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New research from FCC Environment reveals appetite for reuse

YouGov has published new research showing a growing appetite among the public for reusing items, with 80 per cent of respondents advocating for charity reuse shops near household waste recycling centers (HWRCs).

Carried out on behalf of waste management firm FCC Environment, the new insights reveal a 12 per cent increase in the number of people who have purchased items from a local reuse shop, compared to research undertaken by the company in 2020.

Further, 73 per cent of respondents stated that despite not having access to a local reuse shop, they would still donate old items to their HWRC if there were to be one nearby. Alongside this, 60 per cent of people said that they would much rather donate old items of good quality to a reuse shop if there were one nearby than throw them away.

Alongside the clear support of buying secondhand, those surveyed also expressed interest in the repair of broken items. 64 per cent of people said they would prefer to be shown how to repair broken items at their local HWRC, while 81 per cent believe companies and local authorities should be encouraging residents to fix their faulty items.

The survey found that respondents were already in the habit of buying secondhand items (75 per cent), with half making these purchases every six months. Additionally, 56 per cent of respondents donate items to their local charity or secondhand shops every six months, with a similar percentage visiting their local HWRC at least once a year.

Of the items most commonly bought from reuse shops, books make up 24 per cent of the purchases, with clothes taking 19 per cent, furniture 16 per cent, household items 15 per cent, garden items 14 per cent, and electrical and sporting items each accounting for seven percent.

Steve Longdon, Head of Operations at FCC Environment, said: “It’s not surprising at all to see such an appetite from the public for reusing and repairing good quality second-hand items.

“At FCC Environment, we run nine reuse shops across the country with our charity and local authority partners and – despite the various Covid-19 lockdowns over the past two years – we’ve continued to see demand for our reuse shops increase.

“Just one of our shops in Suffolk, for example, diverted almost 350 tonnes of material to reuse between March 2021 and February 2022. The public’s interest in reuse is reflected in our research findings, with almost two-thirds of people who have a reuse shop at their local HWRC saying they visit at least once a year.

“We’re really proud of the work we do at our reuse shops; each of them helps support our local communities – where perhaps people are feeling the squeeze of the cost-of-living crisis – while raising vital funds for local charities. Reuse is also a win for the environment, allowing us to move waste up the hierarchy and create a more circular economy, one bargain at a time!”

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