Recycle Fife – turning a campaign into a business
When Ballingry residents, Frankie Hodge & Jackie Dunsmuir, campaigned against landfill proposals back in 2003, they really took their cause all the way and ended up co-founding a brand new enterprise, which answered their concerns!
In their campaigning days Jackie and former builder, Frankie Hodge, joined the Fife West Action Group and went round pubs and clubs in the area highlighting the opportunities to recycle instead of sending waste to landfill. And so, Recycle Fife was born! The social enterprise was established in 2004 and provides jobs, training and volunteering opportunities while running as a financially sustainable company based in Lochgelly. It currently employs 18 paid staff between the ages of 18 and 56. The vast majority of the employees have been previous New Deal placements, and long term unemployed with other employees bringing specialist skills to the operation. The organisation employs its own in house specialist mechanical fitter, joiner, welder and spray painter.
The company offers kerbside recycling services and skip hire throughout Fife to factories, offices, clubs, shops, medical services and any other businesses who have a recycling requirement for materials including cans, glass, paper and cardboard, plastics, wood, soil, textiles and scrap metal.
With a raft of awards including the Green Business Fife “Green Service Award 2010” the team at Recycle Fife is well placed to advise clients on how to approach recycling and the real benefits of adopting a greener way of business. The company has invested in equipment, machinery and training to ensure that their services add value to their clients’ businesses. Jackie and her team advise clients, and potential clients, about the legislative requirements and costs of meeting waste management through landfill, both financially and environmentally. They ensure that they offer a business friendly, cost effective and environmentally sound alternative to traditional waste management methods.
Following an initial audit, the Recycle Fife service offers a tailor-made service package for each client, including skip hire, where appropriate, and waste collections. Proof of their ability to devise a plan for every client’s special needs is the pilot the company undertook in the Renal Unit at Queen Margaret Hospital in 2009 in Dunfermline, which was such a success that the scheme has now been rolled out throughout hospitals Fife wide.
Customers, school children and local businesses are often invited to the Recycle Fife processing facility to see how the whole recycling initiative works. It’s a way of showcasing the very high standards and innovative processes that the company operates to and a great way to spreading the recycling message.
• Providing a first class service to over 1000 customers.
• 94% of income from trading
• On average 400 tonnes of materials diverted from landfill every month
• 18 staff - 80% are former New Deal/long term unemployed.
• 133 jobs created since inception.
• Over 200 training places provided 2011/2012
• 80% of beneficiaries live in SIMD areas
• Biggest Fife Partner for Triage Central in respect of the provision of New Deal Placements.
• Staff and trainees gaining accredited qualifications, SVQ Waste Management.
• Winners of Scottish Waste Resources Best Community Sector Initiative Award 2009
• Winners of Green Business Fife “Green Service Award” 2010
These statistics demonstrate that Recycle Fife helps the environment and the local community in a big way. The organisation is an excellent example of best practice and innovation in the recycling sector. Increased employment and training opportunities have enabled us to provide the best service we can to our local community and has significantly increased the tonnages we divert from landfill.
However, the management ensures that there is a healthy balance between the values of their social enterprise and commercial sensitivities and opportunities. Being able to employ people and invest in the latest technology requires a strong business and marketing strategy. Recycle Fife prides itself on being able to compete commercially with companies in and beyond Fife. The company offers competitive costs, tailor-made packages, one pick up for all waste materials and a reliable service. It can also offer a fully automated ‘cradle-to-grave’ audit trail of each company’s waste, ensuring that companies know exactly how their waste was managed and be able to incorporate that information into their finances and corporate reporting. At the other end of the process the management ensures that there are attractive and profitable markets for the materials they collect. Developing new services for additional materials depends on securing established markets for them.
Recycle Fife works closely with a number of other agencies such as the Green Business Partnership and Zero Waste Scotland to help companies and communities adopt a recycling strategy that works. Not surprisingly, the company is closely involved with its own community around Lochgelly having been born out of a passion to do things differently there. It supports local community initiatives like the civic week and gala through the local newspaper. But a high standard of service serves the team well commercially and the company continues to grow its business through word of mouth, referrals and testimonials – just as it started!
Cartmore Industrial Estate.
Tel: 01592 781984
Fax: 01592 781984
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