Recycling Saturday – Ayr

Helping people and the environment

by David Milloy

Operating since October 2022, the Recycling Saturday – Ayr scheme is the third such enterprise in South Ayrshire, following on from similar schemes in Prestwick and Troon.

Started by Frances Brown and Rosslyn Simpson, the scheme accepts donations of a variety of items which are then either recycled, upcycled or reused so as to benefit people and charities in Ayrshire and beyond. And with items finding new homes and/or new uses instead of being sent to landfill, there’s also a very positive environmental aspect to the scheme.

Operated entirely by volunteers, the scheme runs a ‘drop-off’ hour on the first Saturday of each month at Newton Primary school, to which people can bring items to donate. The use of the school as a drop-off point is due to the efforts of the school’s Head Teacher, Fiona McAvoy, in sourcing funding to enable it to be opened on one Saturday morning a month by the school janitor, Mariusz Grudzinski, whose hard work and support are of great assistance to the scheme.

The list of items accepted is considerable and is constantly evolving. Donated items are then used in a variety of ways in order to benefit a number of causes and persons. For instance, donated milk bottle tops are passed to Pathfinder Dogs, a charity which helps visually impaired people; stationery is passed to local schools; jewellery and watches go to Kidney Research UK; used stamps are passed on to Bone Cancer Research Trust UK; used fabrics go to sewing groups for upcycling; and blankets etc. are passed on by Newton Primary School to refugees and other needy families in the area.

As public awareness of the scheme has increased, its popularity and success has grown. This growth has, however, brought some challenges with it, not least the need for additional volunteers to help with tasks which include sorting donated items for onward transmission, distributing posters and flyers advertising the scheme, acting as traffic marshals to assist vehicles delivering items for recycling, and helping to deliver donated items. Likewise, the Troon and Prestwick schemes would also be more than happy to welcome additional volunteers to their ranks.

Storage space is also at a premium, and Frances would love to hear from any person or business who would be able to offer secure, clean, and dry storage for donated items.

The scheme is also keen to establish a drop-off point for small items in Ayr High Street. Accordingly, any shops willing to accept items donated to the scheme and set aside some space in which to hold them pending collection should get in touch with Frances. In the same vein, sponsorship opportunities exist for any person or body wishing to support the scheme.

Although there are differences between the three Ayrshire schemes in terms of the range of items they accept and the persons and causes they support, they work closely together in order to maximise their impact. In that vein, the role they play is complementary to that of the immensely valuable work done by charity shops in making a positive difference to people, animals, and the environment.

There is, of course, more that can be done. With that in mind, Frances is keen to hear from anyone interested in running a recycling scheme in Alloway or Doonfoot. Likewise, she’s happy to offer advice to anyone interested in starting a scheme elsewhere in Ayrshire.

The three Recycling Saturday schemes in South Ayrshire are:

Ayr – Newton Primary School, first Saturday of every month between 11.00 and noon. Contact: Frances Brown – recyclingsaturdayayr@yahoo.com

Prestwick – Outside Prestwick indoor bowling rink, Bellevue Road Car Park, first Saturday of every month between 10.30 and 11.00am. Contact: Betty McDonald –
recsatprestwick@gmail.com

Troon – Marr College car park, third Saturday of every month between 10.30 and 11.00am. Contact: Morag Mathieson – morag.mathieson48@gmail.com