Martin Gamester: Total reuse is a simple idea. If an item's reused, it doesn’t need recycling. What makes Total Reuse special and different from other organisations is that we‘ve got a reputation now for thinking outside the box. What we’re saying to people is that there’s a different way of working, a different way of dealing with your waste. Give us the opportunity to show you what these different ways are. A, you’ll create social value, B you’ll create environmental value and C you’ll create economic value.
Our story began back in 2009. I was on a School for Social Entrepreneurs environmental course, and we were just having a general conversation about diverting waste from landfill. The only way to achieve zero landfill is if you reuse all the things that people throw away. We don’t want to just throw their family’s history away. We have a deconstruction project that’s designed to keep mattresses and sofas out of landfill that’s for people like John Lewis, Ikea.
Everything that we’re trying to do is about diverting reusable items from landfill, and making them available to low income families, good causes, charities, community groups, people in need, so we can donate a lot of items because we are being paid to take them away as waste.
There's a variety of ways in which Total Reuse has an impact on the local community. Obviously the key one is creating jobs for local people. It’s about giving opportunities for volunteering. It’s about giving people access to good quality furniture and other household items.
We’re now in a situation where we employ over 20 people. We create education, training, volunteering opportunities for the local community. We're donating items to over 150 charities throughout the North West every year. We’re donating over 300 families in need through the crisis and urgent need support service.
Pamela Gamester: I don’t know what it is that is so special about this place, but it really is special and you can ask any person that comes here. Our volunteers come from a diverse background. They can be lonely, isolated, unemployed - people that have lost their jobs, lost their partners, bereaved, people with disabilities. Everybody is welcome, but what we harness is their creativity and we help them to flourish and grow.
Martin Gamester: I first became aware of PwC because they’re a partner with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. I joined the Club. I then applied for the awards last year. Lucky enough, we won the award.
The biggest benefit is that for the first time in my working career, 64 years, I’ve now got a business mentor with a different pair of eyes, with skills, knowledge, and experience from working with multi-national companies, and these are all things now that we’re trying to implement into our social enterprise.
But I’m nearly 65, and I’m due to retire. One of the things I wanted was somewhere that I can go and enjoy myself when I retire and here I am. This is it.
Chief Sustainability Officer, PwC United Kingdom
Henry le Fleming
Assistant Director, Plastics & Circular Economy Lead, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 4097