How Berkshire family with three kids lives with only secondhand and recycled items - including gifts

The Ash family tell ITV Meridian's Mel Bloor the kids even get secondhand Christmas and birthday presents

A family from Berkshire have spent the pandemic only using recycled or second hand goods in an effort to live more sustainably.

The Ash family have shared how they live as they urge people not to throw children's unwanted presents or post-Christmas clutter in the trash. 

The family, from Upper Basildon, decided that it was time to stop buying new things during the boom in online shopping in early lockdown.

They told ITV News Meridian they also buy each other secondhand presents for Christmas and birthdays - and the children say they don't mind.

Eight-year-old Hector plays with secondhand toys. Credit: ITV Meridian

They Ashes have created an app which enables people to give away their unwanted children's essentials for free instead of throwing them away.

The aim is to reduce the amount of items that end up in landfill.

Dad, Jason Ash, said: "It came about because we've got three children. They grow, they develop, they get bored of things and we quite liked the idea of using as many hand-me-downs and second hand goods as possible.

"New products create an enormous environmental impact and plastic itself has a half life of something like 300 years. There's a lot of life left in something they have, so 90% of what our third child has is from his brothers or from friends and we just don't see the need to buy things these days.

" I think whereas before, economic pressure would push people towards second hand because it's cheaper, I think environmental pressure is pushing everybody to use more of the stuff we already have. The behaviours are the same, it's make-do-and-mend, it's passing things on, it's not throwing things away but actually, the drive is completely different."

  • Jason Ash, co-founder of YoungPlanet:

The YoungPlanet app is free to download and can be used across the country.

Users can search for what they are looking for and the available products will show nearby. If the person is interested in the item, they press the "request" button."

Since the app launched, Emma and Jason have already helped more than 80,000 parents save money and prevented over 20,000 items from going to landfill.

Mum, Emma Ash said: "Post-Christmas, there is just clutter everywhere. The kids have got new things, whether they're second hand or not they're new to them and the old things have slightly been pushed aside.

"List them on the app and get them to a family who will want and use them. It gets the items out of your home, so that's just a win-win from my perspective and it keeps it out of landfill, which is so important because we've all got to try and do our little bit."

  • Thomas Ash:

Speaking about being given second hand presents for birthdays and Christmas, Thomas, aged 11, said: "We don't mind, it doesn't matter whether it's second hand or not."

"We quite like it, it's helpful for the environment and it makes no difference as to whether it's old or new, they're the exact same."

Hector, aged eight, said: "It's still a new toy and when I've finished with it, someone else can play with it."