Reuseful UK Win National Rushlight Awards

Reuseful UK beat off stiff competition from around the UK to walk away with the Rushlight Resource Recycling Award on Thursday 25 January at The Royal Geographic Society in London. The award recognises Reuseful UK and their project Re:Form which is an innovative relationship with Veolia diverting old uniforms and personal protective equipment (PPE) away from landfill or energy recovery, and creates reusable items through an inspirational back-to-work training programme.

The Re:Form Scheme is a partnership between the local scrapstore based at Cambridgeshire Community Reuse and Recycling Network – CCORRN and Reuseful UK, a small charity based in March Cambridgeshire. The innovative workwear waste prevention, reuse and remanufacturing project between Reuseful UK and Veolia first began at the very same event in 2015.

Reuseful UK supports scrapstores who usually only take clean business waste for creative reuse by their members; however with this scheme the Re:Form team of staff and volunteers rebrand, debrand and remanufacture thousands of items of used corporate workwear that would otherwise be waste, into a range products and resources for community benefit.

The team of staff and volunteers, working exclusively with Veolia’s waste have diverted 23,000 items of uniform from the waste stream and achieved a 98% utilisation rate.

The scheme has enabled over 500 participants to gain new creative skills through sorting, upcycling and re-selling the donated items, as well as building confidence in team-working and personal development. Since work began 95 people have been supported into work with a further 156 people being work ready having gained new work skills.

Nikki DiGiovanni the CEO of Reuseful UK and Patricia Watson Project Manager from Veolia collected the award dressed in designs by Reuseful UK participant, Bethany Barnes. Barnes designed and created the dresses from non-reusable textiles from Veolia; using the neon fabrics to put used PPE into the recycling spotlight.

The evening wear is just one example of the great things Reuseful UK do with Veolia’s old uniforms. A selection of materials were on display at the event including tote bags for event attendees, teddy bears, aprons and much more.

Nikki DiGiovanni, Chief Executive Officer of Reuseful UK, said: “The Re:Form team are delighted to have won Rushlight’s Resource Recycling Award. Re:Form is a ground-breaking initiative undertaken by tenacious, dedicated people who passionately believe that the reuse of resources goes hand in hand with providing opportunities for people to learn new skills in a supportive and friendly environment.”

Tricia Watson, Project Manager at Veolia said: “It is with thanks to all our partners involved that we have been successful in rolling out the Re:Form project and as a result of all our combined hard work have won Rushlight’s Resource Recycling Award. I look forward to seeing how much more we can achieve with our partnership and will carry on striving towards our goal of bringing corporate workwear sustainability into the circular economy.”

To keep up to date with the Re:Form project follow @reformhub or to visit the store at The Community Reuse Centre, 3 Commercial Road, March. Cambs. PE15 8QP our order online via www.reusefuluk.org

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