ANOTHER PERSON’S TREASURE: Vicky Rowe, at the Reuse Shop, at Stainton Grove, is hoping to encourage more people to pop in
ANOTHER PERSON’S TREASURE: Vicky Rowe, at the Reuse Shop, at Stainton Grove, is hoping to encourage more people to pop in

ITEMS once destined for the skip but with plenty of life left in them are proving to be a big attraction at a shop aimed at reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.

The Reuse shop, which is part of Durham County Council’s £3million custom-built recycling centre at Stainton Grove, opened two months ago and has been doing a brisk trade ever since.

Vicky Rowe, manager at the recycling centre which is run by HW Martins for the council, is keen to get the word out so more people can take advantage of the offers and help the environment.

From the outside the Reuse shop looks rather utilitarian, but step inside and it’s a veritable Aladdin’s cave.

Stock varies from day to day depending on what goods Ms Rowe and her staff salvage for sale. When the Mercury popped in last week it was filled to the rafters with all kinds of goods – from CDs, leather sofas, vintage mirrors, golf club sets, toys and books to unopened toiletry sets, mugs, ornaments, pictures, lamps and even televisions.

There were chairs from garden seats and almost new baby pushchairs, as well tools and trinkets.

Ms Rowe said: “It’s amazing the things we have managed to save from landfill. Everything we get goes to the workshop and it gets fully cleaned and checked to make sure it is working. Anything electrical is PAT tested on site so it’s functional. Items we get in regularly we will put to one side, even if they are broken, because we can strip them down and use the parts to repair others for the shop, rather than put into landfill.”

As well as salvaging the goods, Ms Rowe said items can be donated directly to the shop to ensure they have a “second life” with new owners.

She added: “Since opening we have recycled about 86 per cent of the waste that has been brought in and the shop is really helping us reach that figure.”

Ms Rowe said the shop also helped people who don’t have a large amount of money to kit out their homes.

“I just wish this had been around when I was setting up house for the first time,” she said.

“We have a lot of customers who just can’t afford to pay high street prices and they have managed to get some real bargains. We had one gentleman who said he had been looking to buy a new lawnmower but couldn’t afford to pay £200 for a new one. We managed to sort him out with the same model, slightly older and used, for only £15.

“I’m also trying to develop a package-style scheme for customers who are starting out in their first home. We managed to help one customer kit out her living room for £40 and that included a leather sofa and television, which is just great.”

Ms Rowe and her team have even taken on a few up-cycling projects, painting previously unloved items to giving them a new lease of life.

Ms Rowe said there are already a number of familiar faces who pop by to see what has been brought in.

Prices start at 50p for smaller items and a couple of pounds will pick up a rather nice pouffe. The most expensive item Ms Rowe has sold was a television at £30.

She added: “I’ve begun to recognise a few regulars and one thing everyone always says is the stuff we have is so cheap. But I don’t want to put the prices up as it’s a valuable service for a lot of people and everything we sell here means it’s not going to landfill, which can only be a good thing.”

The Reuse shop is open from 9am to 6pm seven days a week during the summer and 9am to 3pm in the winter.