Dougie Mac's charity stores offer more than just fantastic bargains
MORE than 440,000 items which would have been sent to landfill have been recycled in the last year thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers at a chain of charity shops.
The retail arm of the Douglas Macmillan Hospice believes it is on track to rescue even more unwanted goods this year, with an estimated 627,000 items due to be saved.
A total of 16 shops are located throughout North Staffordshire, selling donated goods such as clothing, toys, furniture and electrical items.
Profits go directly back to the hospice which provides care for people with progressive and life-limiting conditions.
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But not only do the shops directly help the charity care for its patients, they are helping to care for the environment as well.
If an item cannot be sold in the shops, it is broken down into component parts for collection by a recycling agent.
Now the charity has entered The Sentinel Business Awards in the Environmental Business category, sponsored by Lister Trade Frames.
Karen McKenzie, director of income generation at the hospice, which is based in Blurton, said: "Donated items deemed unsuitable for sale are sorted into textile, metal and paper and then sold to appropriate licensed recycling companies.
"These are companies which can provide us with evidence that the items are going to be recycled and are not destined for landfill sites.
"Also, we are always on the lookout for new ways to use discarded items and materials to make new products.
"For example, old cassette boxes are used to create memory boxes."
The shops have also sold a range of wall clocks made from records and necklaces made from buttons.
Staff do not buy in any carrier bags and instead they reuse bags already in circulation. Its message to businesses is 'bag it and bring it' to encourage more people across North Staffordshire to recycle and donate items to the shops instead of throwing them away.
A spokesman said: "We are asking companies to host a drop off point for one week to encourage staff to donate items they no longer want or use.
"The concept is simple. Donation bags will be supplied prior to the campaign week for staff to take home and bag any unwanted or unused quality clothing, books, CDs, DVDs and household goods they wish to donate.
"There will then be a drop off point during the week for staff to simply bring their filled donation bags to work."
It costs approximately £8 million per year to keep the hospice running.
The hospice employs around 220 staff and has the support of more than 700 volunteers who work in all areas of the hospice.
Ninety per cent of the stock in its shops is donated by the public.