Damaged items, broken electrical appliances and bags of donations also containing rubbish are just some of the items local homelessness charity Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney is being forced to spend thousands on dumping.

This Recycle Week (23-29 September), Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney is sharing guidance on what items the charity can and can’t accept in a bid to avoid spending funds that should be going towards helping people rebuild their lives following homelessness.

From July 2018 – July 2019, Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney saved more than 1,500 tonnes of furniture, which is the equivalent of approximately 100 double decker buses, 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 charity’s Ditchingham and Bungay shops to generate funds to support people who have experienced homelessness.

However, during the same period, the charity was forced to spend approximately £7,100 on tipping fees to dispose of items that were damaged beyond repair or in poor condition, items without the necessary fire or safety labels, or bags of donated clothing also containing rubbish.

Second-hand items are vital to the work of Emmaus, as Jo Andrews, Logistics and Sales Manager at Emmaus, explains:

“We support up to 23 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 social enterprise. 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.”

But Jo said the charity goes to the landfill site at least two times a week, sometimes more.

“We are very grateful for the support from the community and their donations and we are delighted to have saved more than 1,500 tonnes from going to landfill in the past year, but sometimes it can be difficult getting people to understand the difference between acceptable donations and items that they should be disposing of themselves.

“We wanted to take the opportunity of Recycle Week to encourage people to think about what items they are donating to charity. If it’s damaged, ripped, chipped, or stained, or you wouldn’t pay for it yourself, then chances are it’s not in a saleable condition and we are forced to spend money which should be going towards providing a home, meals, training opportunities and development assistance to people rebuilding their lives after being homeless.”

Items Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney 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, TV’s 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 Norfolk & Waveney 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 01986 895444 or email logistics@emmausnorfolkandwaveney.org.