Did you know that a whopping 300,000 tonnes of our clothing ends up in landfill every year?
It’s an incredible amount and a sobering one given the current climate crisis, which makes the Big Pick clothing shop in East Lothian so exciting.
I popped along to its launch earlier this year and stumbled into a room packed with rails of dresses and jackets, shelves of shoes and a bill that only came to around £1.50 an item once I’d laden a huge pile on their scales.
The founders, a company called Miixer CIC, divert over 30 tonnes of material from landfill every month and sell them in this lovely social enterprise boutique by the kilo.
With shops like the Big Pick, it means that not only is clothing being saved from landfill – it is being sold at such low cost that the team there hope to eradicate clothing poverty in their area.
They offer school uniforms for free and work closely with local food banks to make sure everyone who needs new clothing gets it. They’re also not a charity. They are self-funded and hire in the local community offering the living wage – not the minimum wage to their staff. They also hope to expand to other communities in Scotland.
I think I got about five dresses that day and a jacket for just under £9 – it was also the day I made a pledge to try a more eco-friendly way of shopping and to try and raise awareness of what projects like this can achieve in their local community.
For the last 100 weather forecasts I have broadcast for STV, I am happy to say that I have managed to wear outfits from Big Pick or from local Scottish charity shops on air.
I’ve loved all of them and cared for all of them, so even if I eat too many mince pies this winter, they are still in good enough condition for me to pass on to the next keen zero waste shopper if they don’t fit me anymore!
The comments from viewers have all been really positive too, with many offering great tips and advice on where to get great second-hand clothing in Scotland.
I don’t think it’s a surprising reaction. Us Scots live in one of the most beautiful part of the world, alive with forests, lochs and mountains – and we know it.
I think we are quick to pick up on anything that might help protect that environment and each other – and we’ll do it proudly too, be it a plastic bag scheme, a bottle deposit or embracing secondhand clothing.
As one of our viewers commented to me today: “secondhand doesn’t mean second best”.
If you are aware of a zero waste initiative in your area that you think deserves to be reported on please get in touch by emailing [email protected]