WINNER: Bron Afon and TRAC 2
Most social landlords and council housing providers traditionally send their waste to the local tip or transfer stations, incurring high costs and high landfill usage. Social enterprise Bron Afon made the commitment to cut the cost of waste, reduce the amount, and reuse and recycle where possible, while having a positive effect on the environment and surrounding community.
In 2013, at the height of its property upgrade work to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard, when it was installing the likes of new kitchens and bathrooms across its stock, the organisation piloted an in-house recycling centre. This accepts and sorts waste such as wood, metal, plastics and household items, and maximises the opportunity to reuse and recycle.
bron afon and trac 2
As well as taking material generated from property maintenance, items left by previous tenants – which can sometimes be fully furnished properties – now also go to the centre.
JUDGES’ COMMENT: “A true partnership that demonstrates the circular economy and has tremendous social impact. This is an exemplar model that can be replicated by others. Both partners go above and beyond expectations to respond to those in crisis.”
Any item that can be reused is passed to a local charity, such as TRAC 2. This ranges from simple kitchen utensils to large items of furniture and clothing. TRAC 2 donates these to people suffering extreme hardship or sells them, with the money raised donated to local people in need. The charity uses donated items to put together home ‘starter packs’ for those who may have accommodation but no means to furnish it, allowing them to get on their feet.
Recently, through TRAC 2, two Syrian families who had been relocated to the area received donated washing machines, cookers and TVs. The father of one family now works for the charity, helping with integration into the local community.
As well as reuseable goods, Bron Afon assists TRAC 2 through a peppercorn rent for its premises, and pays for the upkeep, maintenance, MOT and fuel for its van.
The recycling centre has cut tipping costs for Bron Afon from £285,000 in 2012-13 to £30,000 in 2016. It is now looking to expand the centre and move to larger premises to allow for more services and to purchase larger machinery. Other local social housing providers have shown interest in the recycling centre and, longer term, Bron Afon is looking to sell its services to them.
- BIU Group and Leeds City Council
- BIU Group, British Red Cross and Tesco
- Department for Infrastructure, States of Jersey
- The re3 waste management partnership
- London Borough of Camden
- Printwaste Recycling & Shredding and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Tetronics International and Innovate UK
- University of St Andrews and The Furniture Recycling Group
- Ulster Supported Employment and Learning and Belfast City Council
- Veolia and Reuseful UK
- Veolia, London Borough of Bromley and Unite