Zero Waste Scotland is asking readers to help make sweet music for this year’s national re-use week, which runs from Saturday, March 10, to Sunday, March 18.
Most of us, at some point, will likely have fancied ourselves as the next rock God or Godess.
Sadly, the majority can only dream of playing like Slash or Jerry Lee Lewis.
So, after hitting a few too many bum notes on the guitar, piano or drums, we decide to content ourselves with listening to great music instead of making it.
But where are the instruments which once held our lofty dreams?
That’s the question Zero Waste Scotland is hoping people will ask themselves.
For a Musical Instrument Amensty is now underway for the group’s fourth Pass It On Week in 2018.
If you have an instrument gathering dust in some long-forgotten corner of your home, why not let someone else show it the TLC it needs?
Andrew Pankhurst, Zero Waste Scotland’s re-use campaigns manager, is a keen guitarist himself.
And he’s putting his money where his mouth is – by donating one of his oldest instruments to the appeal.
Explaining why, he said: “In the research we’ve done, one of the main reaons people don’t pass stuff on is that they can’t imagine anyone else would want it.
“But an instrument never feels like that. Even if you’re not playing it, someone else will be able to.
“Pass It On Week is all about looking at what we no longer use and passing it on to have a new life with someone else.
“I’ve got an old classical guitar my teacher gave me which I’m going to pass on – hopefully, someone else will be able to learn on it now.
“The Musical Instrument Amnesty is a great way to not only get involved in Pass It On Week but to pass on the gift of music too.”
People all over Scotland are being invited to drop instruments off at local collection points so their own community can benefit.
Local groups and schools will re-use instruments to ensure everyone, no matter their means, can fulfill their own dream of playing.
And Glasgow-based Music Broth – the UK’s first musical instrument library – will act as an overspill service for any partners that end up with items they can’t rehome.
Founder Felix Slaven said: “We are happy to support any individual, group or organisation that wants to take part but doesn’t know where to send the instruments they collect.
“So if you want to get involved, we will accept your musical items and make sure they go on to have a long life as part of our library.”
While the amnesty is a hook for this year’s Pass It On Week, people the length and breadth of the country are gearing up to stage their own special re-use events too.
With shows like Money For Nothing and Kirstie Allsopp’s Fill Your House for Free, people are becoming switched on to the fact that while they may no longer have a use for items, other people might love them.
Pop-up shops and clothes swaps are also increasingly popular.
Actor Sam Heughan – Jamie Fraser to legions of Outlander fans – won even more hearts in 2016 when he donated some of his clothes for a Pass It On shop in the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow.
Andrew said: “He did it out of the goodness of his own heart. Sam approached us because he really wanted to support us – he was very passionate about it.
“We ended up with a lot of celebrity donations which we auctioned off for charity.”
Sam’s black pin stripe Aquascutum suit jacket, white Ralph Lauren wool jumper and Black Volley deck shoes raised £1767.
While we don’t all have celebrity budgets, the average household in the UK still has more than £4000 worth of clothes – some 30 per cent of which haven’t been worn in the last year.
That’s over £1000 worth of clothes, sitting unworn!
Which is why swapping and switching parties are becoming so prevalent.
“You get a chance to get rid of clothes you don’t want, while getting something you do want,” said Andrew.
“We all got caught up in sales or impulse buys, only to get them home and realise we don’t like them as much.
“But by swapping, you can give your wardrobe a refresh – without spending even more money!
“Passing stuff on or giving something a new lease of life also makes people feel good.
“And a lot of the time, it’s friends who get together to hold these events so there’s a fun, social element too.”
The first Pass It On Week was held in Scotland in 2015 and saw 161 events staged across the country, with everything from gardeners’ seed swaps to sports equipment changing hands.
Its popularity soared in 2016 when clothes were the theme and last year electrical items took centre stage.
Andrew said: “We had 580 collection points in 2017 which saw four tonnes of small, good quality electrical items being passed on.
“People had a lot of these items because they simply didn’t know where to take them for re-use or recycling.”
While this year’s theme is not as mainstream, Andrew is confident it will be a hit.
He said: “We’ve been really overwhelmed by the public’s support since Pass It On Week was first launched.
“This year’s amnesty is more niche but we’re still expecting to receive thousands of donations.
“The musical amnesty is simply a theme; people will continue to tailor events to their own interests and we’re happy for them to do that.
“What’s really heartening for us is seeing the culture shifting – re-using and upcycling are gaining more and more momentum.
“People realise that every item they buy has an impact and we should try to give it the longest life we possibly can.
“We don’t have to live in a throwaway society and people now have the power to influence that.
“That’s what Pass It On Week is all about – creating an opportunity right across the country for people to make a difference in their community.”
There’s more than one note to Zero Waste Scotland’s eco-friendly work
Funded by the Scottish Government and the European Structural Funds Programme, Zero Waste Scotland’s mission is to influence and enable change – from informing policy to motivating behavioural change in individuals and organisations.
Among its many achievements are annual savings of 990,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Its Resource Efficient Scotland programme is a one-stop centre for businesses seeking advice on saving energy, water and waste. In its first three years of operation, it implemented lifetime cost savings of more than £200 million, as well as avoiding more than one million tonnes of CO2.
The organisation also supported the introduction of the five pence carrier bag charge which saw the distribution of single-use bags in our shops fall by 80 per cent in its first full year.
Zero Waste Scotland also helped to reduce household food waste by seven per cent between 2011 and 2015, supporting local authorities to provide food waste recycling services – around 80 per cent of Scottish households are now included.
Organisations signed up to the Musical Instrument Amnesty from the Outer Hebrides to the Borders will help ensure high-quality instruments of all shapes and sizes – from tin whistles to drums – are re-homed and given a new lease of life.
But Pass It On Week is not one dimensional either. As well as instruments, people will be swapping, donating, sharing and repairing a host of items, from electrical goods to clothing, from March 10 to 18.
Share your story using the #PassItOnWeek hashtag or, to find out more, visit the website www.zerowastescotland.org.uk.