In the Furniture Re-use Network’s (FRN) response to the recent Waste Prevention Consultation, the national charity states that DEFRA is placing a high expectation on others to create a programme of waste prevention activity and absolves Government of any real intent or impact.
This includes the social or welfare impacts associated with helping the most vulnerable adults and low income households in the country.
The demand for reusable goods is there; the mechanisms for supply are not.
FRN asserts that more meaningful intervention and leadership by DEFRA with local government and business would make it easier for the social economy re-use sector to get access to more reusable bulky household waste, in order to alleviate poverty and minimise waste.
As a result of welfare reforms, many FRN member organisations are experiencing a 100% increase in demand for essential furniture items such as beds, cookers and other white goods. Unable to meet many of these demands, many re-use organisations are forced to buy new large domestic appliances.
Without the ideas and the practical initiatives proposed, led and supported by DEFRA, the market will solve its own problems in this kind of way.
For example, DEFRA could set re-use targets, by which local authorities would be forced to consider and work with the local social economy re-use. Currently, this is a very patchy, ad-hoc approach employed by the more innovative local authority in England.
Cross-departmental benefits would be obtained by waste, welfare, housing and community-focused departments.
FRN believes that DEFRA’s waste prevention proposals are empty on direction, initiatives, responsibility and targets.