The benefits of face-to-face exchanges when it comes to re-using household items.

Passing items on to friends and family is a common mechanism for re-use which householders may not register as re-use in the same way that they do when done through more formal channels.  

Car boot sales allow residents to pass on unwanted but re-usable goods whilst making some money and in many areas are already well-established.

Jumble sales may be held as single events or as part of a bigger event such as a school fete and usually aim to raise money. These are particularly effective as part of larger events as more people may be attracted to them. 

Swapshops/Give and Take days can be community based projects or organised by councils. When organised by a community group they are likely to be regular events occurring fortnightly, monthly or quarterly. Residents bring their unwanted household items to a central point and swap it with other people’s items without the exchange of money. Where electrical items are included they will need to be PAT tested before exchange.

Clothes swaps events are very similar to Swapshops and Give and Take days. These events focus on swapping items of clothing, shoes and accessories rather than household items.  

Local Authority involvement

Many of these activities are led by the local community. As a local authority you can offer practical support to overcome any barriers and assist local groups to organise such events. 

Practical guidance and checklists for organisers can include: 

  • Permission and licensing – For example, as a local authority you will be involved with the potential licensing of car boot sales and providing advice to those who sell at car boot sales and similar events. Trading Standards have stated that there is no consensus among local authorities as to how car boot sales should be classified. You will need to check what your policy is.  
  • Venue/location
  • Health, safety and security procedures for the event
  • Advertising the event to ensure good attendance
  • Organising outlets (recycling/reusing/disposal) for unwanted items at the end of the event
  • Highlight places that provide support and advice