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Majority of people keeping unused items happier to donate them if benefitting local communities

Melanie May | 4 April 2024 | News

A blonde-haired woman in glasses hands over a big pot plant to a smiling man in a hat and hoodie outside a house that's painted white and has a light blue door.

A third of people surveyed say that at least 20% of items in their homes are unused, according to research from Human Appeal. However, 8 out of 10 would be happier to give them away for free if they knew it was benefitting someone local to them.

The research by Human Appeal is conducted by YouGov in collaboration with local sharing app Olio, whose own research in December 2023 showed that over a fifth (21%) of items found stored in the home could be useful to someone else.

With the cost-of-living crisis ongoing, Human Appeal and Olio are calling on the public to consider sharing unused belongings with their local community. 33% of those surveyed for Human Appeal said that from 20% to 60% of items in their homes are unused.


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When asked why this is, almost a fifth (19%) said they hold on to belongings they feel are too valuable to give away, while nearly half (47%) keep unused items for sentimental reasons. 84% however said they would be happier to give away an unused item for free if it helped someone local to them.

Owais Khan, Deputy CEO of Human Appeal, commented:

“As households continue to face economic pressures, local communities nationwide are in need of support. Our research shows that many of us have items stowed away that could help someone nearby who may not otherwise have access to them and highlights how community sharing can support those in need.”

Tessa Clarke, CEO and Co-founder of Olio, added:

“At a time where we face a cost-of-living crisis and climate emergency, it’s more important than ever to foster collective action in support of local communities. We’re very proud to collaborate with Human Appeal and its research into sharing in the UK and encourage everyone to share unused belongings with their local community, when so many are struggling. We’re strong advocates of a circular economy at Olio and are very glad to see this message carried across the UK by those willing to share objects they no longer need with their neighbours.”