£500,000 for first UK building material reuse centre

21.05.10

Press release from LWRB 20.05.2010

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has announced that it will fund £500,000 over three years to help set up a reuse centre selling construction waste such as bricks and tiles in Croydon, South London. The centre is the first of its kind in the UK and will lead to the creation of four new jobs, a training programme for 40 young and unemployed trainees each year and will divert over 3,500 tonnes of waste from landfill over five years.

Unwanted building materials from housing developments and DIY stores will be collected, transported to the centre in Croydon and sorted through for resale to the public or members of the building trade. The project will be led by BioRegional, a charity involved in setting up sustainable new enterprises, working in partnership with ARC, a charity promoting reuse, helping low income families, and training for work.

The reuse centre will be branded as ReIY (Reuse it yourself). It will sell products such as bricks and tiles to the trade and public, giving customers the satisfaction of knowing that they are not only saving money, but are contributing to saving the environment too. Carbon emissions will be reduced by an estimated 1,700 tonnes over the first five years of the project as the materials will be reused in their original form, with minimal reprocessing.

James Cleverly, Chair of the London Waste and Recycling Board said: "Last year London created a massive 9.7million tonnes of construction and demolition waste. Around half of this was recycled but there is still much more we need to do to tackle the rest which largely ends up dumped in landfill sites. This innovative project ticks all our boxes – reusing waste, cutting emissions and bringing jobs and real social benefits to the capital."

Commenting on the funding, Jonathan Essex Reclaimed Materials Manager at BioRegional said:“We are thrilled that LWARB has supported our new joint social enterprise with ARC selling used but still useful construction materials – helping to address market failure in the reuse sector. Reuse is high up the waste hierarchy and vital if we want to tackle the massive 25 million tonnes of construction, demolition and excavation waste sent to landfill each year.  It will also create training opportunities, equipping Londoners with the skills to make the city a greener, better place.”

BioRegional working in partnership with ARC aims to use this working example to kick start a network of three centres across London. This is the fourth project supported by the London Waste and Recycling Board, others include the Recycle for London campaign, Trinity a charity that sells reused furniture to the public, and FareShare a charity committed to diverting unused food from the waste stream and redistributing it to those who need it most.

Notes to editors
1.      The Board acts in accordance with the Mayor of London's Draft Waste Strategy. The next draft is due to go out for public consultation in the summer. For more information go to http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/environment/vision-strategy/waste
2.      ReIY will collect reusable building products from construction and demolition sites (mainly new build housing developments) and DIY stores; transport to the ReIY store then sort the materials for display in an attractive retail space for resale to the trade and public. BioRegional has identified ARC (Appliance Reuse Centre), a WEEE reuse charity, as project partners and will operate their ReIY centre in a warehouse currently leased by ARC. ARC will be responsible for managing day to day operations at the ReIY centre with BioRegional providing strategic direction and marketing support.
3.      For more information about BioRegional visit: www.bioregional.com
4.      For more information about ARC, visit: www.arc-croydon.org.uk
5.      For more information on the London Waste and Recycling Board, visit: www.lwarb.gov.uk 
6.      London's 33 boroughs remain statutorily responsible for the collection and disposal of waste in the capital.  The London Waste and Recycling Board was set up with the aim of bringing together all those involved in managing the capital's waste.
7.      For more information on the Board's consumer campaign, Recycle for London, go to www.recycleforlondon.com
8.      BioRegional and ARC are asking construction companies to contact them to get involved: email jonathan.essex@bioregional.com

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