Damaged items, broken electrical appliances and bags of donations also containing rubbish are just some of the items Emmaus Gloucestershire is being forced to spend hours dumping.

This Recycle Week (23-29 September), Emmaus Gloucestershire is sharing guidance on what items the charity can and can’t accept in a bid to reclaim valuable time that should be used to help people rebuild their lives following homelessness.

From July 2018 – June 2019, Emmaus Gloucestershire saved more than 130 tonnes of furniture from going to the rubbish tip by offering a free collection service for large items in good condition. The items collected are then sold in the Emmaus shops in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud and Nailsworth to generate funds to support people who have experienced homelessness.

However, during the same period, the charity calculates that it completed approximately 170 return tip runs, with two people required for each run. This, combined with the time it takes to load and unload the van, totals approximately 680 hours per a year which could be spent elsewhere in the charity’s social enterprise to generate funds to run its community home.

Second-hand items are vital to the work of Emmaus, as Malcolm Pitt, Business Manager at Emmaus Gloucestershire, explains:

“We support up to 34 people at a time who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion by providing a home for as long as they need it and the opportunity to learn new skills by working in our five charity shops across the county. We generate the income needed to do this by collecting and selling second-hand furniture, household goods and much more from a very generous public.”

While Emmaus Gloucestershire understands that there will always be an element of waste associated with running a social enterprise that collects and sells second-hand items, the charity wanted to highlight the problem to the public during Recycle Week 2019.

“We will always be grateful for the support and donations from the local community, but it can be difficult getting people to understand the difference between acceptable donations and rubbish. We wanted to take the opportunity of Recycle Week to encourage people to think about what items they are donating to charity. If items are damaged, ripped, chipped, or stained, chances are its not in saleable condition and we are forced to spend money and time which should be going towards providing a home, meals, training opportunities and development assistance to people rebuilding their lives after being homeless.”

Items Emmaus Gloucestershire can accept include furniture in good condition, wardrobes, drawers, tables, chairs, sofas, bed frames, mattresses, clothing, jewellery, bags, accessories, fridges, freezers, washing machines, small electrical appliances such as microwaves and toasters, TVs with remotes, projectors, DVD players, gaming consoles, stereo and sound equipment, fans, heating and aircon units, vinyl, DVDs/CDs, books, plates, cutlery, household utensils, glassware, ornaments, art work, mirrors, and picture frames.

Items Emmaus Gloucestershire cannot accept include gas appliances, foam backed carpets, items without the relevant fire/safety labels, flatpack furniture, items with missing parts, safety equipment, soft toys and games without CE labels, gas bottles, paint, paraffin, petrol, aerosols or other flammable substances, baby equipment including cots, prams, and car seats or any items that have rips, tears, stains, marks or damage that will make it difficult to sell.

To book a free collection for donated items or to discuss the condition of your donation please call 01452 413 095 or email [email protected].