Photo: Gary Grimshaw
By Caroline Moody
‘Tis the season to be shopping… but before you get carried away, have you thought about your carbon footprint?
We have become accustomed to the hype around Black Friday, the sudden demand for you to go into a shopping frenzy, making sure you are buying in time for Christmas and securing some discount deals.
But how much that you buy is not really needed, has a massive carbon footprint and is a waste of plastic and unrecyclable wrapping?
For people who want to buy ethically and consider their social good as well as the environment, they should look no further than Acorn Enterprises.
In September 2018, Acorn Enterprises opened its Reuse Centre in Trinity and they could not have hoped for more public support. There is a constant flow of Islanders donating to Acorn instead of taking items to the dump. It’s universally acknowledged that we live in a throwaway society but people are starting to realise just what that means.
By shopping at a charity shop like Acorn, you can reduce your carbon footprint considerably. Take a settee, for example. Instead of dumping it, if it goes to Acorn it could benefit first-time buyers, low-income families, or just someone who wants to reduce their own carbon footprint.
By buying that settee, you are saving the earth’s resources because you are lessening the demand for a new one, and saving on the fuel needed to transport it across the world.
The Reuse Network, of which Acorn Reuse is a member, has come up with an impact calculator to help you calculate what difference it makes to our environment to buy secondhand.
Acorn general manager Steve Pearce says: “It’s now universally recognised that humans have a huge impact on the earth’s resources and we have all come to the realisation that things have got to change. And if everybody makes a small change, it can have a large impact.
“Second-hand doesn’t have to mean second best. We have a great many items donated to us that are very good quality because it may be just that people are changing furniture, altering their colour scheme, moving house or downsizing. If you haven’t been to the Reuse Centre in the last year, you’d be surprised by what’s available.”
Since Acorn Reuse started as a collection point at La Collette in January 2017, it has diverted more than 814 metric tonnes from the waste stream.
Since then, up until August this year, 5,438 small electrical items have been diverted from the waste stream. According to the Reuse Network calculator this equates to 31,214 kg CO2 saving.
13,218 furniture items, or 256 tonnes, have been reused, not dumped. Similarly, 80 tonnes of clothes and 260 tonnes of bric-a-brac.
On average, Acorn diverts 43 tonnes from the waste stream and puts it back into the community in the form of reusable items.
Steve said: “There’s definitely been a change in public attitude since Acorn Reuse opened its doors in Trinity in September 2018. People can see what can be achieved by investing in the reuse way of thinking. Books come and go like they are in a library and tools are bought for a specific job and then re-donated. The choice of furniture, for example, is always changing and can be quirky and individual.
“By buying reused items, you’re importing fewer goods to the Island, you’re preventing items from going into the waste stream, you’re helping low-income families with goods they could not otherwise necessarily afford, you’re generating an income for a worthy cause as well as providing employment and training for people with a disability or long-term health condition. And it’s a community opportunity for volunteering and social good. It really is as our slogan says: Business for good.
“People think they can’t contribute to climate change but actually you can reduce your carbon footprint significantly by supporting local initiatives like Acorn. There are plenty of studies which show that buying second-hand furniture reduces your carbon footprint.”
In addition, when kitting out your new home, Acorn Woodshack creates unique and bespoke tables and bookshelves using wood from reclaimed timber from demolitions, wood which would otherwise have been broken up and burned.
Steve added that if people are moving and have several large items to donate, Acorn can arrange a collection service to take items to their base in Trinity.
Acorn welcomes teams of volunteers who want to give something back through their CSR programmes. Staff from Indigo Estates recently spent a day helping out in the Reuse Centre to see for themselves the work behind the scenes.
Jackie Matthews said: “We all wanted to donate some time to this worthwhile charity and we found it to be quite a humbling experience. Our task was to assist with the sorting of the mountainous pile of clothing. It makes you realise that you don’t have to buy new. I’d recommend that people take time to visit if you are looking for anything from a spoon to a sofa. It’s all there. Moving home? You can fill it at Acorn!”
We looked around Acorn Reuse for half a dozen items of furniture and this is how they compared to a similar item on a popular online retailer. We used the Reuse Network impact calculator to estimate the CO2 savings.
|Small dining room table + four chairs||£40||£115||32kg|
Acorn are always in need of further financial support and are inviting businesses to get in touch to help them grow, in order to offer further life-changing opportunities for people with a disability or long-term health condition. For more information, please call Caroline on 788972 or email [email protected]