Recycling balls

Laurel and hardy

Well what a day of utter wankery this has been. Here at Blogger HQ we had a table to get rid of and we immediately thought of our old mate Vowlsie and his recycling mantras – REDUCE: REUSE: RECYCLE.

Let’s not just throw the table away we thought, let’s do the right thing (and save on the city council’s £15 bulky waste collection fee to boot) and get it reused by one of these new-fangled furniture recycling do-gooder outfits.

A phone call to Old Market’s Sofa Project – “the UK’s leading furniture and electrical appliance re-use charity”followed:

“Hi we’ve got a table that could be reused. Would you like to come and collect it?”

“OK. That’ll be ten pounds please.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“That’ll be ten pounds please.”

“We have to pay? But surely you’re paid already through government funding and you sell the furniture don’t you?”

“Yes but rising costs have forced us to suspend our ‘free collection’ policy. Our accountants tell us that in fact it costs us £15 each time we call at a home. As a charity we can no longer continue to cover this cost from our own resource. So that’ll be ten pounds in advance please.”

“OK. Seems a bit of con but when can you come?”

“Four weeks.”

“Beg your pardon?”

“Four weeks.”

“It’ll cost me ten quid and take you four weeks to collect a table?”

“Yes. That’s how long the wait is at the moment.”

“Has your accountant mentioned the fact you’re fucking useless? Cheerio!”

A call then ensued to Emmaus. They allegedly reuse furniture for the homeless. “We don’t need tables thank you very much and even if we did we can’t pick it up for two weeks – goodbye.”

We eventually phoned a second hand company in South Bristol. They’re collecting it FOC first thing tomorrow, which makes you wonder . . . How come a private business can collect our table, at short notice, the next day for nothing and make a profit but a government and council funded charity specifically designed for this very purpose is so completely inefficient it cannot and runs at a loss?

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12 Responses to Recycling balls

  1. Minty says:

    Sounds about right. Only the Kingswood Furniture Project were interested when I tried to get rid of some (perfectly good) furniture a while back.

    The other option is to leave it on the pavement – some Honest Traveling Folk ™ will remove it soon enough…

  2. BristleKRS says:

    Whatever you do, don’t mention that SOFA relies on dole slaves pressganged through (private, profit-making) ‘training providers’ for labour!

  3. guri says:

    Or you could have advertised it on Freecycle or Gumtree.

  4. mimi says:

    Freecycle? Seems obvious to me…

  5. After asking around the family/friends…I’ve had good success leaving furniture on my front garden wall with a sign on saying please take if you want it. Freecycle also good:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreecycleBristol/

    How completely useless of the Sofa Project and Emmaus though. You’ve tried to do the right thing and received a response that is rubbish. Mind you the emphasis our society currently places on waste reduction and reuse is basically crap, yet its more environmentally friendly than recycling.

    Your experience tells us that we need to establish financial incentives for loads of local small businesses doing reuse and recycling (I’d add loads more repairs and maintanance firms to this list too).

  6. S F says:

    Sofa Project has teamed up with FRN, which is run by none other than Paul Smith, local Labour politician. Their new offices were opened by Kerry McCarthy MP last year. What did you expect?

  7. LP says:

    On behalf of the SOFA Project I would like to reply to the original comment with the following:

    I am sorry that you did not receive the customer service that you were looking for when trying to donate your table, and I thank you for thinking of us first.

    The collection ‘fee’ has now been STOPPED, and we are collecting furniture FOC, but please note we do ask for a donation for electrical items (£10 for a fridge and £5 for a TV) to cover the recycling/processing costs that we will incur, if these items do not pass the safety tests we run in order to provide warranty covers, now that the EU WEEE Directive prevents any such items going to landfill.

    We are a long standing charity to Bristol, supporting both the residential and business community, and as a charity we are a not for profit organisation. We do sell items that are approved for reuse in our shop and all money generated from sales helps us to continue our good work across a growing client base in the SW. We receive over 100 calls a day for collections and with 8 vans to do the work we do have differing lead times, which I’m sure is frustrating.

    Your comments show complete ignorance to our work and the constraints we work to, and lack of appreciation for the ‘do-gooder’ (as you call it) support that we have provided to nearly 7,000 homes this year.

    END.

  8. thebristolblogger says:

    You can play the charity card and whine about your “not-for-profit” credentials all you like.

    But the reality is you get your money through grants – not through fundraising directly from the public or from running a decent business – the majority of which come from our tax.

    Perhaps you’d like to tell us how much you pay your “not-for-profit” chief exec these days? Then we’ll be a little less ignorant about your work won’t we? Or is that a secret?

    Oh. And it’s well-known that SOFA Project was first in the queue to talk to the citizen’s jury on waste about taking on the council’s contract for bulky waste collection was it not?

    Then we’ll be forced to pay you £15 a time for a service that used to be FREE.

    You’re a bunch of sell-outs And as S F points out above, the latest voluntary sector gravy train for the Bristol Labour Party. (Fancy you lot being in line for a council waste contract!)

  9. Gary Hopkins says:

    I listened with considerable interest to the presentation to the citizens jury(who demonstrated by the way that the average Bristol citizen could learn more about the subject in 3 days than most Labour and Tory councillors have in 3 years) from SOFA.To be fair to them they do have a charitable purpose wider than waste reduction but any organisation dealing with a large public contract needs to be able to deliver. The arrangements for bulky waste collections along with the rest of the contract were being rejigged over the last 2 years and it would have suited myself,officers and the waste reduction agenda down to the ground to be able to give first look at any collection to a reuse organisation.They could then select what they could use and subcontract the rest to be removed quickly(with as much recycled as possible). There was no deal because SOFA did not have the capacity.
    Presumably Mr Smith (ms MacCarthy’s erstwhile campaign manager)was responsible for drafting the staggeringly stupid parliamentary questions a little while ago that allowed Ben Bradshaw to use out of date data to compare Bristol’s recycling system unfavourably with a Labour council in Wales. Unfortunately for them the Welsh “trial” was so badly designed it had to be withdrawn.

  10. Tracey Fan says:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/bristol/discuss/72157602070008049/#comment72157605994376465

    Trapac had exactly the same problem as you at exactly the same time, you are Trapac and ICMFP.

  11. BristleKRS says:

    Isn’t this the same ‘outing’ allegation made weeks back by camel@aol.com (IP: 77.103.192.254) on the comments of various Bristol blogs? Slightly expanded upon this time, though.

    As though two people moaning about SOFA not collecting a piece of furniture must mean it’s the same person! (Though TBB’s point was that collection would cost the donor to collect a table, whilst Trapac’s was that SOFA wouldn’t take a fixed-leg table and chairs.)

  12. thebristolblogger says:

    Seems to be yes. I’ve left it up as it only uses pseudonyms.

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