Recycling Lives creates £5.2m social value

Recycling Lives has created social value worth millions of pounds.

By reducing reoffending rates, supporting homeless men to regain their independence, and delivering meals to community groups, we created a saving to society worth £5.2m in just one year.

This social value was created in the biggest year yet for both our charity and our recycling and waste management business as we expanded our social operations, opened new recycling sites nationally and saw a rise in sales by 47% to £46m.

We have now published our annual social value figures, showing the financial and social impact of our work – to read our latest Social Value Report click here.

Our HMP Academies programme created social value worth £2.6m by reducing reoffending. Of the 37 offenders we supported to move into meaningful work and stable accommodation on release from prison, 36 were rehabilitated and did not reoffend within one year of release. Compared to the national reoffending rate of around 67%, our approach delivers significantly improved rehabilitation results.

Dean – the father-of-three has regained access to spend time with his children within just months of release from prison, with Recycling Lives’ support. He was offered a full-time role at our Recycling Park on release from prison, after impressing with his determination and work ethic while working in a HMP Academy. He said: “Recycling Lives has helped me in every way – with a job, a home and my children.”

Our Residential Charity created social value worth £300,000 by supporting homeless men to regain their independence. We supported eight men with histories of homelessness and offending into employment and stable accommodation, where they are no longer reliant on the welfare system.

Clarke – the father-of-one moved into our residential charity on release from prison. He undertook training and work placements before being offered a role with a national utilities firm which allowed him to move into his own home. He said: “I’ve never been given chances like this before, I’m getting experience and skills. Recycling Lives does so much for people – it’s a special kind of company.”

Our Food Redistribution Centre created social value worth £2.3m by delivering meals to charitable groups. We delivered 698,000 meals via 106 charitable groups across Lancashire and Cumbria, helping groups save around £7,900 annually in food costs and diverting 293 tonnes of food from landfill in the process.

St Catherine’s Hospice – the charity, which provides specialist palliative care in central Lancashire, uses goods from the Food Redistribution Centre to cater for the tastes and dietary requirements of patients for its 19-bed in-patient unit and day therapy unit. Being a member of the Centre means it saves a significant amount on food costs – funds which can then be used elsewhere for the charity. Charity bosses said: “The food helps us to offer more choice for our patients and assists us in meeting their personal preferences and needs – helping to improve their quality of life.”

All Recycling Lives’ social value figures are calculated using government metrics – including Cabinet Office findings on the cost of reoffending to the public purse and Food Standards Agency figures on the value of a meal – by a Social Return on Investment practitioner.

Managing director William Fletcher said:

“Recycling Lives is changing the way business is done. We are leading the way in showing that businesses don’t have to choose between commercial success or social return for the communities they serve. We achieve both and are committed to growing our charity programmes in line with our business growth and creating social value equal to or greater than 10% of annual sales.

“We are proving that social value delivers commercial value, by developing a business model that others want to work with for financial value environmental benefit and social impact.”