When it comes to 'stuff' -clothes, appliances, furniture and everything in between- we're all guilty of stashing and wasting. So many perfectly good items get thrown away, just as someone else is buying them new.

By getting better at repairing, sharing, swapping and passing things on, we can connect to our communities to keep things in use for longer and reduce the overall volume of 'stuff' that is made, bought and thrown away.

Read on to find out how HCWP partners are promoting Share and Repair in their communities -and what services are available near you!

In this section: Sharing libraries | Repair Cafes


Sharing libraries

Sharing libraries are a great way to avoid buying things that you might only use a few times. They work just like a normal library, but instead of books, you can borrow a variety of handy items. This can save you the cost of buying, maintenance and storage. It also helps reduce the amount of 'stuff' in circulation and, by extension, the resources used in producing them and the waste and pollution created when they are eventually thrown away.



We're experimenting with a number of different sharing libraries for our communities including tool libraries, general 'libraries of things' and pools of reusable alternatives to single-use items. Learn more below.

Tool libraries

Lochaber Bike Tool Library

A tool library works just like a normal library but instead of books, you can borrow a range of tools and equipment when you need them, then drop them back when you’re done. Borrowing from a tool library means there's no need to buy, store or maintain your own tools in the first place. Even better, tool library tools are mainly donated, repaired and saved from going to landfill. Learn more about tool libraries here.

Lochaber Environmental Group now has a wide range of bike tools available for you to borrow on donation only basis. If they don’t have the tool you need, they will get it! 

You can join the tool library or to browse for tools, bikes and more here

Libraries of things

Caithness Asset Bank

Working in partnership with the Caithness Resilience Network and the Caithness Community Planning Partnership, Thurso Community Development Trust have created an 'asset bank' of handy equipment and materials for any community group in Caithness to be able to use. When planning activities and events it can be difficult and costly to find what we need or transport it to events. The idea of the Caithness Asset Bank is that we share.

To have a look at what's on offer and arrange a loan, visit the Caithness Asset Bank here.

Black Isle Library of Things

Transition Black Isle and other Black Isle community groups have began to pool together tools and equipment which can be lent out for community use and events. Inspired by the Clachworks Tool Library, Transition Black Isle are working towards creating a 'Black Isle Library of Things' where community groups and residents can borrow a variety of items to save them having to buy separately.

To share your ideas and get involved, contact Laura: laura@transitionblackisle.org

Reusable Cup pools

Broadford & Strath Community Company haves a pool of 500 reusable plastic cups that have mainly been used at local music events in Broadford Village Hall (4 gigs with a capacity of 350 at each) and weddings on an ad hoc basis. Cups are handed out to each person as they enter the venue. The cups can be used free of charge and guests are asked to return them at the end of the event. 

For more information or to borrow the reusable cups, email: waste@broadfordandstrath.org

Transition Black Isle and Rosemarkie Beach Cafe are working together to provide low cost ‘Keep Cups’ for sale to the public. Rosemarkie Beach Café is also part of the Highland Cup Movement promoting the reusable cup scheme encouraging customers to opt to use a reusable cup rather than purchase a single use cup. To add value to the work Rosemarkie Beach Café is undertaking, ‘Keep Cups’ are available for sale at the café at cost price of £6.50 (RRP £11.00) to make purchasing more accessible to all and encourage behaviour change. Keep Cups will also be available at the pop up Black Isle Repair Cafes. Transition Black Isle are also collecting mugs and cups at events to be part of our Black Isle 'library of things' which community groups and residents can borrow for events and gatherings instead of buying new. 

For more information, contact Laura: laura@transitionblackisle.org

Community Party Kits

Disposable items can seem handy when organising events, but they generate a tremendous amount of waste. The Party Kit has everything anyone would need for a party or picnic, from a few cups to a full dinnerware set with tablecloths, cake stand and decorations.

Most people only need these party items on special occasions, so a party kit saves having to buy and store items that are seldom used, or resort to disposables, that are produced, transported and sold, only to be used for a few hours before being discarded. As well as saving money, a party kit can be better for planet because it prevents single use items going to landfill.

Broadford & Strath Community Company have worked together with local businesses to create a unique party kit hire package like no other! All the items within the kit have been sourced second hand from hotels updating their crockery with other items obtained in collaboration with a local charity RagTag. They have created the most beautiful sets of napkins, tablecloths and bunting for all sorts of different occasions.  If you're looking to hold a small wedding, children's party or a corporate event then the party kit can be tailored to help make the event special. 

To find out more visit the Broadford & Strath Community Company webpage or email The Selkie Collective: contact@theselkiecollective.com

In 2023, Thurso Community Development Trust joined the Party Kit Network, a reusable party-ware non-profit Community Interest Company that allows people to hire items like cutlery, crockery and other table settings and decorations instead of buying and then throwing away disposables.

People near Thurso can order the kit from the Thurso CDT website.

Reusable Party Kit available for hire in Thurso

Thurso Community Development Trust, of the Highland Community Waste Partnership (HCWP), have joined the Party Kit Network, a reusable party-ware non-profit Community Interest Company that allows people to hire items like cutlery, crockery and other table settings and decorations instead of buying -and then throwing away- disposables.

Repair Cafés

Repairing initiatives support Scotland's move away from a linear economy towards a more circular economy, by keeping materials in use for as long as possible.

A repair café is a meeting place where visitors can bring in their broken items from home for repair. Tools and materials are made available and skilled volunteers are on hand to give advice and assist with repairs. Items that can be brought along include, furniture, electricals, garden tools, toys, clothes and bicycles.

Repair cafés are an opportunity to learn a new skill, meet new people and give household items a new lease of life reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. When repairs are not possible at the repair café, volunteers can suggest alternative repair services or recycling facilities.

The Black Isle Repair Café

Set up in 2022 as a collaboration between Transition Black Isle and the Black Isle Men’s Shed, the Black Isle Repair Café roams the community spaces of the Black Isle with the aim of making repair and reuse more accessible to residents. So far, it has visited Avoch, Cromarty, Culbokie, Fortrose, North Kessock, Munlochy and Muir of Ord. The café is run monthly by volunteers and operates via donations for both the repairs and the coffee.

To learn more, visit the The Black Isle Repair Café website.

Lochaber Repair Café

Inspired by the impact of the Transition Black Isle Repair Café in the Black Isle area Lochaber Environmental Group are working with the Fort William Men's Shed and The Workshop Studios at Lochaber Hope to provide a repair café service in Lochaber.

The first Fort William Repair Café was hosted on 7 October 2023. It was a huge success so another three provisional dates for Repair Cafés have booked for 2024.

Visit the HCWP events page for more information.

More volunteers are needed due to success of the repair café, so please get in touch if you can help.

Email newconnections@lochaberhope.org.uk to discuss volunteering at these events.


Resources and downloads


Zero Waste Scotland Repair and Share Guide

This guide includes the story of six repair and share projects to inspire you, as well as specific guidance on setting up your own organisation and marketing it. We begin with some top tips for success as well as linking to a host of useful resources for you to find out more at the end of the guide.



Circular Communities Scotland Share and Repair Network Leaflet

Circular Communities Scotland is delighted to launch their new Share and Repair Network Leaflet, detailing how share and repair projects across the country can ‘Join the Share and Repair Revolution’.

The leaflet outlines the network’s vision for every community in Scotland to benefit from access to sharing libraries and repair projects, and its mission to support and represent sharing libraries and repair projects across Scotland.



Zero Waste Scotland - What is a tool library?

Tool libraries work just like a normal library but instead of books, you can borrow a massive range of tools and equipment when you need them, then drop them back when you’re done. Zero Waste Scotland explains what a tool library is and how to get involved.


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