PIONEERING FURNITURE RECYCLING SCHEME COULD HELP SLASH DEBTS, CREATE SUSTAINABLE TENANCIES AND SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT
A pioneering project aimed at encouraging communities across the country to redistribute unwanted furniture to low-income families could help slash debt, create sustainable tenancies and save thousands of tonnes of household goods from being dumped in landfills.
The National Housing Federation and The Furniture Re-use Network have today launched a new booklet outlining how social landlords and their tenants can reap enormous benefits by teaming up with a local furniture re-use organisation (FRO).
The scheme hopes to significantly increase the 2.5 million items of recycled furniture and domestic appliances, which are sold to people on low incomes at knockdown prices every year.
Re-use to count for the first time
The FRN has welcomed government changes to waste targets which allows reuse tonnages to count towards council targets. Before this change reuse, which is higher up the waste hierarchy than recycling, was excluded from council targets. This gave the majority of councils an excuse not to support re-use charities even though they produce environmental and social benefits.
Reuse has never had the recognition it deserves in its number 2 position in the Waste Hierarchy. It has often been dismissed as ‘too difficult to measure’, ‘difficult to define’ or ‘insignificant’. However all that is about to change.
TREE from Essex led the way at the 2009 national Furniture Reuse Network awards. Held at its annual conference in Cheshire last week the Presidents awards entered their second year in style..
Standing out from 320 voluntary sector organisations in the Furniture Reuse Network was Tendring Reuse and Employment Enterprise (TREE) of Essex in recognition of their services to the reuse sector and impressive partnership arrangements with business and local government.
Bob Whitehead, Chair of the FRN, has announced that CEO Paul Smith is leaving the organisation on 30 October, to pursue a range of new opportunities in the public, private and voluntary sectors - not least, as a parliamentary candidate, to concentrate on his preparations for the next General Election.
Mr Smith has been CEO of the leading re-use organisation in the community waste sector since September 2005. He has built up its membership substantially and increased both its profile and its influence. In reflecting on his departure, Mr Smith says 'I have thoroughly enjoyed my work with the FRN and have been inspired by the commitment and mission of the membership. I will continue to fly the flag for re-use and the sector into the future'.