Swap Shops

Swap Shops

Swap Shops are for passing on items which are clean, safe and genuinely reusable, once you have finished with them. They were started in 2003 and have been running regularly ever since; here is a recent article about Swap Shops from the Wallingford Herald! They are held four times per year in the Regal Centre in Wallingford. Everyone is welcome to bring things for reuse, or to take things away; you need not bring anything before you can take anything, for free. No money changes hands, although donations are always welcome.

Items too large to bring along can be advertised on a board.

For our next Swap Shop at the Wallingford Regal Centre see below, or the banner on our Home page

At the same events we also collect items that can be recycled but cannot be put in your green bin. However, we do not collect as many as we used to as many can now be recycled elsewhere; see publicity prior to each event for more detail.

Swap Shop

Swap Shop

We usually have a selection of displays or activities relevant to reduction, reuse and recycling, or to environmental issues more generally — for example advice about composting or solar panels.

The items that are taken away are weighed so we know how much has been re-used; the total amount since the events started is now over 15 tonnes. Any items left are passed on to local charity shops or recycled.



What can I bring?

Things to Swap

These must be reusable (someone else could use them), clean and non-hazardous. If you have something large,such as furniture or greenhouses etc., you can bring a photo/description and contact details instead. Items that you bring can be taken away by anyone attending without charge. These can include

  • New and used tools
  • Small portable mains electric items, if they are in working order and have a CE mark and a lead
  • Other household articles and gadgets
  • Children’s toys
  • Garden equipment
  • Bicycles and pushchairs
  • Books, tapes and CDs

Things to recycle

  • Fluorescent tubes and energy-saving light bulbs (but not ordinary bulbs)
  • Tapes and CDs even if no longer useable

What NOT to bring

  • Anything hazardous (e.g. lead-acid batteries, garden chemicals, fireworks, …)
  • Rubbish – things that can’t be recycled and are not usable by anyone else
  • Electric items that are large, do not work, or do not have a CE mark
  • Ordinary incandescent light bulbs
  • Clothes – these should be taken to charity shops or clothes banks
  • Paint
  • Ink cartridges — collection point in Higgs stationers, Castle Street
  • Spectacles — take to Robert Stanley opticians
  • Batteries — shops selling significant quantities of batteries are now obliged to take them back

When and where are they held?

Swap Shops are held about every three months in the Regal Centre in Wallingford. Dates for 2017 are

28th January

8th April

1st July

30th September

They run from 9.45 to 11.30 a.m., but items for swapping should be brought before 10.30 so there is a chance for people to find them and take them away. (You can bring items to the door from 9.15 onwards).

Other groups in Oxfordshire also hold Swap Shops; click here for more information.

Collection statistics

This a summary of  some statistics from Swap Shops.

Number of visitors
Goods taken away by the public (Kg)   Items PAT tested
22/1/2011 300 675
30/04/2011 370 810
02/07/2011 269 564
29/10/2011 350 790
21/01/2012 400 1000
31/03/2012 340 745 55
30/06/2012 215 930 42

Full Swap Shop statistics from 2003 onwards are available here.


Don’t feel that you have to save things up to bring to Swap Shops — they are just one way of getting items to a good home.  On the Internet, you can also use Freecycle to pass on and obtain items, and charity shops will be glad of anything that they can sell. For more information, click here.


We are grateful to the CAG project for their help and support, and to all our helpers.

If you would like to help, please contact us.