The Reuse360 Hub is a circular economy initiative developed by the Waste Service at Lancashire County Council, designed to divert good quality furniture and household items out of the waste stream, and instead into the homes of people who need help. Items are collected from one of Lancashire's Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), where they are then cleaned and prepared for reuse at the Reuse360 Hub by members of staff and volunteers.
Access to the Hub is granted on a referral basis, with the referrals typically being made by social workers, but also other professionals too, such as school teachers within Lancashire. Items can be selected from the Hub via the Reuse360 Hub website, and then distributed either by click&collect or delivery service which is run in partnership with Lancashire's Child and Youth Justice Service. The Reuse360 Hub also offers pop-up events where the Reuse360 Hub goes on tour!
The need for the Reuse360 Hub is both social and environmental. In the Lancashire-12 area, 13.3% of the total population are income deprived, with 16.7% of children aged 0-15 living in income deprived families. Some of the people who make up these statistics are clients of the Reuse360 Hub, along with others facing difficulties, such as those fleeing domestic violence, refugees, or young people leaving care. The Reuse360 Hub is able to alleviate some of the financial challenges these individuals and families face by providing reusable items that would otherwise have been destined for landfill or recycling, for free.
Redistributing these reusable items of course has much needed environmental benefits too - playing a small but important role in increasing Lancashire's recycling, reuse and composting rate of 45.7% (2019/20) to the target rate of 65% by 2035. Compared to making and buying new, reusing existing items already in the economy reduces the need for new natural resources, reduces pollution and energy consumption, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases being released - a core goal of the Reuse360 Hub.
The Reuse360 Hub has drawn upon many sources in its development journey, including the Reuse Network and other furniture and homeless charities across Lancashire.
The primary way in which the Reuse360 Hub engages with different communities within Lancashire is through the Lancashire County Council's Social Care Service. The Hub is in contact with over 100 professionals who act as referrers for the Reuse360 Hub clients both via email and thorough the Reuse360 website. The Hub is advertised internally and is also shared by word of mouth between different services, organisations and councils in Lancashire.
The website has played a crucial role in the success of the initiative as it acts like any other e-commerce site, allowing clients to browse and order the Hub's stock with ease. The decision to design the website like any other e-commerce site was not only based on the ease and efficiency it would facilitate, but also on the notion that it would add a sense of dignity to the process and allow clients to feel like they were ordering furniture and items like anybody else. It certainly helps to have a well-designed and functional online platform from the onset, as well as robust data collection and analysis methods.
Number of families and individuals helped.
Monetary savings to families.
Monetary savings to Lancashire County Council.
Number of items diverted out of the waste stream.