What does the future hold for you and for your community dot-com projects?

I genuinely believe that these community dot-com schemes are the way forward, not just for Recycling Lives, but also for the many other charities and social enterprises that work with us. Corporate businesses do need to think commercially but they have to start enhancing their corporate social responsibility by becoming more charity-focused. Charities need to [...]

You obviously like the service provided by Bulky Bob’s, so what makes them stand out to you?

It’s not that they stand out as such: there are lots of great examples of locally run services across the country. Bulky Bob’s just seem to share a lot of our core values when it comes to thinking commercially and being proactive to create a positive impact on social welfare.

What other similar types of service have you come across?

We’ve not come across any services that provide an online booking platform in the same way that BulkyWaste.org and FurnitureDonationNetwork.org do, but there are still some great examples of localised services across the UK. One of my favourites is Bulky Bob’s, who are part of the FRC Group. You only have to look at their [...]

How do you make sure that the furniture you collect benefits the people who need it?

At the moment, Recycling Lives is busy developing a network of registered charity and social enterprise collection partners across the UK. These organisations objectives are either to redistribute furniture to low income households within their locality – as is the case with Gift 92 – or to sell the items that they collect in order [...]

What’s to stop homeowners using Furniture Donation Network to get a free tip for their bulky waste?

Unfortunately, this is a problem faced by many charities across the UK – since councils have introduced charges for their waste collection services, some individuals have ‘donated’ their waste to charities to avoid having to dispose of it responsibly. We protect charities who are members of Furniture Donation Network by charging a small refundable booking [...]

You said that a large number of the items you collected in Preston were suitable for re-use. Is it fair to ask people to pay to get items like that removed?

The short answer to that is no, and that’s what prompted me to develop the Furniture Donation Network scheme to complement Bulky Waste. If customers have items of unwanted furniture that are in very good condition, they can donate them to Furniture Donation Network. This sister site uses the same charity collection partner network across [...]

Some people are asking why householders should pay to get rid of their waste. What are your thoughts on that?

In the past, many UK local authorities were able to provide free bulky waste collections as part of their standard waste collection service. In recent years, most areas have had to start charging for bulky waste collections, particularly since government cuts started to take effect in 2011. Very few local authorities are actually able to [...]

But what about the cost to charities when they have to get rid of non-viable items?

That’s another great thing about the Bulky Waste project. Most charities aren’t charged by their local authorities to get rid of locally collected waste, so their waste disposal is completely free.

What happens if one of these charities picks up an item that’s literally just rubbish?

That’s the good thing about BulkyWaste.org: because there’s a small collection charge, usually around £28.00 for the first three items, the charity making the collection will always receive enough money to cover their costs and will actually make a profit on the service it’s delivering. If it can reuse the bulky waste, then that’s a [...]

When you say that this will help other charities, what do you mean?

There’s no way Recycling Lives can service every household in the country, and it shouldn’t try to. There are hundreds of great social enterprises and charities across the UK that already accept furniture donations, which they either sell for revenue or re-distribute to local people on low incomes. By working with these charities and encouraging [...]