Bray charity Five Loaves recognising the power of upcycling
THERE IS A CYCLE of recycling at the Five Loaves charity shop that begins with someone making a donation, and in the case of 2013 ended with the purchase of a house for the homeless charity.
Located at Bray Recycling Centre off the Boghall Road, people bring items into the store which may not be suitable for the recycling centre as they either clear out a house, or just wish to dispose of one piece.
One of their more recent initiatives, and a very visible ‘recycling’ component of the shop, is the furniture ‘upcycling’ initiative.
It was officially launched last October as a section in the Five Loaves shop. Old wooden furniture is given a new lease of life with sanding and a coat of chalk paint.
‘It’s amazing the way it actually turns out,’ said Annette Plunkett of Five Loaves.
As the old adage goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and a the Five Loaves shop there is a veritable treasure trove of beautiful items lovingly recycled by their team.
‘It has proven really worthwhile,’ said Annette. She said that the shop is in fact the main source of income for Five Loaves.
A lot of work goes into the projects to recycle the furniture and bring it to life by members of a community employment scheme. They work at the shop and have also done training in how to restore the pieces brought into the centre.
‘ The end product is not an overnight transformation,’ said Annette, who added that the items have been very popular.
After being rescued from being dumped and on their journey to another home where they will be for generations hopefully, the items of restored furniture also help people to achieve a new skill.
Three women have developed their skills in learning how to make the best of the tired and dated pieces.
Annette said that there is a huge amount of goodwill towards Five Loaves and the shop has been doing well. ‘We sell everything except children’s toys or electrical goods,’ she said.
Most of what they get is good quality, and fit for resale. ‘Almost everything we get in is saleable,’ she said. This feeds into the ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ model. When doing a clear-out at home, think twice about whether something should go into the skip, or whether someone else might find value in it.
Old cups and saucers can be crafted into bird-feeders or candles. Clothing beyond selling can be sold on in bundles by the charity. And all of that recycling generates an income for the organisation which supports the homeless people of County Wicklow.
The CE scheme helps others get back into employment, and at the start of the process, the original owner of the items can de-clutter without unduly damaging the environment.
Some of the upcycled pieces at Five Loaves.