A greater ability to reuse millions of household items that currently go to waste could help alleviate resource poverty in the UK, according to a national reuse body.
The Furniture Reuse Network (FRN) has called on the waste management sector and the Government to work with the reuse sector to solve resource poverty by giving reuse organisations greater access to waste streams and reusable items.
FRN challenged the Government to better understand the reuse sector, address social value across policy and departments, and to set reuse targets.
The organisation stressed the importance of the Social Value Act, which places a duty on public bodies to consider social value ahead of procurement. This came into force on 31 January 2013.
FRN claims that the reuse sector could double its supply of essential household goods for social and economic benefit by working more closely with the waste management sector.
Speaking at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) annual presidential dinner, Craig Anderson (left), chief executive officer of FRN, said: “There are problems that affect only some people – like poverty, and then there are problems that affect everybody - like resource shortages.”
According to FRN, its network of 350 reuse organisations reused 2.7 million items of furniture and electrical equipment in 2012/13, saving low income families around £350m.
However, the sector has seen between a 40% and 100% increase in demand since April this year, according to FRN.
Anderson added: “The crazy reality is that today, to meet that need, our sector is having to source new products to help these families.
“With a little action on waste we can make a big impact and big saving for the poorest in our society”.