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84% of UK households would be happier to give away unused items to benefit local community

● 64% of the UK admit they are overdue a de-clutter.

● 8 in 10 UK residents would be happy to give away unused items for free to benefit someone locally.

● Almost half (47%) keep unused items for sentimental value.

Manchester, UK, 20 March 2024: Human Appeal, a leading humanitarian aid charity, today publishes new research, highlighting the volume of unused items in UK households that could benefit local communities.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to raise outgoings, many families are struggling to afford household items they need. Part of the answer may lie with our neighbours, as Human Appeal’s research reveals many homes across the UK are holding on to items they no longer use or need.

This latest 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 currently facing the UK, Human Appeal and Olio are calling on the public to consider sharing unused belongings with their local community. More than 30% of those surveyed reveal that between 20% and 60% of items in their homes are unused. When asked why this is, almost a fifth (19%) hold on to belongings they feel are too valuable to give away, while nearly half (47%) keep unused items for sentimental reasons.

However, despite rising costs, it’s clear that supporting local communities is a key driver for UK households when it comes to giving away unused items: 8 out of 10 (84%) would be happier to give away an unused item for free if they knew it was benefitting someone local to them.

An easy way to share items that may benefit others is via the free-to-use Olio app, where users can give away food and household items to people living nearby to prevent unnecessary waste. Users can make spare items available by uploading an image and description, which are accessed by browsing localised listings and requesting to collect an item.

Owais Khan, Deputy CEO of Human Appeal, comments, “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. We’re grateful to Olio for their support in raising awareness around community engagement, which comes at a key time for families facing financial difficulty.”

Tessa Clarke, CEO and Co-founder of Olio, adds, “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.”

Download the Olio app to start sharing with your local community today.


YouGov survey conducted among a representative sample of 2,087 UK residents aged 18+ in March 2024.

About Human Appeal UK

Human Appeal (registered charity 1154288) is a fully independent British development and relief NGO based in Manchester, UK. It was established in 1991 and runs targeted poverty relief programmes in collaboration with global organisations like the United Nations. Its mission is to save lives through emergency response and sustainable development programmes, across over 25 countries worldwide.


For more information please contact Media Foundry Limited

humanappeal@themediafoundry.com | 0203 011 1023

About Olio

Olio began as a food-waste fighting app, but 7 years and over 8 million downloads later, it’s now a platform for people to give and get food and all kinds of household items within their local communities.

Food to furniture, toiletries to toys; Olio allows users to share, request and rescue items from landfill. It supports the planet by helping people avoid buying new - and throwing good stuff away.

With 8 million users worldwide and 181k tonnes of CO2 emissions saved, Olio’s model of circular living makes it easy for us all to help one another, build communities, and beat waste for good.

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