Swap Shop @ Turl St Kitchen

Come along to our Swap Shop!

  • Sunday 5th February, 2017
  • Turl Street Kitchen,¬†OX1 3DH
  • 11am – 2pm (10:30am if you have items to swap)
  • Open to everyone, students and townfolk

Bring along any clothes, books, and other items you have at home that you no longer need, but might be useful to someone else. Swap them for something new, and go home happy! ūüôā

If you don’t have anything to swap, you can always make a donation to the Circular Collective. Donate however much you feel the item you’re taking home is worth, or whatever you can afford. Your donations will help the Circular Collective create more events like this!

Get more details and sign up to the event using the link below…




Autum 2016: The Trailer Train, circular shed, the third trailer and etc.

We felt you would like to hear a bit more from us, so we put together an outline of our most recent updates, with further exciting details below!

  • The Trailer Train
  • The Circular shed
  • The Third Trailer
  • Micro-internships
  • Upcycling workshop
  • Student volunteer recruitment fair
  • Welcome to our new social secretary
  • PAT testing training
  • The Coffee Run
  • Get involved!
    • CAG Skillshare
    • Volunteer with us

The Circular Collection is gaining more and more traction. With a doubling of likes on facebook in the past six months, and by carrying around our leaflets for giving away when the group is mentioned in conversations, we are securing collections from beyond our groups of friendships ( friendship is a great way to start something). The JCR at Wadham College warmly donated us two loudspeakers and a mixing board, about 60cm x 50cm x 30cm each. Being short on collection volunteers, we had to be inventive – so we created the Trailer Train! Thank you Steph McGuire et al.


The situation in terms of space is also improving. Over the summer, our chairperson Alexandra Mates and Alistair Phillips of the Oxford Wood Recycling Centre have been building a shed made of reclaimed wood found around the skips of Oxfordshire. The shed was placed at our current base (Alex’s house), and finalised with a little patching-up in October. We couldn’t have made it without the magical skills of Alistair, and the help of various friends and enthusiasts РGabriella W., Tulum C., Maria F., Paul R., Zoe P., Elena J. and Robbie R., Andri, Kevin W. Рhuge thanks guys! We also thank all those who have supported us in spirit. We still have to build the shelves, so do get in touch by email or facebook if you’d like to be involved.

Early in October, with the help of Craig Simmons and Sam Hollick of the Green Party and their Ward Members Budget fund, we purchased our third, reused, trailer from ebay. We brought it home from Milton Keynes, named it Leaf, and it is now available for keen collection volunteers, solo or as part of the Trailer Train. Special regards to Craig and Sam, we couldn’t have done it without you!



Also in October and November, we have successfully partnered with Oxford University Students of various backgrounds, as part of the university’s 5 days micro-internship programme. The three interns will look at the collective with us, and work together to explore ways in which our group could develop as a social enterprise, and how it can engage with more partners and stakeholders. We are looking forwards to collaborating with them in December!


Ronja, the president of the Oxford Hub suggested to the Collective to participate and host an activity at their Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night at Hogacre Pavilion. We couldn’t say no, so we went! We hosted a most absorbing and enjoyable lamp and lantern upcycling workshop for the students and attendants, to keep the spirits bright and nights magical.

Also working with the Oxford Hub, we were one of the volunteering groups showcasing at the Student Volunteers Recruitment Fair. It was great spending time with our lovely committee and helpers, engaging with students, collecting emails in our emailing list, handing out leaflets, chatting to other groups such as OxGrow, Nightline and OUSU On Your Doorstep homeless action groups, but also to help the Broken Spoke Bike co-op by advertising their services and free-for-uni-people cycle safety training courses.

To save ourselves and you writing and reading time, here are some other news in brief. We welcome Lucinda Kenrick as our new *social secretary*!! She is also our lovely treasurer, and since our last meeting on the 23rd of October. We are also very looking forwards to our upcoming PAT testing training for those who have already expressed interest and signed up with Simon Kenton from the CAG Network. If you are also interested, please drop us an email and we can discuss! Last but not least of updates, we are very proud to announce that the Oxford Hub, Turl Street Kitchen and the Circular Collective are working in partnership to generate and support a student-led project, that will supply cultivation projects around Oxford such as Hogacre and Incredible Edible with freshly used coffee grounds. We called it The Coffee Run, and we are currently advertising to students this opportunity, again do get in touch.

On a future note, come with us to the CAG Skillshare on the 12th of November 10:00 Р16:00 at the Environmental Change Institute, Geography Department of Oxford University! Sign up is free for all, suggested donation of £5 on the door, but what a fantastic programme of workshop and talks they have. And as always, we are more than happy to welcome more members to the group Рthere is something for everyone, from running collections and deliveries, to organising events, to general help with anything. As a reminder, helpers have the right to claim two collected items a month if they see something they like from our collections.


Until next time, keep warm, bright, and resource efficient,

the CirColl crew

(links the various mentions to follow)

Awesome RWM NEC

The Resource and Waste Management exhibition happens every year in September at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. For the Circular Collective, the Circular Economy Connect Theatre is such a brilliant opportunity to see for free! … and to hear the big players in the industry sharing their expertise and opinions.



I had the chance¬†of seeing¬†charismatic Steve Lee, long-standing CEO of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, chairing a panel discussion on the future of Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations¬†(EPR) in the UK. These were adopted so that the ‘producers’ (manufacturers and sellers alike) of 1) packaging, 2) WEEE – waste electric and electronic equipment, 3) batteries, and 4) end-of-life vehicles pay for the environmental cost of these products at the end of their consumption. They can pay in two ways: 1) introduce their own take-back and treatment systems, or 2) must pay into a Producer Compliance Scheme – an agent that will take on that duty on their behalf. Fun fact: an Oxford based company named EcoVeritas provide companies and organisations with calculations and submission expertise for compliance with these regulations.

I was and still am a bit unclear when exactly these regulations were enforced in our country. They concept first legally emerged in the world in Sweden in 1990, introduced by Thomas Lindhqvist, and then the rest of the world picked up on the idea. From a brief research online, the first producer responsibility regulation dealt with packaging only, and came into force in 1997 in the UK. In 2014, then government published guidance on all four categories.

The panel consisted of key people in the sector, including Peter Jones – director of Ecolateral and former Director¬†of Biffa, Jacob Hayler of Evironmental Services Association (ESA), Mark Dempsey of HP, Dr Kieren Mayers of Sony Computer Entertainment, Lee Marshall of the local-authority group LARAC, and Paul Vanston of Cambridge District and City Council. The main outcome of the discussion was whether the panel and the room considered that EPR was the one great step towards a circular economy (yes), whether action any of them can be improved (yes), whether any of the four categories should be put aside (no), and whether the categories should be expanded (yes – but let’s make sure we nail these four first).


Another very interesting panel discussion –¬†Dr Adam Read from¬†Ricardo AEA chaired a conversation¬†on the value and difficulties of waste data. The panel consisted of lead figures from Constructing Excellence in Wales, Environmental Services Association, SUEZ waste management company, BRE construction company. Some key ideas¬†emerged, such as the greater need for data transparency (waste crime), accuracy, collection efficiency, collection towards a specific goal, standardisation, uniformity across the country, centralisation and managing data gaps are required. For my question on “what is your experience with waste, products and materials classifications”, the common theme was the difficulty that the¬†various waste players encounter when placing a ‘waste’ batch in a certain category, but there was no mention of how the classification itself is built. Another interesting point was the need for developing a method for monitoring reuse and repair activities.

One difficulty I had with the discussions was that I had the impression that it was assumed that auditorium is well informed of the background and essentials of the topic. For instance, I was keen to hear what official lists, codes or classifications the industry uses, who builds the classifications, or whether¬†classifications are constantly changing in order to meet the goals of circular economy activities. Therefore I asked the panel the following question “what is your experience with material and products classifications?”. I now realise I may have been slightly too vague, as most of the answers seemed to be in reference to bespoke projects that the speakers were on board, whereas I was hoping for a more nation-wide or Europe-wide answer.¬†If you were curious about the same thing, I have done some post-exhibition research, and¬†here is a good place to start – the European Waste Catalogue, transcribed in the UK as the List Of Waste. Nevertheless, my conclusion is that waste, products and material classifications may be very specific to individual projects.

Without going much into details for other aspects of the visit, here are some interesting keypoints, relevant for the Circular Collective and its followers:

  • I had a great chat to a person from the Furniture Reuse Network, who offer the same service as us (not only for furniture!), but at a national level and using motorised vehicles. We agreed that the best partnership we could have is refer to each other in case we cannot perform a collection due to the size of donation, and stay up to date with our developments.
  • I attended a very inspirational talk about recent commercial development for a more circular, socially and environmentally fairer world – check out on Jaguar’s REALCAR (recycled aluminium), VegWare compostable food packaging, and Interface’s Net-works carpet tiles made of ocean pollution fish-nets.
  • I had the pleasure of hearing from Joan Marc Simon from Zero Waste Europe on the EU’s stand on Brexit with respect to waste management – pretty much “sort yourselves out,¬†you’ll fall behind on zero waste because Europe is more driven in terms of environmental legislation, but if you want to talk and join a specific deal (no economic arrangement / EFTA / EEA) we will talk”.

Thank you for reading so far! I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll leave you with some pictures and captions of what they mean for the rest of the post.

Have great days,



The Theatre was in a cool indoors inflatable tent!


The outline of what the European Circular Economy Strategy wants

It’s been a busy month… so stay tuned!

Done and dusted

We’ve been up to a lot of things since we last told you a story!

The end of February was really cool. We fixed Bubba!¬†– our mascot lamp. It was given to us by Matt Molteno, the same friend who sparked the beginning of the Collective. The problem was that even with a new light bulb, it wouldn’t light up. We took it to Bicester Green’s #restartparty at East Oxford Farmer‘s market, alongside other donated broken electrical items. Restart Parties are one-off events where people bring their broken electrical goods and skilled people show them how to fix them. The solution was so simple! … and it just shows the absurd fate of many of the items we posses¬†… there was only a bad fuse in the plug. In three minutes, Bubba was as new. And we decided to keep him for the collective.

Stuart, Peter and Emma from Bicester Green, 'hosting the party'

On the 28th of Feb, we pitched our group idea at Project Soup. Out of the four bidders, we didn’t win… but a group who’s name I can’t recall now won. They deserved it in any case ¬†–¬†they provide healthcare assistance to refugees and asylum seekers who managed to enter the UK. We¬†were just happy to raise awareness about us, and to get to know the guys at Project Soup – organised the admirable Makena Lohr. We stood alongside:

2016-03-04 15.29.55

We didn't take pictures at the event, but here's Bubba reflecting back on it...

Mmmm, March was well nice. On the 9th of March, I (Alex Mates) represented the Circular Collective at the Resource Event and Exhibition at London ExCeL centre, publicised under the #thinkcircular tag. I must say, one of the highlights of the visit was to sit at the steering wheel of the first hydrogen-cell car prototype made by these guys in Powys, Wales! Aside from that, I attended four workshops, many companies and consortium groups were discovered, many interesting chats were held, including with:

  • the representative of Resource Futures¬†from Bristol – about us and the Oxfordshire Community Action groups – and received good feedback on our idea!
  • the representative for the¬†CLEVER arm of the CORE¬†Project
  • the representative for the RECODE_Network, Cranfield University – about redistributed models of production and consumption
  • representatives for Zero Waste Scotland


The following week, the team got together to prepare “Easter Recraft”, our very first upcycling and junk-modelling workshop. The preparation was fun, but the event even more satisfying. We made egg holders out of egg cartons and toilet rolls ^^, egg cozies, a what looks like a chicken, daffodills using scrap papier-mache, egg baskets using plastic bottles and textile patches, floral robots using old carton boxes and plastic straws, etc. Lots of fun for both kids and adults ūüôā

2016-03-13 20.03.24

2016-03-13 20.06.51

Thanks Robbie for the poster and The Bear & The Bean Cafe for the space!

We’re very grateful to all those who made this possible: Robbie Redfearn for the poster and lots of other help; Elena Jung for awesome organisational skills, gathering materials and lots of other help; Tulum Cruz for posting up posters and publicity on Daily Info; Gabriella Wale for planning and attendance; Anya and Emily Gurm-Villet for preparing examples and tidy-boxes, and helping with the kids; Lucas for attendance; Jack and Lucie for preparing examples with us, playing music in the background, and putting up with the storage of stuff!; John Skeffington and Paul Riggs for materials donations; Zoe and little Theo Shardlow-Geall, David Thomas and the young ones for attendance and fun. Last but not least, to the generous guys at The Bear & The Bean Cafe for the free space and great collaboration and support!

Who we’re incredibly grateful to though are councillors David Thomas¬† and Sam Hollick¬†(Hollywell ward) for their generous funding from their Ward Members Budget – now the Circular Collective can afford to acquire more reused trailers for any of you who would like to have a go at collections and deliveries.

To Come

Our next evolutionary plans are firstly to purchase more trailers grace to the funding from councillors David Thomas and Sam Hollick; but also we’re thinking of three important steps that would strengthen our presence in the community:

  • create and distribute posters to charity shops around Oxford, asking whether they would be happy to contract us as a collection service for their customers, and for maximising our audience
  • preparing neighbourhood leaflets to increase awareness of our presence and services, that include the logos of our sponsors
  • visit successful like-minded local commercial businesses asking whether they would want to sponsor us in exchange for publicity .
  • … and …
  • we’d love to run more collections for your local projects and for refugee camps volunteer groups such as Join the Dots Humanitarian Hub, Collect4Calais, Care4Calais, etc.

In terms of upcoming events, please visit our events page here.

… thanks for reading so far! We’d be more than happy to hear about what you think of any of the above, in the comments section below ūüôā


Second, first, first, …

This post is a recap of what’s been done and what’s to follow ūüôā

The month of February has brought to the Circular Collective a nice series of first time and second time events. Our 1st bank account, 2nd time at a swap shop, 1st time at an Agile-ox event, 1st management meeting, 2nd attendance at an external meeting and a 2nd attendance at an OxfordHub event, 2nd donation to Emmaus social enterprise for the homeless. Coming up are a 2nd attendance at an Agile-ox (+Tandem Festival) event, 1st at an event organised by Bicester Green, 1st at Project Soup! Before we get into more details on all these, it’s worth breaking the binary circle of ones and twos and say that this month we’ve celebrated our 11th collection!

Why focus on the past when the future ahead is so bright. So let’s start in more detail on the events to come.

Agile-Ox¬†is a fairly “new project based at the Environmental Change Institute, working to connect environmental research(ers) from the University of Oxford with others across Oxfordshire, to increase opportunities for collaboration and maximise our contribution to the county‚Äôs environmental futures.”. Their Climate Culture: Making the Anthropocene¬†offers “an introduction to the Anthropocene and to explore the interaction between artistic expression and some of the current scientific thinking on the environmental impact of humankind.” They’re doing this in collaboration with the Tandem Festival crew, so it should be very interesting! 19:00 – 22:00 | 26 February | Turl Street Kitchen OX1 3DH

Bicester Green‘s Restart Party! ¬†“Bring your small electrical items to be repaired by Bicester Green experts! There will also be refurbished electrical items available for sale.” Come, come, this should be great! The Circular Collective will bring some of the items we collected, but feel free to bring your own. 10:00 – 13:00 | 27 February | East Oxford Primary School

At Project SOUP, people eat soup, meet new like minded people, and listen to the presentations of other four groups that have just started in Oxford. Circular Collective is one of them! Come join us to hear more about what we’re / we’ve been doing, and to support the other groups too. To my knowledge, one of the other successful groups so far has been Think Tiny. 19:30 – 22:00 |¬†28th February |¬†East Oxford Community Centre

*** … thanks for reading! Stories of past events coming soon… stay posted on our blog!¬†***



We have lift off!

The Oxford Circular Collective saw its launch on Saturday 30 January 2016 at the Restore Caf√© off Cowley Road ūüôā

2016-01-30 13.38.062016-01-30 13.38.09

It was great to see people from all backgrounds – those who have watched and helped the collective grow by putting ideas together and helping with organising events, those who’ve acted as upstream household clients and who have helped us test out the waters of the first collection rounds; members of other local groups such as Abundance and OxGrow, members of Oxford’s Broken Spoke Bike coop, of the Oxford Hackspace, and the president of Oxford Hub; city councillors affiliated with the Green Party, coordinators of the CAG Oxfordshire network, and graphic designers. But most importantly, we were honoured to enjoy the presence of a special guest – Rebecca Colley from Bangor University’s Sustainability Lab, former chairperson of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Wales whose experience in the field of the circular economy and sustainable solutions brought invaluable insights into what the Collective can be.

The day started with tea, coffee, biscuits and light music DJ’ed by Jack Barnett, like any pleasant day should start. People had the chance to get to know each other, find out more about the local sustainable culture of Oxford, and to build connections.

2016-01-30 11.24.29

Alexandra MateŇü, the chair and founder of the group, held a half-hour presentation introducing the who, why, what, what next of the group. The main message was that the Collective seeks to grow beyond just an idea towards the implementation of a local charitable circular economy and towards the ideal of being an exemplar approach to how a global circular economy can be implemented. By acting as middlemen for charities and reuse-repair-upcycle organisations, resources can once again flow and their value can be reflected in a more prosperous environmentally and socially friendly society. All this while we have fun working together, staying active and informed, and enjoying a pleasant atmosphere listening to live music played by local artists at our sorting sessions and other events!

The presentation was followed by a very engaging discussion on a few important aspects of the collective. Some of these include rethinking the message of the collective from “we collect anything that fits in a bike trailer” to “we collect anything that you think may be reused or repaired by our downstream partners”. This would ensure that we are doing things right from a legal point of view and can continue to provide a valuable, feasible service. The fate of recyclable items were also discussed, and one of the points raised on this topic was the possibility of acquiring a waste carrier certificate, or other forms of permits.

David Thomas, Green councillor for the Hollywel ward pointed out that there are funding possibilities from Oxford’s councillor community funds, and there are good chances that the Collective may find a workspace home in one of Oxford’s Community Centres. Our attendant involved with OxHack stirred up our enthusiasm suggesting that Oxford Hackspace may be soon looking into hosting Oxford’s first program of repair caf√©s. Ronja Lutz from Oxford Hub introduced the organisation that she presides and showed great interest in initiating a collaboration – either through promoting the collective to Oxford University’s network of student volunteers as an activity to be involved in, or as a starting point to obtain / pass forwards items that they need / no longer need at move-in and move-out of Oxford.


The day ended with a very pleasant lunch at the event organised by the Food Surplus Cafe, one of Oxford’s other Community Action Groups. The FSC takes (mainly vegetarian) food from Oxford’s Food Bank (who in turn take it from local supermarkets who would have otherwise wasted it), cooks it up and serves it to anyone who happens to know of the event or to pass by, and accept a pay-as-you-feel contribution. We met there many more such lovely people and told them our story of the day, and heard their stories of the day heard.

Soooo … thanks for reading so far!

If we’ve got your interest and would like to stay in touch, we’d love to have you with us! You can sign up to our emailing list or request to join our facebook group. You can leave your comments in the section below, you can join us at the next events we’re thinking of attending, see what it means to be a member here, or you could spread the word of this post ūüôā

Happy circularity, yours,

The Circular Collective team

 Tulum with an artichoke | Ronjua with a goody food box

PS: apologies for not getting around to doing an official count of the clothes bag, but happy to say that the *lucky winner* of a request of a *solid gold hat* is … Johnny Fill! ^^


Swap shop

On Saturday 16th January, Alex took quite a lot of the week’s collected items to the South Oxford Community Centre swap shop, following the invitation of Sue Colclough from the Green Party. The event was hosted by Low Carbon South Oxford, who managed to redirect 529kg out of the 530kg of the collected material away from landfill. The items were either picked up by swap-shoppers on the day, or sorted into items that can go to Age UK charity or to recycling at Redbridge.

The Oxford Circular Collective’s contribution to this amount was 18.8kg of reusable or recyclable clothing, shoes, cables, homeware, bric-a-brac, computer electronics and VHS video tapes. Most of the remaining items collected this week were delivered the following day to Barnados charity shop, 5.8kg, leaving us with a current grand total 15.3kg of wood, used cosmetics, broken electricals, VHS tapes that will eventually find their way into repair or recycling, and just one kilogram to landfill.

If you were wondering what can one expect from a swap shop, here are a few pictures and captions from the day:

Skiiddii with the sorted stuff in it
Two of the donated items categories – homeware and VHS tapes
A feel for the swap shoppers’ community
Left: first bit of publicity; right: Tony doing the PAT testing of electrical equipment
Left: with Sue Colclough, founder of South Oxford Swap Shop; right: co-organisers holding the only one landfill item


See you at the next swap shop! To meet us there, keep an eye on our Events calendar ūüėČ

The first iteration story

At the beginning of autumn 2015 I was chatting to a friend named Matt Molteno over a pint in the Big Society in Cowley, Oxford about my idea for the Circular Collective. He was really excited about it and gave me some very good pieces of advice, the best one being “just do one iteration and see how it goes, learn from it”.

Now the first iteration’s been completed and I’d like to share with you the story :-).

First, I needed to buy a bike trailer. I considered that doing this at my own expense as a start would be best, so I searched on Gumtree and I found a really nice one around London Seven Sisters Road, from a girl named Renata from Brazil who had been using it to sell authentic stuff such as clothing and gifts from her homeland. She would take her items in the trailer and sell them in Camden and Shoreditch markets. I took the Oxford Tube to Shepherd’s bush, then the underground to Manor House where she lived. She was packing up to return to Brazil to spend the winter in a summer world, where she’d help her group make more items. Eternal summer lifestyle! Sweet. The purchase went smoothly, and the underground trip to my friend’s place where I would stay over the weekend in Ealing was not too … heavy.

Once back in Oxford, I installed the trailer and asked Jack my housemate to take some silly pictures. Here’s one of them:

2015-12-16 21.13.11


A few days later, it was time to undertake the first full iteration. But before getting in the thick of it, I felt that a more detailed survey of the target charity shop clusters (Cowley Road and Templars Square Shopping Centre) would be beneficial in order to find out about their preference in items, and whether they would like to sign up with us as downstream client organisations. Jackson Smith whom I know from Oxford Lindy Hoppers was kind enough to offer support, and together we made a good impression and raised the interest of all shops, despite the fact that not all managers were not in the office to confirm the sign up process. We managed to talk to Age UK, Barnados, Helen and Douglas, Shaw Trust, British Heart Foundation, Sue Ryader, and Emmaus.


A good start should start with a good approval and in good safety, so the next step was to head to the Oxford Broken Spoke Bike Coop to purchase a couple of rear read lights for the trailer, and to show the centre-piece to the creator of the idea itself, Johnny Fill. It was endearing to see the enthusiasm he still maintained for the concept! Thank you Johnny, without you we would have probably still be struggling with popularising car collections as opposed to bike collections, and no one would have ever been interested in participating!


When the time for the collections came, I guessed that asking a few friends in a facebook chat to help with the first iteration would minimise the risk of things going a bit too wrong. Thank you Anna Pitt, Sam Coates, Cat Hobbs and Matt Molteno for booking the first collections! It was really easy to find your places on google maps, really nice to see your positive perception of the service, and your items and financial donations were most welcome.

The most valuable lesson for the entire iteration was that the capacity of the trailer must be known before collections, and the booked quantity of materials too. We found that the best way to quantify this, the best measure that is easiest for both collectors and donors is using the ‘bagful’ method. We discovered that the capacity of our current trailer is twelve full small carrier bags, or six large carrier bags. As in the type of carrier bags you would get when doing groceries shopping such as a Tesco bag.


Back at home – our temporary workspace – the sorting process began. While sorting, Lucie Kenrick (our treasurer) and I brainstormed for the best way to categorise the items. To be honest, we didn’t put that much effort into it as what we really wanted to do is to watch the next episode of Game of Thrones :-D, but we did manage to have a look at the items and a good feel for what we collected. On this round, we had quite a lot of clothes, some shoes, bric-a-brac, electronics of unknown working condition such as phones and cables, books, board games, dead lightbulbs and dead batteries. Paul Riggs is another one to acclaim in this process, as he’s taken both of us to IKEA Milton Keynes where we bought a whole load of pretty damn good value transparent plastic boxes for sorting! On the way back, he honored us by saying that what we’re doing is pretty much what the Wombles of Wimbledon Common do ^^ Coolest thing I’ve heard this month!


We weren’t sure whether we should separate items into ‘Reusable’ or ‘Repairable’ or etc, as we weren’t sure which ones could be classed as such before consulting with the receivers, especially for electronic items. Luckily, by volunteering in the stock room with Barnados charity shop on Cowley road, I was able to determine whether this type of sorting is needed or not. The answer is that I will find out in time, by volunteering some more with them. But the main idea is that while most charity shops will not accept electronic items (but will accept other types of reusable items), those who do (Barnados and Emmaus) will PAT test the items themselves, and so it does not striclty matters whether we supply them with working / broken electronics. As for clothing and other products, it is desirable that we supply them good quality items, but in case they aren’t, they have their own sorting systems in place. While for now that is a relief, the Circular Collective will strive to know and understand the working condition of each item, and channel them into the correct circular loop – reuse, prepare for reuse, repair, recylcing – and in the future to put into place systems such as PAT testing and cleaning in place to ensure each item receives the right treatment for its value.

In the end, we have donated the electronic and electric equipment to Barnados charity shop, and the clothes, shoes, board games and books to Emmaus Superstore in Marston. With Emmaus we have completed the first iteration of the Circular Collective system, celebrating the partnership through a nice picture with Kelly, one of the managers, in front of their logo ūüôā


We are now looking to continue our collections and perform multiple iterations. Our new year motto (at John Skeffington’s and Ana Iugulescu’s suggestion) is “Out with the New, In with the Old!”. If you’d like to help us and others, we warmly invite you to book a collection with us under the Regifting programme – see post pinned to top of wall :-).

Our quest to improve the system does not stop here! With the help of my brother Petru Mates, we have initiated drawing a mind map of the components of the collective and a Process Gantt Chart. With the enthusiasm of John Skeffington, our communications and outreach officer, we have initiated discussions on how to perfect the concept of the collective. With support from Tulum Cruz, our deputy treasurer, we have come to life as one of Oxfordshire’s CAGs. With the determination of our Treasurer Lucinda Kenrick, we have opened our CAG bank account. With your use of our service, we can ensure that we will generate revenue for charities and bring a significant positive influence to the local community and an invaluable help to our charitable organisations. With the coordination of Peter Lefort from CAG Oxfordshire and of other partners, we will ensure that the CirColl is on the right track!


Thanks for reading,



PS: for updates on what’s been going on since the last post, see our History Page ^^

Meanwhile, in Lagos…

Yesterday Henry Owen from CAG Oxfordshire kindly agreed to meet for one hour to brainstorm how to get the collective started. The hour flew by, and at the end The CirColl was left with a few great recommendations.

The best way to keep members and volunteer involved is to inspire and empower. To apply this principle at this point, we shall make website comments available for each page and we shall start informative and fun gatherings for potential volunteers and members on the topics of the circular economy, recycling, sustainability.

Other important points that need addressing at this moment is finding a Space to work from; setting a clear aim; make best use of CAG Oxfordshire’s support –¬†advice, networking, training, advertising, impact modelling tool, etc; refining our collection categories in lines with current economic trends and difficulties; continuing contacting key partners and collaborators.

But Henry also let me know that, meanwhile in Lagos, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, the founder of Wecyclers (who holds an MBA from MIT USA) has been working on a very similar project of her own! Great stuff, Henry ^^