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Local homelessness charity saves more than 590 tonnes of goods from landfill but spends thousands dumping unsaleable donations

On-site skip at Emmaus Cambridge with resident John Cook

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

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

From July 2018 – July 2019, Emmaus Cambridge saved more than 590 tonnes of furniture from being sent to landfill by offering a free collection service for large items in good condition. The items collected are then sold at the charity’s Landbeach site to generate funds to support people who have experienced homelessness.

However, during the same period, the charity was forced to spend approximately £41,000 a year, or £800 a week, on skip 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, so long as they are in good enough condition to sell, as Graham Haynes, Operations Manager at Emmaus Cambridge, explains:

“We are very grateful for the support from the community and their donations, 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 will be forced to spend money which should be going towards providing a home, meals, training opportunities and development assistance to the 44 people we support in rebuilding their lives after being homeless.”

Items Emmaus Cambridge 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, computers/laptops and equipment, 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 Cambridge 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 01223 863 657 or email: collections@emmauscambridge.org.

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