A project designed to divert unwanted items from landfill has over the last two years reused goods equivalent to the weight of an Airbus A340 aircraft.
The ReUsers, a Social Enterprise operating from premises adjacent to the Norris Way Household Recycling Centre (HRC) in Sutton Coldfield, is managed by The Jericho Foundation, a Birmingham-based charity that seeks to work with disadvantaged individuals to help them break down barriers to employment and helps them become skilled fulfilled and employed.
It has both social and environmental objectives and is run in partnership with Birmingham City Council.
Visitors going to the HRC are given the option to donate re-useable but unwanted items to the ReUsers rather than letting such goods enter the waste stream. The items are then prepared for sale to those visiting the ReUsers Megastore upon the same site.
Since opening in February 2013, items weighing 187,639kg have been sold to thrifty bargain-hunters, upcyclers and shabby chic-ers from the outlet – a weight roughly equivalent to an Airbus A340.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City at Birmingham City Council, said: “Our aim here in Birmingham is to eventually become a zero waste city, where we make every effort to find a new use for things that are no longer wanted or needed.
“We knew the business case behind the ReUsers was a solid when reaching an agreement for them to use the site at Norris Way – and the fact they have been able to divert items with a weight equivalent to a commercial airliner away from landfill is amazing.
“I would like to congratulate everyone involved for getting this off the ground, including the staff working at the ReUsers, the council officers that helped draw up this deal and colleagues from Veolia who operate the HRC, in addition to the people of Birmingham who have donated and bought from this excellent facility.
“This scheme is leading the way, and we are now looking at how similar ventures could operate elsewhere across the city.”
The Aladdin’s Cave of rescued and restored items for sale includes furniture, clothing, antiques, collectables, retro goodies, bric-a-brac, framed artworks and prints, tools, architectural salvage, toys, games, exercise equipment, camping outdoor and leisure items, bicycles and creatively upcycled goods.
And in fact, due to its success, Jericho have opened a second branch at their headquarters in Balsall Heath to accommodate some of the stock they do not have room for at Norris Way – enabling them to serve a customer base in a different part of the city. Since July 2014, a further 5,300kg of items have been sold at the second site.
Richard Craythorn, ReUsers Project Manager, said: “The initial two year pilot project has been an incredible success. Not only have we prevented many tonnes of perfectly reusable items from entering the city’s waste stream, but we have been able to provide low cost furnishings and domestic essentials to many families on low income whilst providing accredited training courses and apprenticeships for those supported by Jericho.
“Our mission is both environmentally and socially-focused and we are producing real results in real time. We must thank the communities who have supported this project and allowed us to directly help less fortunate people within those communities.
“The project’s success is helping to change the way we view what is really waste and is encouraging people to consider second hand as a first choice. We hope to continue to raise awareness of how wasteful we have become as a nation and encourage society to make, mend, upcycle and repurpose items that they may have considered throwing away.
“Seeing all of the items that we have diverted form the waste stream stacked up in one place can be very overwhelming and helps people understand the scale of the problem we face.”
Mark Heesom, General Manager of Veolia in Birmingham said: “Veolia are delighted to support the ReUsers project which benefits both the local community and the environment.”
The address for public access is The ReUsers, Norris Way, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B75 7BB. Anyone interested in finding out more can call 0121 329 2797 or visit www.facebook.com/thereusers
Notes to editors
- Items that can be donated at The ReUsers include:
– Bicycles and ride-ons
– Electrical goods
– Toys and games
– General household/garden goods/objects
– Sports equipment
– Building and landscaping reclamation.
- Items that cannot be accepted include:
– Fuels, chemicals, Gas cannisters and gas fueled appliances.
– Computer printers
– Weapons, ammunition or fireworks.
– Soft furnishings not bearing a fire safe label
– Children’s car seats.
– Sometimes we have to refuse books due to the sheer volume we have.
– Video players and cassettes.
– Soiled goods
- The Jericho Foundation is a registered charity (number 1037084) and a company limited by guarantee (number 2845852). It has offices in Birmingham and employs around 50 full and part time staff.
Its mission is to work with disadvantaged individuals and help them overcome barriers and become fulfilled, skilled and employed.
The foundation runs a broad range of outreach, training and employment related programmes which are funded via a combination of public sector contracts and grants from grant making trusts, corporate donors and individuals.
It helps people overcome their barriers by providing a combination of advice, guidance, training and supported work experience which is tailored to each individual’s specific needs.
This will include programmes that help build social skills, increase levels of confidence, self-esteem and motivation as well as developing literacy, numeracy, technical and work related skills.
Over 50 per cent of clients move into sustainable employment or full time training when they leave Jericho.
The ReUsers is Jericho’s eighth social enterprise. The other seven offer goods and services in the following areas: landscaping and grounds maintenance, construction, printing, catering, cleaning, retail, and recycling. Jericho aims to change lives through sustainable enterprise.