Resource Use

Liverpool charities promote reuse and recycling

Liverpool reuse and recycling charities are boosting their communities with projects to keep waste out of landfill.

CREATE UK received a £25,000 grant from the government’s waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Local Project Fund – part of the Distributor Takeback Scheme, which some producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) pay into to cover their compliance obligations for WEEE recycling. The Local Project Fund goes towards projects that will improve the collection, reuse and recycling of WEEE.

Liverpool charities promote reuse and recycling
At the CREATE UK store (L-R): Carl Beer (MRWA), Graham Hughes (CREATE UK), Greg Walker (CREATE UK), Glynn Stevenson (MRWA)
The £25,000 of funding was used by CREATE UK to set up a repair and reuse service for white goods like fridges, freezers and washing machines. Used items are collected from across the area and taken to CREATE UK’s workshop in Speke, just south of Liverpool, for refurbishment before being sold in the charity’s inner city shop reuse shop in Old Swan.

WEEE producer compliance scheme REPIC, waste management company Veolia and Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) have come together to enable CREATE UK to access waste electricals from the region’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

Since receiving the funding, CREATE UK has refurbished 818 appliances (35 tonnes in total) and recycled 1,714 tonnes of white goods for their spare parts. In addition, the charity states that six new full-time jobs have been created in the past year, and a second charity shop will be opened in April.

CREATE UK’s Operations Director, Greg Walker, commented: “This is a real plus to be able to supply quality refurbished appliances to low income households at affordable prices, rather than seeing them simply scrapped. It’s also a great example of partnership working between the public, private and charity sectors to benefit the people of Merseyside.”

Keeping textiles in use

In Toxteth, central Liverpool, another charity has benefited from a grant to boost its recycling work. The Granby Toxteth Development Trust (GTDT) is one of 14 community groups to have received money from the Veolia Community Fund 2018/19, which provides grants to local groups in Merseyside and Halton.

The scheme, in partnership with MRWA, has been running annually since 2006 and provides financial support to community groups with a social and environment benefit – focusing on reuse and recycling projects that keep waste out of landfill.

Liverpool charities promote reuse and recycling
Visitors at the GTDT Clothes Swap in St Bede’s Church, Toxteth

With £8,000 of funding from the scheme, volunteers with GTDT have spent more than 8,300 hours on a range of events across the area to promote reuse and recycling. Roadshows, clothes swaps, craft courses and school initiatives have all been part of the ‘Reusing in L1578 and Beyond’ project (so named after the postcodes the project is focusing on: L15, L7 and L8).

The organisation is looking mainly at keeping textiles and used clothing out of residual waste, and has diverted 28 tonnes of material from going to landfill and incineration, with 79 clothes giveaways and furniture reuse events taking place so far.

Dr Lindsey Guy, Chief Executive of GTDT, explained: “We have been delivering recycling and waste management projects for several years around the Granby Toxteth area, and recently more further afield into Kensington, Picton and Riverside. We’ve been continuing to work with these, and new, communities as well as working with MRWA to promote good recycling practices and help to change people’s behaviour.”

Former volunteer Marguerita Gill is now an employee of GTDT. She said: “Working on the clothes rails has been rewarding. We’re meeting new people and giving something back into the community. There is a need for pre-loved clothes in the communities we work with. There’s more to recycling than just a blue bin!”

Reuse possibilities

Repair, reuse, and keeping products in use for as long as possible, are moving into the limelight as the favoured approach for waste, with councils keen to reduce their residual waste arisings as much as possible and move up the waste hierarchy towards waste prevention.

On a national level, the European Commission recently gave the green light to legislation that will make it easier for people to repair their electronics rather than having to dispose of them, while the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee recommended that VAT on clothing repair services should be reduced – and that lessons on designing, creating, mending and repairing clothes should be in the school curriculum.

For local authorities to achieve an increase in levels of reuse and recycling, working to engage local communities is key. Wales has been out at the forefront of this approach, with the Welsh Government in November 2018 investing £5.4 million in new reuse and recycling projects.

In England, MRWA is a notable example of how local authority waste services, in partnership with business, can help to not only turn waste into a resource but to provide a boost for local groups, ensuring that recycling and reuse become baked into the community.

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