Reuse sector ‘too polite’, says MP

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has called for more strident action from the reuse sector, suggesting reuse organisations were ‘too polite’ in establishing themselves as viable options for waste disposal contracts.

Mr Pickles argued that reuse organisations, particularly those in the third sector, should take advantage of the Localism Act 2011, which devolves more decision making powers from central government into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. The act is designed to get more local organisations, especially third sector, involved in services such as waste disposal.

Mr Pickles, speaking to reuse organisations, said:

“There is still too much waste which is why we should reward people for recycling more. Local authorities know that household waste has to go somewhere, so why not commission a charity to take care of it? It’s important that other sectors are called on to take up the re-use challenge.

“We believe in localism but we want you at the top of that process. You’re more adaptable than local authorities but maybe you’re too polite, just say what you want and take it. We created the Localism Act but it has never been fully tested. I think this gives you a lot of power to be able to make a difference. Government is slow and useless, we’re just in charge of standards and quality control.
Go out and take it.”

Furniture is one of the biggest potential income streams for reuse organisations. Every household uses furniture, and it is often replaced before it reaches the end of its life, retaining some resale value. As a form of bulky waste, furniture cannot be disposed of in households’ regular council collections, creating opportunities for procurement from third sector organisations.

Furniture Donation Network is a charity operated collection service for good quality furniture and white goods. Working with collection partners and local authorities across the UK, we collect items from householders for refurbishing and resale to low income families. As well as diverting these items away from landfill, Furniture Donation Network provides quality items for resale to those who cannot afford to buy new. This in turn generates income for the Recycling Lives social welfare charity, tackling homelessness and unemployment in the community.

Furniture Donation Network can only collect items that are in new or nearly-new condition, as broken or worn items are often difficult for our collection partners to generate revenue from. Instead, they can be collected by our sister service, Bulky Waste. The Bulky Waste service collects bulky items- such as furniture and white goods- regardless of condition. All items will either be reused or, if not possible, recycled.

Our network of Community Dotcoms, including Bulky Waste and Furniture Donation Network, drives reuse of waste through third sector procurement, including scrap vehicles, office furniture clearance and skip hire.