Leeds Wood Recycling (LWR), a new social enterprise, opened its doors in Holbeck earlier this month. The not-for-profit company has been set up by a group of community organisations including St Luke’s CARES and have secured premises on the Croydon Street industrial estate.
The business pretty much does what is says on the tin. They collect waste wood from companies and building sites, sort it, and recycle it into a range of products. Wood that can’t be reused is passed to partner company Timberpak who chip it to produce Egger boarding so now wood is wasted.
LWR charges a fee to collect wood waste comparable to skip hire, although they usually pack a lot more into per cubic yard in their van than fills a skip higgledy-piggledy. Crucially they stop the waste going to landfill and manager Charlotte Stanley tells me that ticks a lot of boxes in the construction industry and they are getting a positive reaction in the city.
They also sell wood to the general public, for example dismantling pallets and sanding the wood so that it’s ready for your DIY project. They will be making their own products such as planters, shelves and garden furniture ready for the Christmas market.
But Leeds Wood Recycling is not just about wood, it’s also about people. LWR offer volunteering opportunities for people who might be looking for work, or recovering from a mental health issue or have a learning disability. Training is provided and volunteering can be invaluable in building up work experience and self confidence.
Charlotte tells me of one young man who was really quiet when he first started. Over the weeks she taught him how to use crowbars, hammers and to saw wood. In eight weeks his confidence has just rocketed and it really showed when they went to a building site last week.
“We are so grateful to all the volunteers and other people who have helped us” she says, “the support as we’ve been setting up the business over the last month or two has been amazing. It ranged from mentoring me as I set up the shop, to testing and maintaining electrical tools, and organisations like Scrap Creative Reuse donating a table saw.”
Leeds Wood Recycling is based at Unit 6, Croydon Street, Holbeck, phone 07595 646501 www.leedswoodrecycling.co.uk