Circular Collective, also known as “The Oxford Circular Collective” was set up in December 2015 as an unincorporated community action group (CAG) under the CAG Oxfordshire Network. The group was set up to exemplify a unique circular business model that would eliminate waste by ‘taking things back into the system’, by finding the maximum value of used ‘waste’ items, be it reuse, recycling, or energy recovery. This was done via our booking service for reusable, repairable, and recyclable household items. The items were collected in bike trailers, sorted into circular and type categories, then delivered to local charitable reuser, repairer and recycler organisations. The vision was to create a circular zero waste culture, moving away from the take-make-dispose economy towards a regenerative circular economy.
The group ran this model for one and a half years, out of a ‘circular’ shed built at the back of the house rented by the chair of the group, with the help of community members using reclaimed wood! We managed to collect more than one tonne of used stuff and send it to the right place! 87% of stuff was sent to reuse, 1% to repair, 12% to recycling, and 0.4% to incineration energy recovery. And it was great fun riding our trailers! See our blog for pictures and stories. Not just this, but we also managed to organise tons of events such as swap shops, upcycling workshops, repair cafes and more.
Yet we didn’t feel confident enough that ths would be a viable business model (perhaps we were too afraid of asking our upstream clients for donations!). Thus we came across the concept of libraries of things, we got really excited about them, and we started on a new path: Circular Collective to provide a LoT service instead.
The aim of the LoT project is to create a sustainable service that enables its members to ‘borrow’ (rent) instead of buying items that are only sometimes needed – such as DIY tools, outdoor and sports equipment, etc. This way, we aim to help people to avoid waste, to save space, money and the environment, to learn new skills by using or repairing the items, and in the process to encourage other aspects of community.
While it will have its own local character created by its coordinators and members, the Oxford LoT is conceived along the lines of other ‘libraries of things’ and ‘tool libraries’ that exist in other cities, towns and countries around the world, such as the SHARE Frome library, London Library of Things, The Sharing Depot – Toronto, or Leila in Berlin.
Find out more at our new website: http://www.shareoxford.org!
October – November 2015
- Initiated conversations with potential partners and collaborators such as Broken Spoke Oxford, Cowley Road charity shops, the Community Action Groups Project, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Orinoco scrapstore, Emmaus Oxford charity, community centres and other spaces
- Strengthened our community network – CAG Oxfordshire, CAG Skillshare, Council Recycling, Abundance Oxford
- Purchased our first bike trailer on Gumtree, became a Community Action Group, and commenced our collection and delivery activities
- Started presence on trashnothing.com
- Launched the group at the Restore Cafe on Manzil Way. Special Guest – Ms Rebecca Colley-Jones of Bangor Sustainability Lab and Ynys Resources Ltd.
- First hosted event – Easter Re-Craft Upcycling workshop for families at the Bear and the Bean Cafe
- First Strategic Development open general meeting
- Decided to ‘evolve into’ a Library of Things
- First Annual Report
- Start of Towards Oxford’s Library of Things meetings
- Library of Things space secured at Makespace Oxford
- The Oxford Circular Collective becomes ‘SHARE Oxford – A Library of Things’
- First SHARE Oxford Open Meeting – gained 11 new community group members!