The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) says there is solvable resource poverty in the UK, and calls upon waste management companies and local and national Government to work with the re-use sector.
As guest speaker at the CIWM Annual Presidential Dinner last night (Tuesday, 15th Oct 2013), Craig Anderson, CEO of FRN put out a call to the waste management sector and the Government asking them to support access to millions of household items that are currently going to waste.
The charity re-use sector will then pass on to people in severe financial hardship, and help alleviate poverty in the UK. He said that “There are problems that affect only some people – like poverty, and then there are problems that affect everybody – like resource shortages” and then proceeded to ask the audience to do something to help solve both these problems.
FRN members are re-using over 110,000 tonnes of product per year which saves low income families over £350m per year, but the sector has recently seen anywhere between a 40 percent and 100 percent increase in demand since April this year.
“The demand is there. Poverty and austerity mean that the urgent need for these goods is not going away and we need to stop wasting when others have nothing”, he added.
“The crazy reality is that today, to meet that need, our sector is having to source NEW products to help these families”.
More worryingly, Anderson pointed out that where need cannot be fulfilled by the charity reuse sector, low income consumers are turning to pay-day loan or high-interest retail outlets for essential goods, thereby exacerbating their own dire financial situation.
The FRN challenged the Government to better understand the re-use sector, address social value across policy and departments, and to set re-use targets; it then asked the waste industry to start talking with the re-use sector, build partnerships and give the sector access to the waste streams in their control.
This will enable the sector to double its supply of essential household goods for social and economic benefit, and re-use another 3m from the 10m items currently sent to landfill or incineration every year in the UK.
Anderson concluded that: “with a little action on waste we can make a big impact and big saving for the poorest in our Society”.