Good as new–but even the paint is recycled

IT LOOKS like any other immaculately redecorated house – gleaming walls, fresh carpet, latest kitchen gadgets.

• Picture: Ian Georgeson

But remarkably, everything used to remake the two-bedroom property is secondhand.

From the paint, to the carpet, the furniture and even children's toys, everything has been reused.

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And as a result, improving the empty property has cost about 1,500 less than it would using new products.

The house in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, has been kitted out by Community Recycling Network Scotland (CRNS) as a way to demonstrate the potential of using second-hand goods for environmental and financial benefits.

It will be open to the public tomorrow, ahead of Saturday's "Pass It On Day", a new national initiative aimed at encouraging people to reuse unwanted items.

Pauline Hinchion, chief executive of the CRNS, said:

"We wanted to show the good quality of reused furniture, paint and carpets, and open people's eyes to what's available out there across Scotland.

"It has massive benefits for the environment. It keeps a lot of these things out of landfill, and it saves on water and energy associated with making new stuff."

Ms Hinchion said she believes attitudes to waste need to change, so it is seen as a resource rather than as rubbish.

"We need to start looking back a couple of generations and think about mending stuff," she said. "Our throwaway lifestyle has to change. It has got out of control in the last decade or so."

The house in Hay Gardens is owned by social landlord Castle Rock Edinvar, which wanted to show how to revamp a property on a tight budget.

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The walls were redecorated using paint from RePaint Scotland, based in Glasgow, which collects leftover paint and blends it into 17 colours

Buying 60 square metres of Carpet from Glasgow's Spruce Carpets cost 500 less than new carpet. And the furniture, from the oven to the washing machine, bed and television, was provided by the Edinburgh Furniture Initiative.

Hay Gardens, Craigmillar, Edinburgh


Painted using 60 litres of recycled paint from RePaint Scotland in Glasgow, which collects leftover paint and blends it into 17 standard colours, diverting 150 tonnes of paint from landfill each year. Colours used at the Craigmillar house: white, sweetcorn, country green, duck egg blue, hot chocolate and sky blue.

Cost: 474.

Cost of mainstream equivalent: 665.

Saving: 191.

Extra benefit: RePaint donates 10 per cent of all paint collected through local authorities to community and volunteer groups.


Covered with 60 square metres of reused carpets from Glasgow-based Spruce Carpets, an organisation that refurbishes old carpets and makes use of offcuts, preventing 100 tonnes of carpet a year going to landfill.

Cost (including fitting): 200.

Cost of new equivalent: 700.

Saving: 500.


Second-hand from Edinburgh Furniture Initiative (EFI).

Cost: Cooker 65, washing machine 60, microwave 15, sofa and matching chair 140, double bed with mattress 85, wardrobe 20, TV 45, TV stand 30. Total: 460.

Cost of new equivalent: cooker 220, washing machine 200, microwave 25, sofa 220, chair 100, double bed 180, wardrobe 90, TV 130, TV stand 60. Total: 1,240.

Saving: 780.

Extra benefit: EFI puts its profits into projects that help people back to work and who are vulnerable to homelessness.


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Edinburgh-based charity Fresh Start is providing items such as bedding, curtains, electrical goods and pots and pans. Fresh Start provides these items free to people moving out of homelessness, using donations from people who are planning to send items to landfill.

Cost: Zero (but only available to people who qualify for Fresh Start).

Cost of new equivalents: duvets 100, curtains 200, kettle 30, cutlery 30, pots and pans 50.

Saving: 410.


Provided by Stirling-based Good Green Fun, a community-interest company that recycles and sells on at low cost donated children's toys, as well as clothes books and baby gear.

Cost: Doll: 1, train set: 3.50, Lego set: 50p, jigsaw: 1.

Cost of new equivalents: Doll: 10, train set: 30, Lego set: 15, jigsaw: 8.

Saving: 57.

'We need to embrace reuse to help tackle climate change'

THE Reuse House Makeover is intended to show off the great quality of reused furniture, paint and carpets available to everyone at low cost, and to raise awareness of all the reuse organisations working across Scotland.

These organisations are treasure troves of beautiful solid wood wardrobes and tables and more. They take unwanted items and use them to benefit others.

We need to embrace reuse and realise the true value of secondhand if we're to tackle the issues around climate change and depleting natural resources.

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That's why we've launched Pass It On Day. Everything we buy – from clothes to MP3 players – contains raw materials such as timber, minerals and oil that have been mined, felled or drilled.

It's then manufactured into the thing we buy, which we're then likely to throw away to be buried in the ground. This is madness. Raw materials are finite and won't last for many more generations. It also takes a lot of water and energy to mine, manufacture and distribute stuff. For example, making one 250g cotton shirt uses about 2,700 litres of water.

Buying secondhand saves all of the materials and energy that would have gone into making a new thing.

• Susan Wright is communications manager for Community Recycling Network Scotland.