The volume of furniture and electrical equipment donated to reuse charities has fallen further despite a growing demand for second-hand goods, according to the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN).
Its Social Impact Report 2017 shows that 3.45 million items were reused by the UK voluntary reuse sector this year compared with 3.48 million in 2016.
As a result, fewer households have received reused items, down from 1.51 million in 2016 to 1.50 million in 2017, and the total diversion in 2017 was 117,450 tonnes against 118,350 tonnes in 2016.
Craig Anderson, FRN chief executive, said the trend was concerning because fewer people were being helped.
“For a number of years, our members have been reporting a reduction in donations and furthermore in the quality of donations. There are many factors to this decline – a combination of a decrease or stagnation in retail sales, political uncertainty and austerity, people keeping furniture for longer and a boom in online community marketplaces.
”Although there is a growing demand and a growing need for affordable, good-quality furniture, there simply isn’t the supply available through conventional public donations.
”In order to mitigate this, we have been working hard to strengthen and diversify our commercial partnerships with the retail and manufacturing sector to supply our sector with essential household goods.”
Kelvin Hughes, chief executive of Newbury Community Resource Centre, said: “In the past year, we supplied nearly 30,000 people with reused furniture and electrical appliances and we don’t anticipate this demand decreasing.
”Every year, more and more people come through our doors in need of essential items, from washing machines to bedroom curtains. We have diversified our activities and are now working with Ikea and John Lewis stores in our area, as well as with our local household waste recycling centre, to support the supply of goods needed.”
The FRN represents around 200 reuse charities in the UK.