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Community Wood Recyclers beat the recession
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Britain’s growing network of community wood recycling enterprises have defied the recession to reach a key milestone. Social enterprises that work under the National Community Wood Recycling Partnership umbrella have earned more than £1 MILLION in collection fees since the launch of a nationwide collection service in 2009.
Community Wood Recyclers beat the recession

It is estimated that for every £20,000 of turnover a job is created, so in total this landmark has created 50 permanent jobs in social enterprise, as well as 13,500 days of volunteering for disadvantaged people each year.

In weight, over 7000 tonnes of wood has been rescued from possible landfill. Community wood recyclers sort every piece of wood they collect and sell reusable wood to their local community or make it into beautiful products: Reducing the need for virgin timber and avoiding the environmental impact of felling, processing and transportation, as well as fighting the effect of climate change because greenhouse gases are not released from the burning (as biomass) or decomposition (when land filled) of wood.

Each of the country’s 27 Community Wood Recycling Enterprises is financially self-supporting and relies on the income from collections of wood waste to achieve its aims of saving resources and creating work and training for disadvantaged people. They collect waste wood from the construction sites across the country, from builders including Breyer Group, Bam Construction, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Leadbitter, Morgan Sindall and Taylor Wimpey.

After initial grant funding umbrella body NCWRP is now financially self-sustaining. With five new enterprises in the pipeline, community wood recycling will soon be an option for all builders throughout the country. Richard Mehmed, Managing Director of NCWRP said: “I am delighted that the building industry has shown its support for green community enterprise by taking us to this important milestone. It has enabled our network to create more jobs for disadvantaged people despite difficult economic conditions, and to pioneer the reuse of waste timber in local communities, where our recycled timber shops are a much valued local resource.”

NCWRP is the lead body for a network of 27 wood recycling social enterprises and co-ordinates collections of waste timber from construction sites on behalf of its members. The service offered is unique in the industry and offers an alternative to the use of skips. By collecting all site waste timber in caged trucks the social enterprise group is able to save a portion for reuse in local communities, another portion is remanufactured in to a range of products, whilst the residue is recycled in to wood chip via conventional routes. We also work for a bit of social justice by helping disadvantaged people; we create work for them - so they can build their confidence and self-esteem and build useful transferable work skills.

The NCWRP (National Community Wood Recycling Project), a non-profit social enterprise, was set up in 2003 to encourage and assist the development of Wood Recycling Enterprises (WRE’s) in the UK. The NCWRP has set up 27 WRE’s, which in 2011 provided employment and training for nearly 150 staff and 650 trainees and volunteers; saving over 7000 tonnes of waste wood from landfill, 22% of which was classified as high-grade. The UK is the world’s largest per capita importer of virgin timber, and community wood recycling is the only service in the UK that aims to re-use construction waste timber.

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