Barriers to reuse highlighted at first reuse forum

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs held its first ever Reuse Forum yesterday (November 28) to discuss how to tackle the barriers organisations in the reuse and repair sector are facing.

Recycling minister Lord Taylor, who hosted the forum, declared that more jobs and training opportunities are needed to help the industry grow.

Lord Taylor declared that more jobs and training opportunities were needed in the reuse sector
Lord Taylor declared that more jobs and training opportunities were needed in the reuse sector

We want to see even more jobs and training opportunities become available in the re-use and repair sector – which is why we are bringing together people with an interest in sorting out barriers between people who have items for reuse, and those who want them, he said.

Several barriers to reuse were noted by the Defra whilst the English Waste Review 2011 was being drawn up. Access to repair and reuse services was noted as a key issue in encouraging people to reuse items however some charities lack of storage space and confusion over how safety regulations may restrict the use of certain items also contributed.

People want to do the right thing and not see items that are still useful go to waste. There are many groups such as local authorities and charities who are already putting these items to good use, Lord Taylor said.

Companies that attended the forum ranged from reuse charities, retailers, local authorities and trade associations.

The organisations that attended the forum were: Any Junk, Bag2school/Bag2thefuture, Bellenden/Bond Group, British Heart Foundation, Charity Retail Association, CIWM, Community RePaint, CREATE UK, Currys, Dorset Waste Partnership, Eastex, Environcom, Environment Agency, Environmental Services Agency, ERP UK Ltd, Fareshare, Freegle, Friends of the Earth, Furniture Matters, Furniture Reuse Network (FRN), Gary Griffiths, IKEA, LARAC, London Community Reuse Network (LCRN), London Reuse Ltd, Marks & Spencers, National Community Wood Recycling Project, PREEN, Realliance, Recycling Lives, Resourcefutures, Rural Kent, Salvation Army, Salvo Reuse, Terry Maguire, Textile Recycling Association (TRA), The European Recycling Company Ltd, The European Recycling Company Ltd, The Social Marketing Practice, Veolia, Waste Watch, WRAP along with various local authorities.

Furniture Re-use Network

The forum was held after the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) – the umbrella body for furniture reuse organisations in the UK – released a paper warning that civil society organisations, such as furniture reuse groups, will not survive if the government continues with its current policies.

The State of Big Society Reuse emphasises the need for more local authority support for reuse organisations.

It calls for the government to rethink its reuse policies, asking for cross-departmental recognition of the benefits that reuse has in terms of society, economy and environment. The organisation claims there is a big disconnect between the governments Big Society ideology and the on-the-ground reality.

The FRN claims that reuse remains in the shadow of recycling in the waste hierarchy due to the historic infrastructure. The document states: There is little room, let alone enthusiasm to introduce reuse collections of even separation directly straight to our sectors facilities.


Similar concerns that the government was being hypocritical over reuse due to a big disconnect between its ideology and the on-the-ground reality were aired at the WRAP annual conference earlier this month (see story).


Leave a Reply

The Blog Box

Other Publications from
The Environment Media Group

Back to top