Recycling Lives’ social programmes save the taxpayer £8m

Recycling Lives continues to save the taxpayer millions by rehabilitating offenders, supporting the homeless and redistributing food.

Its charitable programmes created social value – through savings to the taxpayer and communities – worth £8million in 2017/18.

The recycling and waste management business is unique in running a social enterprise and charity alongside its commercial operations. These reduce reoffending by rehabilitating offenders, reduce welfare dependency by supporting the homeless, and redistribute food to reduce charities’ running costs; all creating savings to the taxpayer and communities.

Now it has published its third annual Social Value Report detailing the financial and real-life impact of its work.

Offender rehabilitation

By reducing reoffending Recycling Lives created savings to taxpayer worth £4.5m in 2017/18.

It runs 11 prison-based recycling and fabrication workshops, employing 250 men and women and supporting each to secure work and housing ready for release. It is the most successful offender rehabilitation programme of its kind in the UK, recording unprecedented results for reducing reoffending. Of 66 men and women released from the programme in 2017/18 only three reoffended – a rate of less than 5%. The national average is around 67%. Its success rate in supporting ex-offenders into employment is as significant, as more than 70% moved into work, compared to a national average of around 27%.

Residential support



By reducing welfare dependency Recycling Lives created savings to the taxpayer worth £167,000 in 2017/18.

Recycling Lives’ residential charity offers accommodation, support and training to men facing homelessness. It supported six men into work and independent housing in the last year.



Food redistribution

By reducing running costs for charitable groups Recycling Lives created savings worth £3.4m in 2017/18

Recycling Lives runs a Food Redistribution Centre taking surplus goods from supermarkets to deliver to charities and community groups. It delivered 945,000 meals via 180 organisations across Lancashire and Cumbria in 2017/18, allowing groups to reduce their running costs and channel funds into their core objectives.

Each programme is supported and sustained by Recycling Lives commercial operations, comprising recycling, waste management, compliance and recruitment businesses operating nationwide.

William Fletcher, Chief Executive of Recycling Lives Group, said: “Reporting our annual Social Value figures allows us to reflect on the massive impact of our work – of the lives changed and communities improved. We’re proud to tell stories of parents rebuilding lives with their children on release from prison, men living independently for the first time, and charities expanding their services for vulnerable communities. We are able to deliver these programmes as more and more businesses see the commercial and social value of working with us.”

Recycling Lives calculates the social value figures of savings created using national and government metrics around the cost of reoffending, the cost of welfare dependency and the benefits of food redistribution membership. 

The £8m savings Recycling Lives created in 2017/18 follows delivering social value of £5.2m and £4.1m in 2016/17 and 2015/16 respectively. The business is committed to delivering social value relative to its business growth, which has expanded nationally and doubled its sales in recent years.