Reduce and reuse

Please don’t take things to charity shops at the moment. Wait until they are open again and can accept donations, rather than leaving them on the street outside their doors.

  • stop them going to landfill
  • save the energy needed to recycle them
  • reduce the natural resources used to create new products.

For things that are past reusing, please see our recycling guide.


There is an active Freecycle group in Bishop’s Stortford. This is an online group where you can ask for items that you need or offer things that you are happy to donate. Membership is free. All items posted must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages

Library of Things

Instead of buying new, you may be able to borrow what you need from the ‘Library of Things‘ at Bishop’s House, Windhill. They say: “We are pleased to announce that your Library of Things now has a pressure washer, bread maker, steam wallpaper stripper, some beautiful hand tools, a six man tent, body boards, a carpet cleaner, a Sega Megadrive and many many more exciting things. And they are all yours to borrow!

Charity shops

Bishop’s Stortford has plenty of charity shops that will take clothing, books, DVDs and smaller household items. Ecco take larger items and furniture and also use proceeds from the shop to support the Parndon Wood Local Nature Reserve in Harlow.

Reuse centres

The Bishops Stortford household waste recycling centre also has a reuse centre where you can donate or buy larger items such as furniture.


Oxfam have a voucher scheme in conjunction with Marks & Spencer. Take a bag of donations to Oxfam and as long as there is an item of M&S clothing in it they can give you a £5 voucher to spend in Marks & Spencer. There are various conditions attached to the voucher. Very handy as they are next door! There are some terms and conditions to the vouchers.

H&M in Jackson Square accept clothing for selling on through the secondhand market, reuse as textiles, or recycling as fibres. They have a voucher scheme giving £5 to use towards your next purchase of £25 or more.


Spare food items can be donated to the Bishop’s Stortford foodbank at the Methodist Church.

Furniture and larger items

St Clare’s Hospice have a donation centre in Raynham Road. They accept a wide range of items for re-sale in their charity shops around the Herts and Essex area, and can also collect larger items by arrangement, but not ‘brown wood’ furniture as this is not easily re-sold. As with any charity shop, furniture and mattresses need to be clean and have appropriate labelling for fire safety. They can also accept fully working small electrical goods and television sets.

The Baptist Church can also take furniture for re-use. They have a warehouse and make things they store available to people setting up home e.g. people helped by the Winter Night Shelter. They do not take electrical goods.


There are libraries are in Bishop’s Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. This is the oldest reuse centre of them all and still the ideal way to reduce the number of new books that need to be printed.

Things change: please let us know if any of this information could be improved or extended. Contact us