Every year at Leeds Festival, thousands of nearly new tents, camping chairs, sleeping bags and mattresses worth a considerable amount of money are left behind by festival goers. The variety and intertwining of these materials alongside other waste means it is impossible to recycle them, so without specialist collection they are all allocated to landfill.
This is an utter waste of resources. However, Festival Republic (who run Leeds and Reading festivals) allow community organisations who collect second-hand items to recycle them for not-for -profit and charitable purposes to enter the festival sites after the shows have finished, to enter the site to collect these items and redistribute them to those who can make use of them. Buy Nowt LS6 is aiming to be in the forefront of this initiative.
Introducing Buy Nowt LS6 and the Library of Things
Buy Nowt LS6 was one of the organisations granted access to the Leeds Festival site last year. We managed to salvage less than 1% of all the items – the rest went straight to landfill. We’ve decided that this isn’t good enough, so this year we have been encouraging community groups all over the city to join with us and to help to improve the recovery rate.
Buy Nowt at LS6 administers ‘a Library of Things’. This is a collection of ‘stuff’ that people don’t use very often but have bought for particular jobs or occasions, then had to discard because they don’t have sufficient storage capacity.
Libraries of Things typically contain tools, DIY stuff, painting equipment, camping equipment, event/party stuff, gardening stuff, and cooking items. Most of the contents of these libraries are salvaged from the community in which they exist. Some people lend items to the library because they are not currently using them but may need them in the future. Others donate them because they are doubtful that they will use the items again and want them to be useful to others rather than adding to the world’s refuse problems.
About 80% of the items at Buy Nowt LS6 were donated or lent to us by the public. The library is dedicated to making better use of resources that already exist in our community.
Please get in touch if you want to donate, or think you can reuse some of our stuff, either for local community organisations, or just for yourself or your family. We have a huge store of materials for you to choose from.
There are three of these libraries in Yorkshire:
Can you help us on 29 August?
Our next salvage is on Monday 29 August at the Leeds Festival site, Bramham Park. We will get approximately four hours on site to recover as much as we can. It’s a great way to acquire items for organisations – gazebos, folding chairs, camping equipment, food, hygiene equipment, blankets, sleeping bags –such items may be useful for groups like scouts and guides, or may be essential for charities working with homeless people and refugees.
You are welcome to bring your own car/van, or we may be able to put you in touch with someone who can offer a lift. If you have a car or van you are willing to lend to us, or to give other people lifts, please also let us know.
Once we have your details, we’ll contact you to make further arrangements. Please note that no under 18s are allowed on site, and that you will not be allowed on site unless you have boots and clothing that will protect you from the hazards present in the area. You will also need to consider the elements – be prepared for rain! Bringing your own storage containers is recommended.
You will need to fill in the relevant information form before turning up at the site.
Or if you’d like to go with your own organisation please email [email protected]. You will receive an email the Friday before with exact times and locations for your salvage slot. You will need to provide your own transport, hi vis clothing and sturdy gloves. People going onto the site will first have to complete a short health and safety training module online; we will send you the link. Organisation/personal insurance as isn’t necessary as the festivals’ insurance can cover this activity.
Setting up and supporting Libraries of Things
Those of us who are setting up Libraries of Things see our initiative as a small but important contribution to the global effort to prevent climate crisis, and to the offer of support to those whose budgets are being squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis.
We believe that is time society realises we really don’t have to keep buying so much stuff. So many resources are needlessly junked when there is far more use left in them because people don’t have opportunities to borrow or reuse, other than amongst friends and family.
Buy Nowt LS6 has been open for the past 10 months. We currently have over 2,700 members, over 900 items to borrow and have serviced over 1600 loans. We’ve saved our borrowers nearly £70,000 and 70 tonnes of carbon. Most other local Libraries of Things have a similar story.
We have so far helped a single mother to save £400 to resource a camping holiday for her children, which she wouldn’t have been able to afford without the equipment she borrowed from us. We’ve helped people to renovate houses they have moved into so they don’t have to wait months to save up the money to buy the necessary stuff and equipment; we’ve helped communities to resource events and helped parents to equip children’s birthday parties. We’ve provided equipment to help people to fix up their gardens and equipped students for their Duke of Edinburgh award.
The library is a resource that can enable people to do things they couldn’t have otherwise done for lack of relevant resources, unlocking peoples potential by removing barriers.
Invitation to join and volunteer
We welcome volunteers to work with us; please email us at [email protected] if you would like to join us. We can also offer advice if you would like to set up a Library of Things in your local area.
If you don’t have enough time to help us, you can still support Libraries of Things closest to your area by borrowing from and donating to them. And please, share this article with as many people as possible, to publicise our initiative. We hope that one day there will be a Library of Things within easy travelling distance of everyone in the UK, and just by making us known in your local area, you can help us to achieve that.