Environment Minister Lord Henley paid a visit to Recycling Lives last week, taking in the innovative work the organisation is doing in the environmental and charity sectors.
Lord Henley visited Recycling Lives’ Essex Street headquarters, where he had a chance to talk to founder Steve Jackson, chief executive Charles Jackson and non-executive chairman and former CEO of the North West Development Agency, Professor Steven Broomhead.
The presentation centred on Recycling Lives’ unique approach to business and detailed the ways in which the organisation has combined its successful recycling operations with extensive charitable activity in order to extend its commercial offerings and deliver viable solutions to homelessness and worklessness.
A tour of the Recycling Lives centre followed and Lord Henley accepted an invitation by the centre’s Residents – formerly homeless and unemployed people – to visit their living accommodation and chat to them about the various ways in which the organisation has helped them to get their lives back on track.
While in the Residents’ centre, Lord Henley was able to see an example of the private, en-suite rooms that are offered to all Recycling Lives Residents, as well as the communal areas such as the kitchen, lounge, gym and laundry, which Residents work together to keep clean and tidy.
Once the tour of the Recycling Lives centre was complete, the group moved on to the 15-acre Recycling Lives Recycling Park, where Lord Henley was shown the state-of-the-art machinery and operations that help Recycling Lives to maintain its position as a leader in the environmental and waste management sector.
Lord Henley with Charles Jackson at the Recycling Lives FPD recycling centre The DEFRA minister was taken to see the company’s flat panel display unit processing centre – the first of its kind in the country – and was shown the impressive quantities of used furniture that had been collected by Recycling Lives’ charity schemes for resale in the Recycling Lives charity shop and donation to low-income households.
The afternoon came to a close with further discussions, in which Lord Henley expressed his admiration for the work that Recycling Lives has undertaken and the efforts that the organisation has made to deliver cohesive, community-focused and sustainable charity solutions.
Recycling Minister Lord Henley said: “If we are to move to a zero waste economy where old things are put to new uses, everyone needs to play their part. Recycling Lives is an inspiring example of just that – where the Big Society, community leadership and local action is not only improving people’s lives, but recycling and reusing items that would otherwise be wasted.”
Steve Jackson, founder of Recycling Lives, commented: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Lord Henley to Recycling Lives. As Environment Minister, Lord Henley has an in-depth understanding of the recycling and waste management industry and can understand exactly what it’s taken for Recycling Lives to integrate charitable objectives into its commercial operations.
“Our aim was to demonstrate to Lord Henley that the Recycling Lives model, which focuses on making charity more sustainable and ensuring that Corporate Social Responsibility is a key factor for all businesses, is a really effective approach. With leading companies such as BAE Systems and E.ON choosing to award their contracts to Recycling Lives, we’re clearly doing something right and we’re given commercial entities a chance to make a difference.”