Saved from landfill to find new homes

REVIVE Leeds’ involvement with the local community and its collaborative approach helped it secure the award for Best Environmental Start-up.

The community interest company was up as a partnership by three third sector groups – Emmaus Leeds, the charity helping the homeless, St Vincent de Paul, a charity helping alleviate poverty, and South Leeds Alternative Trading Enterprise, which is a social enterprise designed to support people with learning disabilities.

In a joint venture, with Leeds City Council, Revive Leeds set up a new re-use shop on the East Leeds household waste site, designed to catch and divert waste headed for the landfill and re-sell goods for the benefit of the community.

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Revive Leeds has already diverted 47.5 tonnes of waste from the landfill since it opened its doors on August 24 last year.

It has also worked with 114 individual local volunteers over 1,281 hours and provided support to 426 people in the Community Payback Team.

In return, any year-end financial surplus is divided between the three organisations so they can continue to provide services to their own specific client groups.

The judges were impressed with Revive’s innovative idea, turning land waste into a commercial opportunity.

Ali Ward, chair of Revive Leed, said it felt “absolutely amazing” to have won the award, adding: “So many people don’t know about us so to actually get the kudos you get with winning an award is just stunning.”

Miss Ward said: “Revive takes goods in that would previously go to landfill and sells them in our shop. So customers come to the shop and they donate items. If they get to the waste site before donating then then the Leeds City Council guys on the waste site take any reusable items for us. We get everything.

“We’ve got a violin in, we have exercise equipment, we have children’s toys, we have glasses, we have games, we have books, we have absolutely anything that once lived in somebody’s house.”

She added: “It’s really useful stuff and it’s much cheaper that going to a high street store and it’s better for the environment.”

“We are passionate about reuse, we are passionate about stopping items going to landfill and we are passionate about giving people second opportunities.”

Revive educates people in the benefits of reuse and recycling while also providing on the job training around work ethics for its local volunteers and staff. Some customers have become volunteers themselves and are helping people who live in disadvantaged areas with affordable household goods.

Knowing that there is a newly refurbished recycling site with a re-use shop down the road acts as an incentive, said Revive, for people to dispose of unwanted items responsibly, handling them carefully so that they can be re-used rather than getting broken and dumped.