Our Social Impact programmes

Recycling Lives’ operations deliver more than just environmental and economic impact - they also create tangible social impact through our own social value programmes.

The Impact of our partnerships

Our work is doing more than just changing lives for individuals, families and communities - between 2015 and 2019 it has created huge savings for society by reducing costs to the taxpayer and creating social value worth millions of pounds.


  • 27 individuals supported into independent living
  • + 228 ex-offenders rehabilitated
    and supported into work
  • + 3.2m meals delivered across
    Lancashire & Cumbria
  • = £28.3m reported Social Value -
    created through savings to society

What is Social Value?

We’re reducing reoffending by rehabilitating offenders through training and employment; supporting homeless men through stable accommodation and opportunities for training and employment; and supporting community groups by redistributing surplus food to ensure they can feed vulnerable groups.

We define Social Value as the savings created for society by our activities - whether for local or national government, or for community groups or individuals. Our work creates these savings by:

  • supporting homeless men - saving the taxpayer on costs for welfare dependency
  • reducing reoffending - saving the taxpayer on costs within the criminal justice system
  • redistributing food to support community groups - saving charitable organisations running costs for food

Our programmes have created £28.3m social value to date, growing significantly each year - £11m in 2018/19, £8m in 2017/18, £5.2m in 2016/17 and £4.1m in 2015/16.

The programmes are recognised as some of the most successful of their kind in the UK; delivering significant savings to society while remaining financially self-sufficient.

Social Value
Our Commitment

Recycling Lives is committed to delivering social impact in line with business growth - we will create social value each year that is equal to, or greater than, 10% of annual sales. Since our social value reporting began, we have far exceeded this commitment - creating £4.1m social value against sales of £31.7m in 2015/16, and £5.2m social value against sales of £46.5m in 2016/17, £8m against sales of more than £70m in 2017/18 and £11m social value against more than £100m sales in 2018/19.

This £28.3m social value is only the reported social value, since we started measuring our social value in 2015/16. Our work created the same social impact for many years before this.

All our social value figures are calculated using government and national metrics, including Food Standards Agency figures on the value of a meal, Cabinet Office findings on the cost of reoffending, by a Social Return On Investment (SROI) practitioner.

About Our Social Value Team

Meet the team changing lives and ensuring the success of our programmes.

About Our Social Value Report 2017/18

Read about the financial and real-life impact of our work throughout 2017/18.

More about Recycling Lives

Learn more about Recycling Lives unique model, combining business and charity.

Social Value
News, Blogs & Case Studies