Orkney Zero Waste Yard: A Treasure Trove

Pre war generations of Orcadians were skilled at not wasting a thing and being creative at turning them into items that could find a useful purpose. Today we have lost many of those skills, don’t have the time, or can’t be bothered with the hassle of it.

Orkney Zero Waste 3

Orkney Zero Waste Yard

A visit to the Orkney Zero Waste yard in Stromness could change your way of life. It is hotching with a huge range of items that are too good for the recycling centre but which could be re-used or re-purposed.

The Zero Waste Yard is situated out at Garson just past the council’s recycling centre. Manager, Paul Johnson is there to help you out. The Yard can accept your donations of items and is also an amazing resource of materials. Most items will cost you a donation of between 10p and £10. Incredible value.

The Yard is an alternative to the council’s recycling centre. You can deposit items that are too good for the dump but not really good enough for the charity shops. There are some things it cannot take like washing machines and fridges but Paul is there to give advice if you are unsure.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson, Manager of the Yard, sorts through everything that arrives

Paul sorts through everything that is donated diverting items where appropriate with some going to charity shops or the recycling centre. Paul has recently joined the Orkney Men’s Shed and sees a potential for taking some items like garden strimmers which just need fixing there for refurbishment.

Paul does an amazing job and the Yard really needs much more covered storage space. He will sort, mend and clean up everything that arrives. The caravan is a sorting area where he can literally go through the nuts and bolts of donated goods.

A hedge of bicycles borders one side of the Yard. Some of these are donated by people but the Police also deliver ones that they have recovered and which have never been claimed. Any that are not fit for sale as a complete bike come in use as a source of spare parts. So if you are looking for a part for your bike, a replacement wheel for example try the Yard first.

Orkney Zero Waste is a charity and the Yard is part of its larger organisation. What it is doing is challenging as it relies on a mind change in those of us who simply throw things away and buy new. Give it a visit either to donate items or even better to find something that you can re-use and re-purpose. Click on the link to find when it is open. Orkney Zero Waste Yard opening times.


Reporter: Fiona Grahame



11 replies »

  1. Here’s one example, from the Orkney Zero Waste website……………

    “From pallets to compost bins!

    Bernie & Mike Bell from Rendall called into the YARD a few months ago looking for pallets to make into compost bins. They said ” There were some good pallets there, but the lady we spoke to, said they were needed on site, but… there were some old, broken ones, too, so we took those. In fact, they were easier to deal with, as they didn’t need so much taking apart. Some manky old pallets, a bit of hard work, and……TA-DAH! Here are our lovely compost bins, made mostly of Steptoze pallets, with a bit of old fence, and some drift-wood. This means we can now compost our grass cuttings and kitchen scraps, instead of them going to waste.”

    Excellent work folks! Here’s a photo of their smart new compost bins…”

    We found a typewriter for our friend who isn’t computer friendly, but was having trouble finding a typewriter which wasn’t priced exorbitantly, as being ‘vintage’ – £10 from Steptoze Yard. They also sell plants sometimes.
    All sorts – worth a good rummage.

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