Hello everyone! We hope that you’ve all managed a little sun on your skin or perhaps even some sand between your toes over the summer.

In this 10th edition, Treehouse member Nicola talks candidly about repairing and re-using. We hope you find it inspiring. If you are new to us – thanks for joining. Please consider sharing it with your friends and family. Links to our previous newsletters can also be found below. 

The Treehouse Gang.

#010 - Make second hand the first choice

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In November this year the UK hosts COP26. With a lot more clarity now about the dangers to humanity of exceeding 1.5C of warming, this is a vital opportunity for the international community to get together and crucially deliver on cutting emissions.  As ‘Joe Public’, all of this can sometimes seem way beyond anything we can influence or contribute towards – but we can all make a difference… every tiny fraction of carbon reduction has to be a positive step. So in the run up to this summit, The Treehouse will be talking about practical steps we can all take to reduce our CO2 emissions, whilst striving to live kinder and greener lives and (literally!) helping save the planet.

It’s reported that 183 million items of good, outgrown baby clothing is stored away in UK homes. If each of the 750 000 babies born in the UK every year wore just one item of second-hand clothing, we could save 320 tonnes of carbon and 600 million litres of water annually. 

A few years ago my family and I set ourselves the challenge to make pre-owned our first choice. Before every purchase we would ask ourselves, ‘can we find that second hand?’ Over the last 5 years we’ve learnt that everything (yes, everything!) can be found second hand.  

I’m often asked if this approach is time consuming, or if it involves a lot of compromise. Both can be true. But there is a positive here - the search process also offers breathing space and a chance to reflect on the degree to which we need the item at all. It makes us think more about our purchases. Whilst compromise is sometimes in order, shopping second hand can have all the buzz and excitement of buying new. Bagging a pair of nearly new Veja trainers for £25 (instead of £120 new) and an organic designer dress for £30 (instead of £85) shows that with some flexibility you can find some gems that don’t feel like compromise at all! 

Shopping second hand online can take time, but a few simple ideas can dramatically speed up the process.  Focusing your search on what you really need is the key.  Be specific with your search terms including brand, size, gender or material for example. If you feel like you’re missing out on the shopping experience, I think it helps to keep a record of your favourite brands and online sellers and search specifically for them. This helps to replicate the familiarity that routine shoppers on the high street enjoy.

Locally charity shops continue to be a great source of second hand but it's online shopping forums (such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Depop, Vinted and eBay) that have extended the local and national second hand market substantially. Specialist online sellers, especially of high-end fashion have witnessed a huge upsurge in popularity through platforms such as Instagram.  Some sites are now amassing thousands of followers eagerly awaiting the next ‘drop’ of second hand wares.  
Specialist second hand shops help to solve some of the issues around locating specific items, a common frustration for those who find themselves trawling through catch-all sites and physical shops. Little Cherubs, based in Adlington and Hazel Grove are doing just this and offer a huge range of pre-owned (but very often new or nearly new) toys and baby clothes from age 0-8. I spoke with Kath and Charlotte there about the value of reviving and passing on played with items. They explained how choosing ‘pre-loved’ has significant money saving and environmental benefits, without meaning a compromise on choice. Kath and Charlotte have seen a significant shift in the attitude of shoppers towards second hand and most encouragingly, an increase in those buying pre-loved as gifts. They also stressed their child-led shopping experience ethos, explaining that they encourage children to play with items in the shop, allowing parents to take their time over purchases and abating some of the challenges parents face when buying new.  

Whilst second hand allows you to buy items cheaply surely there’s an added satisfaction in knowing you have picked up an item that still deserves to be cared for and passed on third, fourth, fifth hand and which hasn’t cost the earth too? 
An alternative to replacing an item is to repair or to borrow. Bollington Borrowers (located on the site of The Good Wood Co, opposite the Post Office on Wellington Road) will soon be opening its doors and offering an assortment of tools and domestic items for loan. Libraries are popular for baby items too, and Macclesfield Babywearers Sling Library and East Cheshire Cloth Nappy Library offer expert advice and suggestions of where to buy second hand alongside the hire. Renting baby clothes, already very popular in several Scandinavian countries, is starting to gain momentum here too, although there’s nothing local as of yet.  

Repairing household items like bicycles, clothing, electronics and mechanical devices is set to become much easier with the opening of the Macclesfield Repair Café on Saturday 11th September 2021. Normalising repairing, rather than replacing is gradually gaining traction, especially in the fashion world with brands such as Toast offering free online workshops on ways to repair clothing.

Maybe for your next purchase you can ask yourself, ‘can I make second hand or repair my first choice?’ 

Further Links:

The UN Climate Change conference takes place on 31st October and runs for 12 days. Read more about COP26, find out more about the latest IPCC findings and read the full report

You can find out more about the groups discussed by visiting Facebook: To find other sling libraries in out area or nationally go to The Macclesfield Repair café can be contacted at, Facebook @maccrepaircafe, and Instagram @macc_repaircafe.

Help spread the word about the benefits of repairing clothing by joining your local Street Stitching event. Find details of the Macclesfield group and find more information about this year's Sustainable Fashion Week. School PTA’s often have a uniform exchange. Also, see Bollington Uniform Swap Shop.


Toast offer free clothes repair virtual workshops and the next one is taking place on 25th August.  

Read a recent Guardian article about how cargo bikes cut congestion and pollution. Also, the Government launches a consultation into a new nature mapping plan for local communities. 

Please share this newsletter with family and friends. If you not already subscribed, click here and you can also view past issues of the newsletter here. If you'd like to help bring The Treehouse to life please get in touch. We are looking for people who'd either like to pitch in with the development of our plan and strategy, or to help organise actions and events to build momentum in the area.
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Treehouse Ecohub · 20 Hurst Lane · Bollington · Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 5LP · United Kingdom

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