Helping more than just the environment

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THE recycling arm of the Les Amis charity continues to offer multiple benefits to the island and community, encouraging sustainability while offering employment for those with learning disabilities and associated conditions.

Following the temporary suspension of the Les Amis Recycling Service, the Island’s largest charity is pleased to have recommenced its oil-recycling service, providing meaningful employment to its service users once more and offering local businesses access to an environmentally friendly disposal solution while helping a great cause.

With offices having closed for a period of time, and many people still working from home, Les Amis had to cease its office-recycling collections, instead focusing on how it could make the waste-vegetable-oil collection the most efficient service possible. The initiative has now changed to offer a free collection to all businesses across the Island, making recycling cooking oil accessible to all.

Jason Loveless, head of support services, said: ‘While there has been great disruption to the Island’s businesses over the past year, there has also been incredible opportunity to do things differently. We hope that many of those businesses who weren’t recycling their used oil can use this time to rethink their operations and use our service to support the charity. With environmental and sustainability efforts being increasingly focused on there is a demand on businesses to do more and we are more than happy to partner with them to help reach their goals.

‘There is also the potential for Les Amis to grow the recycling business it offers, allowing even more residents and those with learning disabilities to play a part in protecting the environment while experiencing what it is like to have the responsibility of a job and earn a wage.’

During the pandemic Les Amis residents had been unable to work in the recycling team in order to protect their safety. But with lockdown measures now being eased and restaurants operating again, the charity is overjoyed to start collecting used cooking oil again as it looks to grow the employment initiative of the charity. People have been overjoyed to see the recycling team back doing their rounds and the charity is thrilled have a presence back in the community raising awareness of Les Amis.

The Les Amis Recycling Service, which is accredited by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, was created to support the Island’s green agenda. This includes reaching a target to recycle 36% of local waste under the banner, Recycle for Jersey. The service is also a social enterprise initiative that provides paid work for people with a learning disability, including employment contracts and the associated benefits of being an employee of a large organisation.

In the absence of being able to host any other fundraising events, the Island’s largest charity is dependent on the funds generated from the recycling team.

Shaun Findlay, managing director of Les Amis, said: ‘While the safety of our residents is always our main priority, we are very pleased to be able to resume the oil-recycling service for businesses so that our residents are able enjoy some of the benefits associated with working. This arm of our charity gives them independence, improves their mental wellbeing and offers them a better quality of life as they make a meaningful contribution to the community. More and more people are seeing the necessity to recycle their waste and protect the beautiful island we live in and we would love to see more businesses sign up to use our oil recycling services.’

Les Amis kindly received a donation from the Jersey Association of Charities to allow them to purchase the recycling van and launch this venture in 2017. Now the recycling team, which currently consists of nine employees, collects waste vegetable oil from a range of local businesses, including hotels, bars and restaurants. The waste oil is filtered then shipped to the UK and sold for biofuel productions. From May 2018 to the end of 2019, Les Amis’ Recycling Service collected 273,210 litres of waste vegetable oil, which equates to 251.3 metric tons.

The charity itself has been looking at how it can go ‘more green’, having ceased its regular newsletter, which was posted through Islanders’ doors, in favour of a digital version to save on paper waste. They are also looking to partner with more local organisations with similar goals so that they can achieve more together.

Jason said: ‘It is a shame that we have had to pause our waste and cardboard collection from businesses but, with the circumstances around the pandemic, it just isn’t possible at the moment. Hopefully in the future we can find a way to expand our recycling to better help these businesses, the island and the wider environment.’

To find out how you could use Les Amis’ recycling services please get in touch with them directly. To make a donation, please visit lesamis.org.je/donate.

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