Coffeemat challenge awakens sustainable idea

At Recycling Lives, we are always delighted to hear of young people who are doing something for the environment by promoting reuse and recycling.

We were particularly interested to learn about Arfa Mohammed, a Lancashire student, who has come up with an idea for reusing office furniture and supplies that are surplus to the public sector’s requirements.

So good is her idea, which involves selling the recovered goods through eBay, that she has been given an award of £1450 so she can develop it. Arfa told the Lancashire Telegraph:

“A group of us came up with the idea and they voted me as the leader. We saw that items like office furniture, cartridges and stationery were being thrown away in skips, so we came up with idea of recycling it and making money for the college or a charity.”

Her inspiration for this – which arose through the “Coffeemat Challenge”, a competition for students to pitch their social enterprise ideas – was sparked by an everyday occurrence. She explains:

“My Dad uses eBay, so that’s why we came up with using the internet site.”

We are glad that Arfa’s father buys and sells things online, because we think she and her fellow students have come up with a fantastic idea. But then, we would say that – because our social business recycles items such as those which Arfa mentions!

In fact, we also have a skip hire service, but we achieve close to 100% recycling rates for the materials that people put into our skips. If you need to hire a skip, for example, to clear your house or garden of a variety of different types of waste, then we can provide convenient, same-day service – and you can leave the separation and recycling to us!

We also collect bulky waste and high quality furniture through our Community Dotcom schemes, Bulky Waste and Furniture Donation Network. People can book a furniture collection or a bulky waste collection using a simple online form. Both of these services accept residential and commercial items.

Our Community Dotcoms then either pass on the collected items to charities, which can sell them on and raise vital funds to continue their work, or process them to ensure they avoid landfill. Either way, they are ensuring that any negative impact on the environment is kept to an absolute minimum.

All of our commercial activities provide direct support to the social welfare charity that we run, which helps homeless people to find work and accommodation. Through a holistic six-stage support plan, the charity’s Residents regain their independence, boosting their skills and employability.

We hope that Arfa and her colleagues go from strength to strength with their recycling idea, and we encourage other students to come up with their own ideas to promote sustainability!