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English households bin £400m of reusable items a year

Householders are binning repairable goods worth around £435m each year, according to new research.

The Local Government Association has called for a reuse drive to save this money for taxpayers and to reduce unnecessary landfill.

The research claims that 615,000 tonnes of materials disposed of in England annually, could be reused (see table above). This could save £60m for taxpayers.

Selling reusable textiles could a have a value of £143m a year and selling reusable WEEE could have a value of up to £231m.

Electronics were highlighted as problematic as they can be costly to repair and can be seen as out of date in a short period. The LGA want manufacturers to make it easier and cheaper for such items to be repaired.

Current initiatives including eBay and Freecycle were highlighted as best practice.

The report also suggests that reuse can bring in social value by creating jobs, supporting local causes and charities.

Mike Jones, chair of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board, said: “Every year, a mountain of televisions, kettles, furniture and other items are thrown away, even though they are not broken and could be re-used.

“There are opportunities for far more reuse of a range of goods, and we want consumers to get involved and play a bigger part in this.”

FRN response

The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) said it did not want local authorities or central Government to overlook the fact that the furniture re-use network of charities and social enterprises is already saving £286 million per annum for low income households in England by making available low cost, pre-used – usually essential - household goods.

FRN said demand already exists and the re-use sector needs to access more of the reusable waste stream.

FRN also said it needs local authorities to stop working in silos and recognise the budget savings, if not the environmental and welfare importance attached to joined-up commissioning.

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