Bringing new life to old clothes - putting sustainable development theory into practice.

Sustainable development lecturer Rebecca Smith tells us about her innovative new project to address textile waste.

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Rebecca Smith at The Bayble Exchange

The Bayble Exchange project

After ten years of teaching on the Sustainable Development programmes, I felt it was time to put theory into action, and the offer to have the use of an old historic shop in Bayble presented a perfect opportunity. The initial consultation stage was funded through a development grant from Scotland’s Climate Challenge Fund, Keep Scotland Beautiful, and I named the Community Interest Company that emerged from this ‘Roots for Low Impact Living C.I.C.’.

The Old Shop in Bayble first opened its doors In August 2020, with a focus on the exchange of clothes, books, toys, and other household items, in a bid to slow down the environmental impact of our collective consumer habits. We have since started selling a range of plastic-free/zero-waste everyday household items such as bamboo toothbrushes, shaving kits and cleaning alternatives to plastic brushes, as well as supporting the production and sale of locally made crafts. I was aware, however, that the modest interest in acquiring second-hand children’s and adult’s clothes would be far outstripped by the desire to donate volumes of no-longer-needed garments. To tackle this imbalance, the ‘Bayble Exchange’ project was born.

The project aims to take the excess clothes and textiles that are donated to the Old Shop in Bayble and turn them into desirable new products. During March 2021 we are looking to set up a creative team for repurposing this valuable but underused resource. With generous funding from the Crown Estates, we are delighted to be able to support three 30-week temporary contracts relating to the reworking, repairing, and reuse of unwanted textiles, and to provide an exciting opportunity for a designer, textile assistant and marketing media specialist to develop their skills. We hope this will result in a range of new, contemporary garments and other items, and to start off a conversation for how we might encourage greater sustainable textile use to the creative benefit of our island communities.

Find out more about these contracts (closing 22 March 2021):

Find out more about studying Sustainable development at LCC UHI: Sustainable Development BSC (HONS) & Sustainable Rural Development MSC