Reuse rising but still recovering from pandemic, report finds

The Reuse Network has published its 2022 social impact report, which shows that while reuse is increasing, it is yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

The social impact report highlights the rise of reuse in 2022, but there is still some way to go to recover

The report from the Reuse Network, a UK-based charity supporting the reuse sector, showed that 2.7 million items were reused in 2022, saving households £3.4 million in comparison to purchasing items brand new. Furthermore, the charity reuse sector prevented 92,053 tonnes of products from ending up in landfills, thereby helping to reduce environmental pollution.

It added that the charity reuse sector has helped support 1.1 million households in gaining access to essential items required to create a sustainable home, with 8,928 people receiving support through training, volunteering, and work placements. Additionally, 98,935 tonnes of CO2 emissions were saved between April 2021 and March 2022, resulting in a positive impact on the environment.

Despite the increase in the number of items reused, the report reveals that reuse has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. The charity reuse sector continues to face significant challenges, including reduced donations, an increase in demand, and a shortage of volunteers, which has resulted in the scaling back and closure of some reuse charities.

We are being asked to respond, adapt, and transform our services

  • Craig Anderson, CEO of Reuse Network

Cost of living

Craig Anderson, CEO of Reuse Network, said: “The reuse sector has existed for 40 years – and still the problem of social inequality has not gone away. Again, we are being asked to respond, adapt, and transform our services to meet the challenges posed by the cost of living crisis with little funds or support elsewhere. Poverty and austerity mean that the need for reuse is becoming even more vital.”

The report highlights the importance of the charity reuse sector in providing aid to vulnerable communities. It features stories from Reuse Network members who played a crucial role in supporting their local communities in 2022, such as Newbury Community Resource Centre, which provided furniture, white goods, bicycles, laptops, and SIM cards to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Despite the challenges faced by the charity reuse sector, it continues to support local communities by reusing furniture and electrical appliances. Moreover, 86% of reuse charities provide support to those facing long-term unemployment, while 74% aid individuals facing mental health problems, the group said.

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