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1000 tonnes of unwanted household items saved each year from landfill

Alun Harries, Charity manager at Wastesavers

A South Wales based social enterprise is preventing over 1,000 tonnes of household items from going into landfill each year, while saving families hundreds of pounds.

Wastesavers is a social enterprise and charity that collects six times the weight of an average house in unwanted household furniture from across Southeast Wales and diverts it from landfill. Items are then stored and displayed in one of its ten re-use centres for people to purchase at low cost.  It also offers customers the chance to buy large household items at a fraction of the price of something new, saving customers hundreds of pounds.

Since opening its first three hubs in 2019, the social enterprise has trebled in size in just five years, with ten hubs now collecting unwanted household furniture from across Southeast Wales, and more hubs planned for 2024. As a result, the volume of waste collected has increased by 440% from just 241 tonnes in 2018 to over 1000 tonnes to date. Subsequently the workforce has also grown from by 300% from just 16 to 54 employees to date.

 Charity Manager of Wastesavers, Alun Harries, said: “Saving good-quality household furniture from being disposed into skips means we can make these items available for other people to purchase at a low price. This helps people to not only save money, but also do their bit to tackle the problem of waste going into landfill. Helping to reduce furniture poverty and create a more circular economy. It’s a win, win situation.

“The growth of our organisation over the past five years simply highlights the increase in demand for people to have a place to take their unwanted household furniture. People really seem to be taking to the re-use culture and see both the cost-saving and environmental benefit to themselves, and others.”

Customer, Helen Blakemore from Newport said: “Our old sofa was falling apart but we couldn’t afford to buy a brand new one, so we looked in the re-use centre in Newport for a second-hand one. We found a lovely sofa for just £50, that matches our other furniture perfectly and is in excellent condition. It would have easily cost around £500 if we had bought it new!”

Climate Change Minister, Julie James said: “Organisations like Wastesavers are a great way of helping people to take action to help reduce their impact on the climate, while also saving money.

“If everyone could do their bit by re-using and recycling unwanted furniture and IT equipment, and consider buying second-hand, rather than new, it would make a huge difference to the amount of waste ending up in landfill each year. It will also go a long way to helping us to create a greener, cleaner Wales.”

Wastesavers offers a free collection service (at selected outlets) for people wanting to get rid of larger items of furniture such as sofas, beds, or cabinets, but also welcomes people to drop off their unwanted items at one of its ten re-use shops located across Cardiff, the Valleys and Newport. It also offers other re-use services, including a Nappy Library, IT Refurbishment, Repair Cafés, and a Library of Things at many of its stores, plus an alternative education programme, PEAK, and an interactive recycling education room for schools at its head office.