HELEN BURTON: I love to rescue - and recycle - lots of things

Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001

Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001

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I love recycling. Maybe it’s because I hate waste or maybe it’s because I love a bargain but I love to rescue things that may otherwise be considered rubbish.

My favourite (and most comfortable) chair at home is one my Dad came home with from the dump many years ago. I had it recovered and despite one of our dogs chewing it as a puppy it still looks great. I think of the chew marks as part of our family history. There is a lot of family history in our house!

We needed a new sofa recently and I found most of the new ones I was looking at locally were expensive, boring and probably wouldn’t last that long. I turned to eBay and managed to get an original 1920’s Art Deco sofa for £200. Even after re-covering it, it will be less than I would have spent on a new one, and I get to choose the fabric myself. Hopefully it will be another item that I can keep forever too, and I love the idea that I have something a unique with a bit of history to it.

Have you ever been to the shop at Eastbourne’s waste recycling site in St Philips Avenue? It is a Mecca for the avid recycler. I once bought an entire collection of dolls from around the world there. Someone had obviously collected them over a lifetime of foreign travels, but they were being sold singly for a few pence each. I couldn’t bear to see the collection being split so I bought the lot for a tenner. My kids were terrified of them and I wasn’t allowed to keep them in our lounge but I still have them. Maybe now the kids are older I could get away with it again, although they scared some of my friends too!

A lot of the equipment at the Eastbourne Volunteers Community Hub is recycled, and it has saved the project a fortune. Furniture Now! have supplied the office furniture at a greatly reduced price. We also go a lot of smaller items from a council office in Brighton that was closing down, all we had to do was go and collect it. We even managed to colour co-ordinate everything! Every penny saved helps our funds to go further and we even managed to acquire an almost new kettle from the shopkeeper next door who was moving.

There are some great sites online for finding bargains but also many small shops around Eastbourne that are worth a browse. I particularly love charity shop finds, as I know that as well as recycling unwanted items, my money is going towards a good cause.

One of my friends is going to try to spend a year without buying anything new. I am in awe of her. It’s a great idea but I don’t think personally I could go that far. Something to aspire too though I guess, and we all need that.