Agenda item

Ellenor Household Goods and Recycled Furniture Project


Members were presented with Recycled Furniture and Household Goods Project.  The purpose of the report was to inform Housing Services Cabinet Committee of a newly created sustainability initiative with Gravesend based charity, Ellenor Hospice, to recycle good quality unused furniture and household goods from void Council properties and estates to be sold in their charity shops reducing the waste sent by the Council to landfill.


The Project Surveyor (Energy and Sustainability) highlighted key information from the report:


  • Prior to this scheme, figures from the Waste Management department indicated that on average 3 tonnes of waste was disposed from empty Council properties on weekly basis.  This waste would be cleared when a tenant had deceased, been evicted or had abandoned their property.


  • In 2022 the Council approached Ellenor about introducing a furniture collection service from the Council’s void properties, which would result in a reduction of waste and the repurpose of furniture to be sold in Ellenor’s shops, which in turn would help fund the care they provided in the community.


  • The first trial collection took place in January 2023, which had a positive outcome which led to further collections.  The charity would also be collecting larger furniture items and white good moving forward.


  • Currently, around £2,700 has been generated by Ellenor from sales of the items that had been collected from the empty Council properties.  It was note however, that this had risen to nearer £3000 since the report had been written.  This figure in real terms amounted to 55 hours of online exercise/relaxation sessions at home, 28 home meetings between a patient and a hospice nurse and 32 hours of expert nursing care in the hospice.


  • It had been found that along with furniture items, items such as dry/tinned foods and unused toiletries where often left in void properties. The Project Surveyor (Energy and Sustainability) informed the Committee that the team were working with Northfleet based food bank, Hive Hope to make use of these also.


  • It was noted that this new scheme met with the Council’s climate change pledge and in turn helped the local community.


The Chair commended the report noting it was a good news story and invited Members to give feedback:


  • The Committee were all in agreement that this positive working partnership was of great benefit to the community and a sound cost saving exercise for the organisation.


  • Members queried whether once the goods had exchanged hands if the Council would be excluded of liability for the condition of the items.  The Project Surveyor (Energy and Sustainability) assured Members that the team had been supplied with a brief which stated that Ellenor would not accept any items that did not have the required fire rating.  It was also explained that once collected, Ellenor would take full ownership and responsibility of the items.


  • The Committee requested that an annual report of the successes of this project be produced, to include the savings the Council had generated through the scheme.  The Project Surveyor (Energy and Sustainability) advised he would work with waste management to produce the report and would include the savings both financially and through staff hours.


  • Members enquired if the scheme could also be rolled out to private sector housing, thereby generating a greater income for Ellenor.  The Project Surveyor (Energy and Sustainability) advised the Committee that the scheme would be extended further having already notified the private housing team and would be looking to expand beyond social housing residents.


The Committee noted the report.


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