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Circular Economy is the new kid on the Re-use block

…says the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN), which has been re-using, repairing and recycling waste furniture, electrical appliances and other household goods for nearly 30 years.

“We’ve been living, breathing and implementing the fundamental principles of the circular economy for three decades - long before it became the buzz-word of sustainability,” says FRN CEO Craig Anderson. “The Circular Economy concept is not the sole responsibility of the waste specialists. It has to be embedded in the minds and actions of the producer, the consumer and the disposer of products. Re-use is secondary consumption. By making unwanted customer `waste’ product available for re-use, our retail partners such as John Lewis, IKEA and Dixons are actual circular economy practitioners, not just theorists. There is much to be learnt from our sector; to form a foundation for moving from a linear to a circular economy.”

FRN – in a typical example of practising what it preaches – will re-use an old `Big Brother’ Diary Room chair donated by Endemol, the TV production company. The charity will recreate its own `Diary Room’ where retailers, local authorities, the hospitality sector, waste management, logistics and other companies can discuss their current waste solutions and open up about their willingness to incorporate re-use into future waste handling services and contracts. FRN will be very discreet.

For FRN, sensible resource recovery, re-use and repair isn’t just about the environment; waste is a poverty and economic issue. FRN is helping to alleviate poverty. Every year, 950,000 low-income, in-crisis households are helped by FRN’s network of charitable re-use organisations. Low-cost, often free furniture and electrical appliances are provided to individuals and families who may have fled domestic violence situations; or to teenagers leaving care who are put into a flat for the first time. Increasingly, re-use charities are serving people who are working but the cost of living means essential items cannot be replaced. FRN’s intervention means families already struggling with debt do not turn to payday lenders and loan sharks.

“There is a direct link between current waste management approaches in handling unwanted household goods – such as furniture and electrical appliances – and poverty levels in the UK”, says Mr Anderson: “Poverty and austerity mean that the urgent need for these goods is not going away and we need to stop wasting when others have nothing. For us, this is why the Circular Economy is so important”.




Notes to Editor

RWM 2014 is taking place 16th-18th September at the NEC.

FRN is located on Stand 4H43.

This video was produced by FRN to promote better design and product longevity in large electrical appliances. Many of our re-use members repair these goods but are often confronted by cost-inhibiting design problems which mean goods are scrapped. In-built obsolescence of this nature not only fails the principles of the Circular Economy but fails low income families too.

The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) says there is solvable resource poverty in the UK, and has called upon waste management companies and local and national Government to work with the re-use sector to ensure that reusable furniture items and electrical appliances are not sent to landfill.

FRN members (re-use charities) are reusing over 110,000 tonnes of product per year which saves low income families over £350million per year, but the sector has recently seen anywhere between a 40% and 100% increase in demand since April 2013.

FRN has a number of re-use and bulky waste solutions to meet local authority and private sector waste management requirements. FRN has supported many members to secure bulky waste contracts and re-use related Service Level Agreements.

The organisation’s work with national retailers such as John Lewis and IKEA on furniture take-back schemes, helps to reduce their waste disposal costs and brings enormous CSR value to their brands.

The sector is highly professional. Over 60 FRN members are Approved Re-use Centres (ARCs). They have been audited and certified to ISO-based quality management standards and robust product specific standards. A number of these ARCs have secured fully-tendered local authority bulky waste contracts as well as work under the national commercial contracts. 11 have gone on to achieve full ISO externally verified certification.

The FRN leads and represents over 300 furniture and electrical re-use charities across the UK. Our aim and that of our members is to alleviate material poverty, through the provision of low-cost or free household goods. On average each year, our sector helps over 950,000 households across the whole of the UK. In 2012/13 the FRN network reused 2.7millions items of furniture and electrical equipment. This equates to 110,000 tonnes of waste prevented and saves low income families across the UK in the order of around £350 million.

Essential household goods include something to sleep on; something to cook on and something to sit on.

Contact details:


Craig Anderson OBE


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile: 07968 729208


Helen Middleton

Market Development Manager

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Mobile: 07726 358243


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