In praise of Freecycle
Last night I was pondering the problem of our naughty cat ripping open the bin bags and decided a bin was what I needed. A nice, sturdy bin. My first point of call for this kind of stuff is Freecycle (www.uk.freecycle.org). If you haven't been introduced, Freecycle is a mailing-list-based scheme for partnering people that want stuff but don't have it, and people that have stuff they don't want. The aim is to save all that stuff from the landfill; Freecycle call it 'Changing the world one gift at a time'
Simply post a message to the list (WANTED or OFFERED) and more often than not you'll find what you want, or someone to take something off your hands. I've managed to offload countless books, all our duplicate CDs (2x shoegazers get married = lots of radiohead), computer memory, a music keyboard, a bunch of old cycling gear... you name it, someone out there wants it. On the blagging side I've had a folding bike, a garden bench, a Schwinn MTB frame... and a bin. A new record: just 30 mins after posting I was the proud owner of a an East Staffordshire CC metal dustbin, complete with old skool lichen-covered black lid.
Visit www.uk.freecycle.org to find your nearest group. And remember to offer something before you get in there with your demands, it's only polite...