26 July 2010

UK's First City-Wide Reuse & Repair Service

Reposted in full from Warmer Bulletin, 23 July 2010

'Mayor Boris Johnson and actress Joanna Lumley OBE have announced £8m funding from the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) to create the world's largest 'reuse network', helping household items find a new home rather than being chucked away.

The funding will go to the London Community Resource Network (LCRN), a charitable social enterprise who will set up the network to address the 65,000 tonnes of household products are thrown out by Londoners each year, ending up in costly landfill sites and adding both to carbon emissions and council bills, when most of them could be reused or repaired.

The London Reuse Network will be made up of 'clusters' of organisations, including local authorities and charities who will work together to deliver an easy-to-access and consistent reuse service to residents and businesses within their area. It will collect, store, refurbish and sell on everything from furniture, books, carpets and bikes through to cookers and fridges. It aims to divert 17,000 tonnes of reusable products from landfill over the first two years of the project saving over 80,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. It will provide a single 'reuse hotline' and web portal serving the whole of London. By 2015 the network aims to be diverting over a million items from the waste stream every year, training thousands and employing hundreds of people.

The first cluster will be set up by Western Riverside Waste Authority who manage waste from the London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, Wandsworth, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The Western Riverside Waste Authority will work with LCRN to deliver a reuse network across the four boroughs and will work in partnership with key organisations and community groups. The project includes the creation of a reuse workshop operating as a training centre for the refurbishment of white goods and furniture, training over 40 young people in the first year.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'It is a common sense use of our natural resources that we provide ways for people to hand in items they no longer need, but which still have plenty of useful life in them. This funding is really welcome news, helping to create a service for Londoners to do exactly that and help to slash the mountain of waste being sent unnecessarily to landfill and cut the heavy economic costs of doing so.'

James Cleverly, Chair of LWARB added 'Re-using products saves the energy associated with manufacturing new ones, which has an enormous and positive impact on reducing carbon emissions and stops objects and materials from entering the waste stream. This innovative project not only diverts waste from landfill but provides social benefits and perfectly demonstrates partnerships working.''

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