A recycling project supported by Harrogate’s Bettys and Taylors has saved an area of rainforest the size of HG1 and HG2 postcode areas.
The Starbeck Cone Exchange raises money from recycling packaging from Bettys and Taylors bakeries and coffee roasting plant, and in the space of just 18 months they have donated £8000 to the Yorkshire Rainforest Project enough to protect an area the same size of the town.
The Cone Exchange project has also celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and organisers hope to make an £8,000 donation to the Yorkshire Rainforest Project once a year from now on.
The project’s Chris Powell – alter ego Captain Rummage – said:
“We are hoping to make this an annual target and take rubbish from local industries in HG1 and HG2 and sell it to raise enough money to save an area of rainforest the same size as HG1 and HG2.”
The recycled packaging includes hessian sacks used to deliver green coffee beans to Taylor’s roasters, plastic bottles for lemon juice, and food buckets.
But the project also accepts donations from other local industries and groups, and can swap and trade their goods with other recycling projects.
Chris added: “We look at rubbish as treasure, not trash.”
The recycled goods are popular with craft groups, who socks, buttons, ribbons and cardboard in their projects, as well as gardeners who use the coffee sacks and wooden pallets to construct fences and storage boxes.
Chris is helped at the Cone Exchange by students from Spring Forest Sixth Form, Henshaw’s and charity Time Together, who come on valuable work experience placements.
The students help sort all the donations, and transform some of the packaging into new products for customers to buy.
Chris is appealing for more donations of buttons, which are popular with crafters who can use them as embellishments. Donated buttons are sorted by some of the autistic students who volunteer at the Cone Exchange, as they often enjoy bringing order to the mismatched buttons, Chris said.
The project needs more donations to keep up with demand from customers and students, as “they can sort them faster than we can find them,” he added.
The craft and gardening shop is open Tuesdays and Thursdays in term time, 10am-4pm