Local homelessness charity Emmaus Colchester is highlighting how charity shops are often used as an alternative to landfill this Recycle Week, reporting that it can spend up to £800 on disposing of one skip load of items that have been donated but were not fit for purpose.

Emmaus Colchester is proud to be supporting Recycle Now’s Recycle Week campaign, running from 23 – 29 September 2019, and is taking the opportunity to educate members of the public on the importance of reusing, reducing and recycling, asking them to think twice before donating an item to a charity shop.  

Emmaus Colchester supports up to 33 formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise, funded training and an opportunity to get themselves back on their feet again.  

Social enterprise is central to the Emmaus model as it provides meaningful work for formerly homeless people at Emmaus Colchester, but also generates funding and promotes sustainability. With four shops, a workshop and a warehouse, within the town centre, Emmaus Colchester works tirelessly to ensure that its environmental impact is positive and always strives to promote recycling and upcycling to reduce the world’s carbon footprint and protect the environment. 

Darren Scott, Business Manager at Emmaus Colchester said, “It is really important for us that we support such campaigns such as Recycle Week. Through our shops we’re able to save many tonnes of items from going to landfill each year. We also repair and upcycle furniture in our workshop, in a bid to reuse and save items, giving them a new home to go to.”  

Denise King, chief executive officer at Emmaus Colchester, said, “Reusing an item of furniture saves the energy associated with manufacturing a new one, which has an enormous and positive impact on reducing CO2 emissions. It also gives a whole new purpose to an item which one person no longer needs, but which still has plenty of life left in it.” 

Emmaus Colchester has a team of companions that are trained in upcycling furniture, with volunteers playing a big part too. The team is led by companion, Billy, who is based in the Emmaus Workshop, behind Emmaus Works, on Osborne Street. Billy said, “Our aim is to gain the maximum out of the preloved furniture that we receive as donations by giving them a new and sometimes quirky lease of life. The main items we recycle and upcycle include wardrobes, chest of drawers, kitchen tables, chairs and bookshelves.” 

There is, however, a more serious side to charity donations, with Emmaus Colchester reporting that its shops are often mistakenly used as refuse and landfill sites, with donations not being thought through properly, and anything and everything getting dropped off.  

Darren went on to say, “It costs us between £30-£70 to dispose of a fridge or freezer that we cannot sell in our shops. This is money that could have gone to building additional rooms, providing more homes for those who are homeless, or spent on our training or outreach programmes. We ask people to consider how much it costs us to dispose of unsaleable items that they donate to us. If you’re unsure of whether we will accept an item you have for donation, you can always call ahead for advice.”  

Throughout Recycle Week, Emmaus Colchester will be sharing advice and tips on how to reuse, reduce and recycle on its social media pages.  

For more information about Recycle Week visit www.recyclenow.com 

To get advice about what you can donate call Emmaus Colchester on 01206 541616, or connect  on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram