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New quality standard aims to make ‘re-use shopping’ mainstream

Picking up top quality goods at affordable prices is set to become an even better experience for shoppers in Scotland, thanks to a new national quality standard for re-use organisations launched today by Zero Waste Scotland at the annual Community Resources Network for Scotland (CNRS) conference in Dunfermline.

24 Oct 12

A report1 also published today has found that, while 46% of us would hesitate to buy re-used goods due to concerns about quality and reliability, over 70% believe it can offer good value and is often cheaper than buying new. 

Blythswood Care, based in Ross-shire, and Fife-based Furniture Plus, are the first re-use organisations in Scotland to achieve the Revolve accredited quality status, after participating in the pilot phase of the programme and overhauling their operations to raise customer experience to a level which rivals high street shopping. 

20 other re-use organisations across the country are also currently working towards the Revolve accreditation, including the Bike Station outlets in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Aberdeen Forward and New Start Highland.  

Zero Waste Scotland has created the Revolve re-use quality standard to raise awareness of the country’s re-use sector and to increase shoppers’ confidence in buying previously-owned goods.   The programme is backed by around £650,000 investment in the re-use sector this year to continue to drive improvement measures.  This includes the creation of a national re-use phone line - 0800 0665 820 – to make it easier for people to donate goods to re-use and find their local re-use outlet. 

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said:

“Creating Revolve, a national quality standard for re-use organisations, is a significant step towards achieving our vision of a well-used sector of re-use stores known for high quality used goods.  Seeing the Revolve quality standard will reassure shoppers that goods are high quality and reliable, and that they should expect the same service as in high street stores.  I applaud the two accredited organisations so far, and look forward to others following suit soon.

“There are organisations the length and breadth of Scotland offering quality materials, from bikes to clothing to furniture.  It’s essential we support them to meet their full potential through this accreditation scheme.  It’s also important we helping people find reliable local re-use outlets too, which can be done using Zero Waste Scotland’s Re-use Phone Line – 0800 0665 820.” 

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland said:

“The overall aim of Revolve is to lead and develop a change in Scotland’s re-use organisations, giving them the advice, training and support to develop a business model which provides customers with an experience that is comparable to the high street.

“We essentially want to increase the appeal of re-use, develop a sector of customer-focussed organisations selling high quality products, and increase shopper’s confidence. This is vital if we are to make the best possible use of the resources we have. 

“Both Blythswood Care and Furniture Plus are fantastic examples of how this funding can help kick start this change in perception of re-use – both have already seen increased sales as a result of improvements made.  We’re looking forward to assisting more organisations.”

Scotland’s re-use sector diverts around 45,000 tonnes of unwanted materials from landfill every year.  It generates in excess of £20million per year, and creates over 700 jobs and over 5,000 volunteer posts or supported placements. 

Joyce Elder, shop manager of Blythswood Care said:

“We are delighted that Blythswood Care has now been awarded Revolve accreditation. Since we started the process towards gaining the title and launched the redesigned shop, we’ve already seen a boost in our retail trade and people have been commenting on how the shop is a lot more welcoming.

“We’ve improved our retail display space and reorganised the layout, giving the business a more customer facing, professional image. We believe these changes have increased Blythswood Care’s appeal, and helped attract customers who perhaps wouldn’t have considered buying reused goods before.

“We believe the reuse market is strong and growing, and look forward to building the business and passing on good practice to other organisations in the Revolve network.”

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