What We Do
Peterborough Reuse takes hessian and jute sacks first used to ship coffee beans from around the world to Masteroast, a local roasting and packing firm, and turns them into shopping bags. The initiative has given local women the opportunity to learn new skills and created fresh home-working opportunities. Masterminding the operation is Pav Patel, Director of a telecoms and IT solutions business. He explains: “We have unfortunately become a throwaway society that finds it cheaper to buy new than make good things that are either too old or broken. This not only harms our environment, but also reduces our ability to use the previous generation’s practical skills of repair and restoration".
Circle of Life
Every week more than 1400 sacks are collected. All the sacks have carried coffee beans from various parts of the world. The sacks are all dirty and vary hugely in design, consistency and make up. They are all able to carry upto 65 kg of weight but the makeup of the sacks varies.
Once the bags are collected they need to be cleaned. It’s common to find green coffee beans in most of the bags when they arrive for cleaning. The sacks also have that coffee smell that lingers in the cleaning area. The sacks need to be cleaned without losing their valuable integrity. The strength of the sacks is vital to hang on to as are the bright colours of the logos of the plantation that the coffee was sent from. Both these key points give the coffee sack its value for remanufacturing.
We have worked with the Department of Work and Pensions to set up a series of courses to get long term unemployed ladies in the City of Peterborough back into work by up skilling them. This was done by taking the teaching into the local community and so breaking down barriers that would exist had the ladies gone to an environment outside their comfort zone.
All our retail bags are called the Peterborough Bag! Every item that is made is bespoke, in that no two bags are the same! The word unique truly does describe our bags. The lined shopping bags are by far our bestselling product. The local charity shops supply us with excess fabric that would be sent to Africa for ragging. Again by us buying this material from the charity shops we are providing them with a sale that is worth more than ragging and better for the environment.