic feathers. There was also a little solar-powered

Ikea fountain, the user manual had this metal binder with twenty-four spirals

so she ripped it out. No need for such a thing in the house, she said. I miss

my mum, now it’s just the two of us, me and my dad. Bad luck.

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By Haya Abdul Hai


New year, better sustainability practices.

‘New year, new me’ is a phrase that we hear a lot as the new year comes to a start. While we’re thriving to be the best versions of ourselves this year, let’s simultaneously help our planet be the best version of itself. The start of this year has been a little tough for the environment with many countries in Europe breaking records regarding the highest temperatures recorded for December and January (United Nations News, 2023). However, let’s keep hope and create a New Year’s resolution together to help our beloved planet. Here are 3 things you can change today that are likely to help reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Food waste

We’re all guilty of throwing away food but it’s another year to change this habit of ours together. A report by Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) states that 70% of the UK’s food waste was contributed by households in 2018, causing a drastic increase in greenhouse emissions. We as consumers have the duty to change our habits to stop this waste.

You can start by measuring ingredients you need for your meals, preserving food in freezers, and keeping track of expiry dates. Meal prepping for a few days, or a week is one way to go about measuring the ingredients needed. This practice can ensure the reduction of food waste as the prepped meals will have cooked the fast-perishing ingredients and are likely to last longer in the fridge. Another way to save these meals would be to freeze them till they are required. You’ll be saving your time, money, and the environment with this method! At the Food Sharing Hub in the SHRUB Coop, we have a section of the store dedicated to rescuing food from shops all over Edinburgh. With our pay-as-you-feel policy, we help all sorts of individuals cover the gap of their food insecurity as well as save food from waste.

2. Loofahs

A common product used in most households is a loofah: a scrunched-up plastic item that is used to wash one’s body. While these may seem like harmless products, loofahs are made of plastic and when used, microplastics are drained into our sewage systems, eventually reaching the ocean. Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic that are eaten by marine life and as a result, end up in our food chain, harming the health of all living things. According to statistics by UNESCO (2022), an estimated 75 trillion microplastic fragments are floating about in the ocean.

To play our part in reducing these statistics, one item that can easily be replaced in the household is a loofah. Instead of using plastic-based loofahs, you can give natural loofah’s a try. Luffa Aegyptiaca is the scientific name for a plant that is used as a body sponge and can be grown in warm climates. Don’t worry, you don’t have to grow them though! Companies such as LoofCo sell these natural alternatives for a fair price, starting at £3 per body loofah. While plastic-based loofahs are a hub for bacterial growth, this natural loofah can be machine or hand washed to keep it bacteria free, lasts much longer, and can be composted when at the end of its life cycle. You can find these alongside other zero-waste products such as soaps and deodorants at our Zero Waste Hub.

3. Fast fashion footprint

In the past few years, there has been increasing awareness regarding the detrimental impact of fast fashion on the environment. The fast fashion model meets consumer demands quite rapidly and while we do look fabulous in our trendy clothing, most of our clothes end up getting discarded in landfills once they are out of style. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2017) found that 35% of the microplastics found in the ocean are during textile washing, resulting in a mass contribution towards plastic pollution in the ocean. It is no surprise that the fashion industry ranks fourth in terms of its negative environmental impact according to WRAP (2017).

As a New Year resolution, let’s reduce these numbers together by refraining from purchasing fast fashion items. Instead, let’s practice upcycling or donating our pre-loved clothing, and purchasing from second-hand stores. At SHRUB Co-op, we have made these features easily accessible to all those living in Edinburgh. You can join us at our bi-weekly sewing café where we mend and upcycle pre-loved clothing. Just bring your clothing and we will provide you with sewing equipment, as well as advice from our experienced volunteers. You can also donate your items at our hub, as well as purchase new pieces from our Swapshop. Together, we can make a difference.

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By SHRUB Coop, posted 22/11/22

We’re looking for more trustees to guide SHRUB Coop through 2023!

We invite applications from SHRUB members and others interested in contributing to the Coop’s development to join our group of Trustees. We are particularly looking for people with experience in the fields of HR, Fundraising and Social Enterprise but Trustees have a wide-ranging remit and there are opportunities for involvement across the work that SHRUB undertakes.

Why become a Trustee?

SHRUB is a cooperative with premises in central Edinburgh. Our Members contribute to decision-making processes. Trustees have special legal responsibilities and, in some circumstances may have to make sensitive or critical decisions on behalf of the Coop.

A Steering Group was established in May 2020 and now helps staff and working groups take the day-to-day decisions - meaning the Trustees’ role is mainly oversight and strategy.

Trustees learn about how our Social Enterprise runs and gain skills in leadership, problem - solving and innovation, strategic judgement and effective communication, to name a few.

Serving as a Trustee is an opportunity to learn about the governance of a not-for-profit organisation in a supportive environment, learning from more experienced Trustees and staff and the fresh perspective of newer Members alike.

Key Roles in Trustee team

  • Convenor

  • Secretary

  • Treasurer

  • Steering Group link

  • HR and Welfare support

  • Fundraising support

  • Risk and Compliance lead

  • Monitoring and Evaluation support

  • Governance and Policy lead

  • Communications support

  • Social Enterprise lead

  • Strategy and Vision lead

What skills do I need?

Trustees have a wide-ranging remit with some people leading on particular aspects, some playing a more general role. We are looking for people with experience and skills in the specific areas listed above, but we also welcome applications from people who want to develop their experience or who have a more general interest in SHRUB. We particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups, including but not limited to: people of colour, trans people, non-binary people and women.

Trustees are responsible for overseeing development of the strategic framework within which day-to-day tasks are carried out by staff and volunteers, and they help guide our long-term planning.

What is the time commitment?

As a voluntary Trustee, you will make some clear time commitments: to attend regular Trustee meetings (2 hours each month, currently on a Tuesday evening), and participate in staff support mechanisms.

Trustees will preferably participate in the work of a Working Group - attending meetings where possible and contributing to the direction and content of work.

Time off can be arranged among Trustees, ensuring that there is a balance between Trustees’ wellbeing and SHRUB Coop functioning. If you cannot make a meeting you can let people know. There is a Welfare Working Group to support mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of volunteers and members if you need support in regulating your engagement.

Who can apply?

Anyone who supports the Vision and Mission of SHRUB Coop is invited to apply. We particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups, including but not limited to: people of colour, trans people, non-binary people, other members of the LGBT+ community, and women.


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

SHRUB Coop is an exciting community-led project that works to make big carbon savings by increasing awareness on sustainability issues and solutions.

The Coop is organised non-hierarchically and strives to provide an inclusive and empowering experience for all volunteers, staff and members in our community. You can read our Safer Spaces policy here.

SHRUB Coop is registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) - working for a world without waste. Our purpose is the advancement of:

  1. Environmental protection and improvement by contributing to a Zero Waste Edinburgh

  2. Education by providing training and skill-sharing in all functions of the enterprise

  3. Citizenship and community development through active participation.

Our Constitution provides for Trustees to formally oversee the activities of SHRUB Cooperative and ensure we act in accordance with our purposes and the wishes of members of the Cooperative.

How Do I Apply?

To apply, simply save a copy of this form, fill it out and send it, with a copy of your CV, to, with the subject: “Trustee application”. Please highlight in the form which Trustee role(s) you are interested in and perhaps have skills and experience in.

Deadline to apply: 1st December at 5pm.

We strongly encourage all the people applying to attend our AGM and introduce themselves to folk on the day. New trustees will be elected by the members of the SHRUB at the AGM. Relevant contents of your form and CV will be shared with the membership for election purposes.

Any questions please email us at

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