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Recycle Week 2023: The GRAB Trust

Arrochar beach clean

The GRAB Trust is a charitable social enterprise in Argyll and Bute. For over 20 years they have been providing waste reduction activities including recycling, litter prevention and reuse. CalMac asked them to tell us more about their different projects and initiatives as part of Recycle Week 2023.


Lorn and Oban Reuse Initiative 

The GRAB Trust run several projects, the longest standing of which is the Lorn and Oban Reuse Initiative (LORI).  This furniture reuse project is based at the Oban recycling centre and diverts 70+ tonnes per year of unwanted household items from landfill to support Oban's circular economy. LORI is REVOLVE Certified (REVOLVE is Scotland's national re-use quality standard).  

Visitors can donate unwanted but still useable furniture and electrical items. Electricals are PAT tested before being made available for customers who can buy pre-loved furniture and electricals at a good price. The LORI project supports homeless & community referrals with furniture packs. LORI also provides volunteer job and training opportunities for the long-term unemployed and community service offenders. Income from sales is used to fund other charitable activities. You can see what's available in the shop on GRAB Trust 's Facebook page.  

The Beaches and Marine Litter Project 

The Beaches and Marine Litter Project (BMLP) team provide education to schools and community groups and facilitate litter picks. They offer free, fun and educational workshops to schools, nurseries or community groups. These range from learning the life cycle of a plastic bottle, investigating microplastics with their digital microscope, to role-playing as leaders of a nation and battling it out for a Global Climate Agreement, testing pledges in one of the best climate modelling programmes. 

If you know an area that suffers from litter and want to do a beach clean or litter pick, the GRAB Trust can help here too. They have plenty of litter pick equipment that you can loan to do your clean-up. In 2021 the Trust engaged 1,000+ community volunteers, removing over 2.3 tonnes of waste from over 72km of shoreline. There is a range of ways to borrow equipment, from litter pick stations (set up as part of their 2021 Staycation project), to packs of 10 pickers at key LIVE Argyll locations. Find your nearest loan location on this map. For larger groups, email them well in advance to book equipment and you can request one of the BMLP Education officers to join your event and run it as a workshop. This is ideal for community groups and schools to turn a litter-pick into a citizen science event by doing a litter survey that helps tackle litter nationally, while you clean-up locally. If you know a group who'd enjoy one of their free workshops or to borrow litter pick equipment, please get in touch at . You can also find them on  Facebook and  Instagram .

The BMLP team have also been busy with a range of other projects started while they could not visit schools during COVID lockdowns. These include, participating in the Darwin200 UK voyages 2020 and 2021. Education Officer Kerry shared lessons from a tall ship circumnavigating the UK doing an ocean health-check, including beach cleans, SCUBA diving surveys, and cetacean recording. You can find the videos and free downloadable lesson packs on their YouTube channel

Be Part of the Cycle Project 

The Be Part of the Cycle project provided every school in Argyll and Bute with a pack for teachers providing all the resources they need to teach pupils about periods and menstruation, including reusable product options. The education resource box includes curriculum linked lesson plans, fun quizzes, and demo reusable products.  

There are on average 8 single-use period related litter items found for every 100m of Argyll beach surveyed. Reusable products not only prevent this waste but are also around 90% cheaper over a lifetime, and healthier for you. 

Oban Reusable Cup Trial 

The Oban Reusable Cup Trial ran in 2022. Keep Britain Tidy data shows that almost 75% of litter was the result of drinks consumption. Specifically in Argyll and Bute, Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch data shows that litter related to eating/drinking on the go accounts for 65,500 pieces of litter. The GRAB Trust partnered with two academic professors and Ecoffee Cup to encourage Oban to use reusable cups instead of single-use cups, and investigate the barriers to widespread behaviour change.  

A comparative trial ran in Helensburgh this summer and results are being published in an academic research journal, as well as presented at the Academy of Marketing Conference earlier this year. At the Rubbish Summit held recently in Oban, they partnered with Zero Waste Scotland and Keep Scotland Beautiful and are now working on a larger analysis of all the cup trials from across Scotland. The findings from this should create a strong evidence-based guide for businesses and policy makers on how they can realistically reduce waste from their drink-to-go culture. For now, please remember to take and use your reusable cup! 

ReMake Argyll 

Their newest project, ReMake Argyll, is all about intergenerational skills sharing to reduce waste. Providing a range of educational workshops across Argyll and Bute to help you learn how to fix, mend and upcycle. For example, their popular Repair Cafes encourage people to bring a broken item they would like help to fix. Knowledgeable experts and tinkerers are encouraged to come along and help identify what's wrong with items and try to fix them or signpost to professionals who can help. Frequent skills available to learn include electricals, sewing and upholstery. Repair guides will also be available at the events so you can try to repair it yourself. All in a fun and supportive setting with tea and cake provided. It's all free! The Sewing Machine Driving Licence workshops have consistently been fully booked too! Find out about upcoming events on Facebook .

ReMake Argyll are also looking into developing Sharing Libraries. The idea is to have a range of tools and other useful things available in communities that you can borrow when you need them. This means you don't need to buy or have storage space for items you use only occasionally.  If this sounds interesting and would be useful to you, do get in touch to let them know what you'd like in a Sharing Library near you, email

More Information 

You can find out more at , enjoy easy activities and inspiration from their YouTube channel: or email them at 


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