Group seeks junk to repair in effort to reduce landfill

Remade co-ordinator Sophie Unwin
Remade co-ordinator Sophie Unwin
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The city has struck a landmark deal with a community group that will prevent 240 tonnes of recyclable goods being dumped every year.

Based in Canongate, Remade in Edinburgh has been handed a contract to cut down on the amount of waste sent to landfill sites, along with educating the public about how materials can be reused.

The volunteer group has secured prime retail premises in the Old Town and intends to run a collection operation to round up broken electrical goods and unwanted furniture.

It eventually intends to secure a warehouse site.

Edinburgh City Council, which will pay the group £15,000 for the service, must meet strict government zero waste landfill targets by 2020.

Remade secured premises with the money – given to them by the council at a discounted rate – and their work is expected to save the local authority £24,000 in landfill tax in the first year.

Director Sophie Unwin said: “We’ve already been offered donations of hundreds of used computers from the NHS but we can’t take them until we have space to store them.”

Modelled largely on the success of the Bike Station, which repairs and sells on unwanted bikes, Remade will deploy volunteers to uplift broken goods which are then fixed and sold on to support the operation.

The not-for-profit firm will also be able to repair computers and other goods at knock-down rates because it is staffed by volunteers.

Remade already has 500 members, many of whom will also host seminars giving advice on how to repair clothing and electrical goods.

Ms Unwin added: “We see our mission as to develop the repair sector. Around 33 per cent of all appliances that are thrown away are still working, according to the government.

“We believe that if people know they can take these items to be fixed, or be shown how to fix them, we can cut down on that figure.”

Julie Logan, chair of the Old Town Community Council, said: “This is great news for the city centre, as the project will offer a range of useful, affordable services which will enable people to repair household goods and save money.”

Although Remade aims to collect some goods directly from homes, it said the 240-tonne figure can only be met by preventing residents from throwing goods away in the first place. Ms Unwin said it hopes to be up and running before Christmas.

Green councillor Gavin Corbett said: “It is a win-win-win that I am delighted to see based in Edinburgh.”