Resource Use

ZWS Design Doctor prescribes greater reuse

A social media campaign to encourage Scots to upcycle and reuse furniture has been launched today (14 October).

The ‘Designer Doctor’ campaign – which will use the #DesignDoc hashtag – has been set up by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) and will use three Scottish designers demonstrating techniques and ideas for refurbishing old furniture to spread the message of reuse.

Each week during the eight-week campaign the designers – Emily Rose Vintage and Treemendus from Glasgow and Very Vintage from Edinburgh – will work to transform an item of furniture and post the details on Twitter and Facebook.

(l-r) Emily from Emily Rose Vintage; Sophie from Treemendus; Izzie Johnston from Zero Waste Scotland; Shauna from Treemendus and Jo from Very Vintage
Items used to demonstrate techniques and ideas will all be provided by a range of secondhand stores that hold the Revolve accreditation, a reuse standard awarded to secondhand shops that demonstrate high levels of service and of products.

At the beginning of each week, photos will be posted of an original item of furniture, and the three designers will suggest ideas to upcycle it. The public can then vote for their favourite idea, which will then be used to create the finished article, which will be uploaded with an accompanying ‘how to’ guide.

Videos and blogs will be posted on ZWS’s social media pages, and five in-store upcycling workshops hosted by one of the three campaign designers will take place at Revolve-accredited shops in Edingburgh, Irvine, Dingwall, Dysart and the Isle of Bute, which was last month made into a Zero Waste Town.

Members of the public will be able to ask the designers questions through Facebook and Twitter to help with their own reuse projects.

The campaign will also include a competition to win the chance to have a piece of furniture upcycled by one of the designers.

‘Secondhand need never mean second best’

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Scottish Environment Minister Aileen McLeod said: “The Design Doctor campaign is an ideal fit with the Scottish Government’s approach to creating a more circular economy in Scotland.

“Scotland’s Revolve programme is a great way to empower people to upcycle household items instead of throwing them away – and this is a concept that makes sense for business, industry, the public sector, and individuals. As we approach an expensive time of year in the run up to Christmas, this campaign is the perfect way to look at saving a bit of money and having the opportunity to be creative with some of your household items.”

Izzie Johnston, Reuse and Repair Manager at ZWS, added: “Our innovative Design Doctor social media campaign is all about encouraging people to overcome any uncertainties they may have about upcycling, and providing them with the skills and confidence to give it a try. The campaign centres around getting people involved and being interactive, so we’re really excited to see the results.

“Reusing things – whether that be through upcycling, donating unwanted items, or buying from reuse store – is one of the best options for the environment since it prevents waste going to landfill or simply being recycled. Upcycling is a particularly exciting aspect to this because it can add both aesthetic and financial value to an item.

“We really want people to realise that secondhand need never mean second best. Equally, there is a wonderful sense of pride, achievement – and even surprise – to be gained from producing something beautiful, unique and valuable for your home by upcycling something you already have.”

Furniture waste in the UK

At the beginning of this month the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) launched a consultation on measures needed to develop a circular economy approach to the furniture industry.

The organisation, which has over 300 members from the furniture industry, is exploring the business case for a circular economy that would target waste reduction through design, innovation, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling.

The consultation followed two September reports into furniture waste: the RSA Great Recovery project released a report proposing seven practical scenarios for redesigning furniture systems and closing the loop on bulky waste; and the Furniture Re-use Network’s (FRN) ‘Commercial retailers: Their impact on the reuse sector’ report highlighted the work that major retailers like John Lewis and IKEA have done to reuse goods and reduce waste.

Find out more about the #DesignDoc campaign.