Double awards joy for recycling pioneers

A pioneering partnership is celebrating after winning two major awards for a unique recycling project.

The partnership led by housing association Cartrefi Conwy scooped the prizes on consecutive days.


First up was the honour for Innovation at the Wales Recycling Awards in Cardiff, quickly followed by the Waste Initiative Award at  the UK Sustainable Housing Awards held at London’s Hilton Hotel.

As part of Cartrefi Conwy’s £30 million housing improvement programme nearly 4,000 kitchens and bathrooms are being salvaged instead of being dumped in a landfill site.

They have formed a partnership with contractors G Purchase Construction and the recycling social enterprise, Crest Co-operative, based in Llandudno Junction.

The team from Crest is made of up of “socially excluded” people who would otherwise find it difficult to get a job.

This is the first recycling partnership of its kind in the UK and it’s already attracting widespread interest across the country.

The project is on course to create more than 200 training and job opportunities over the next three years.

It is already 10 years ahead of the recycling target set by the Welsh Assembly Government, with more than 90 per cent of salvaged material being recycled.

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden said: “The judges were impressed with the innovation around the recycling and particularly the reusing of materials.

“Linked to that is the creation of work placements and permanent jobs which is the extra value that the judges have seen this partnership achieving.

“When we checked the guidelines with the Welsh Assembly Government we discovered we were achieving their targets 10 years early, which is quite incredible.

“What I’m trying to encourage is a culture where a simple idea can be transformative in that it can change people’s lives.

“It may be a mundane task or something that we should be doing to protect the environment but in doing so we are transforming the lives of those people gaining work opportunities

“The key to the partnership is the creation of additional traineeships and permanent jobs in the county of Conwy.

“Our core operation is to deliver an excellent landlord service to our tenants but we are always looking to add value to what we do for the benefit of the communities in Conwy.

“This is an exemplar of our vision and we will be looking at innovation in everything we do.”

Equally delighted was Sharon Jones, a Director of Crest, who said: “To win one award was fantastic but to win two awards two days on the trot was absolutely unbelievable.

“It’s a great partnership and it’s unique, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the UK.

“We are getting lots and lots of interest from other companies asking if they can replicate it in other parts of the UK.”

Steve Walker, the Project Manager from G Purchase, said: “The key to our success has been the way we have worked in partnership.

“We are determined not to rest on our laurels and we will now try and build on this success, onward and upwards.

“This project is underpinned by sound business reasons. If we are not wasting anything it means that we have to buy fewer materials in the first place.

“This is the result of common sense and good housekeeping – we’re saving money and doing our bit to save the planet at the same time.”

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