Monday 16 June 2014

Recycling is not just rinsing out yogurt pots

Recycle Week plastic bottles on bin 2 140616

In Recycle Week, 16 – 22 June 2014, we are asking everyone to 'donate don’t dump' and telling potential donors out there that recycling isn’t just about saving potato peelings and bottles from the bin.

Recycling doesn’t just need to be about separating out your weekly rubbish collections, there are lots of other household items that can be rescued from landfill and put to good use.

We are calling for people to think twice before binning items that could be recycled in some way. Many of you are cautious about what you donate to charity, not wanting to donate things that are unhelpful, but it can be surprising what we can accept.

Clothing and bedding – Even if you think your clothes have seen better days, they can have value for us as we can sell them to textile recycling firms. Emmaus has its own textile recycling plant that sorts fabrics and resells those that can be reused both in the UK and abroad. Those that can’t be used are made into things like industrial cleaning rags, or stuffing for cushions or mattresses. Some communities also collect buttons and wool for reuse. Just make sure your donations are clean before donating them.

Preston Emmaus Enterprises clothes recycling bin 140613

Shoes – There is demand for second-hand shoes both in the UK and overseas, yet often donors are reluctant to pass these on. You might think your shoes are a bit tatty, but they could be just what someone needs and it’s better they’re donated, than sent to landfill. Some communities also save shoelaces.

Bras – Donating undergarments may seem strange but bras are expensive items, so many people depend on the second-hand market.

Bolton companion Bernie Willers PAT testing close up 131217

Electrical items – Because some charity shops can’t accept electrical items, many people wrongly believe they can’t be donated, but they can. Most Emmaus communities will accept working electrical goods, that they will PAT test for safety before selling them on. Some shops can even accept broken items, which are then stripped down for scrap. Check with your local Emmaus to see what they can accept.

Glasgow Stephen Lacey sands down chair 140110  2

Furniture – Have you got a piece of old furniture that’s been loved a bit too much, or that seems too worn to donate? Well, think again. Emmaus can take battered furniture and restore or upcycle it, giving it a new lease of life. This doesn’t work with flat pack, and upholstered items have to have a fire label by law, but many other items can be restored into something beautiful again.

Norwich Kitchen dresser with crockery 131218

Crockery or cutlery - Many people aim for a funky mismatched look at their weddings and celebrations. Just because you do not have the complete set doesn't mean we can't use it. Our community in Brighton & Hove also makes wonderful garden planters with old colanders, teapots and other household items.

Emmaus provides a home and meaningful work to more than 600 formerly homeless people. We depend on donations from you to generate the money that will support our companions. Last year, we saved more than 3,000 tonnes of waste from going to landfill.

Steve, an Emmaus companion, said: “If I spy a piece of furniture that’s destined for the scrap heap, it gives me huge pleasure to fix it up. I sand it down, and then paint it up again in beautiful colours, or give it a varnish and someone else takes it home good as new.”

Ali Ward said: “Often people don’t realise the range of items we can accept. Even though you might not immediately think something is good enough to be donated to charity, think again, as it might be something we can recycle, upcycle or find a new use for. If you’re not sure whether something can be donated, just check with your local community, we’ll be happy to advise you.”

Find your local Emmaus here or take a look at our recycling pages for more information on the type of items we can accept.