Our work recycling waste electricals and preventing surplus food from going to waste has been recognised with a regional award.
We were handed the Environmental Champion award at the Enterprise In Society Awards 2021, run by Selnet (Social Enterprise Lancashire Network).
As our name suggests, environmental efforts are foundational to our work as we recycle metals, plastics and glass through our rehabilitation programmes and prevent waste through our food redistribution programme.
Our rehabilitation programmes create environmental impact as men and women recycle waste electricals in our prison and community-based workshops. This keeps valuable materials in circulation while allowing participants to develop skills. In 2019 alone we processed 6,798 tonnes (t) of waste items – 1,437,944 televisions, computers, WiFi routers and gas meters in total. This meant 2,991t of plastics, 1,415t of metals and 2,393t of glass were processed ready for recycling. (These 2019 totals give a fairer reflection of environmental impact due to lockdowns impacting output throughout 2020/21.)
Our food redistribution programme also creates environmental impact by preventing waste. By delivering 3 million meals to communities in 2020, we diverted 1,262 tonnes of food from waste. As surplus stock from the food sector these goods would have otherwise gone to waste. Instead, they fed tens of thousands of people.
Chief Executive Alasdair Jackson said: “Often our environmental impact goes unsung as we mainly talk up our work supporting people, but without the operations the rest of it can’t exist. So I’m really glad this has been recognised by this prestigious award.
“We’re grateful to all the team at Selnet for recognising the many aspects of our work and continuing to be excellent supporters and partners.”
Liz Tapner MBE, Chief Executive of Selnet, said: “I’m so proud of the social enterprise world for its work when communities needed them the most. Organisations like Recycling Lives play a huge part in supporting disadvantaged people in Lancashire and I am delighted their work was recognised at the social enterprise awards.
“Charities and social enterprises have worked incredibly hard over the last 18 months meaning the standard of nominations this year was so high, it took the judging panel twice as long to reach their decision. For Recycling Lives Social Enterprise to win is a real testament to their outstanding work.”
We had also been shortlisted in the Working & Training Social Enterprise of the Year category, recognising our work supporting people who have experienced multiple disadvantages to access volunteering, training, work placements and employment.
While employment is central to our aims – offering people opportunity for independence and financial stability, improved emotional wellbeing, and elevated social status – we are sustained by our environmental efforts, which generate the vast majority of our revenue.