Community Wood Recycling sees growth through pandemic

Community Wood Recycling (CRW) has seen its revenues rise by 36% in four years, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. 

The charity, established in 1998 by Richard Mehmed, collects, reuses and recycles waste wood items and timber which would otherwise go into landfill  or  incineration.

The not-for-profit enterprise creates new products from waste wood it collects

It says despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, it was able to quickly adapt and has now seen growth across all areas.

Turnover for the charity is now £7.7 million ,up £2 million since 2018.

This was boosted by £1 million worth of sales in timber and products as people carried out home improvements.

Pandemic

The report outlined that while March 2020 posed significant challenges, with most of CWR staff being furloughed and collections ceased, the group was able to adapt quickly.

This included introducing new safety measures, which meant collections were back to pre-March volumes by June.

CWR says it was able to then cater to the significant home improvement boom. CWR  says it managed to avoid any significant downsizing during the pandemic and now employs 30 more staff than before the pandemic.

Project

The Brighton-based project collects and stores waste wood, which would otherwise go to landfill or biomass.

Larger pieces are sold for reuse, smaller made into products and the leftover pieces cut up into firewood. Anything else is recycled as woodchip, leaving no waste.

The report showed that 42% of wood was reused, while 58% was recycled. Resources saved last year equal to the emissions of 60 wagons of coal.

Methane

The document later raised the issue of methane emissions, which was also the key topic of discussion at the COP26 summit in November 2021.

An estimated third of the UK’s emissions of methane comes from organic materials decomposing in landfill, it noted.

According to the report, wood recycling rates in the UK are ahead of many other places in the world.

Even then, as much as 600,000 tonnes of wood could be going to landfill every year, equalling to about 20,000 tonnes of methane, with the climate impact of 500,000 tonnes of CO2.

The research CWR referred to underlines the fact that landfilling wood isn’t just about wasting resources, but it “is actively harming the climate”.

Community 

CWR also says it has helped members of the local community with 60% of CWR volunteers face either a mental health condition, long-term unemployment or physical disability.

Trainees get support in moving on into paid work, from identifying their skills to practising interview techniques.

Last year, it trained 332 volunteers. The charity had 24 workers from the government’s Kickstarter scheme, which gives young people a start on the job ladder.

 

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