For 16 years, Bristol Wood Recycling Project has thrived on otherwise unusable land and resources. Our self-financing model, in which waste wood is diverted from landfill for sale and reuse, was pioneered by the national Community Wood Recycling Project based in Brighton. With their guidance we have grown from a shoestring operation of two staff to currently employing eleven people and regularly engaging around forty volunteers. Since 2004 our collections team have saved over five thousand tons of wood from decaying in landfill, in turn providing Bristol's trade, domestic, creative and alternative communities a fantastic resource of affordable, salvaged timber.
As a not-for-profit Social Enterprise without shareholders or dividends, the income we make from sales and collections are locked into the business so that we can better meet our objectives for people and planet. This means that after the bills are paid, we work principally to create an inclusive, resourceful community in which well-being is primary. Bristol provides a fertile social ecology for this sort of thing, and in 2011 we evolved into a Cooperative enabling greater agency and ownership for staff and volunteers alike, as well as working in solidarity with the global Cooperatives movement.
In 2018 we had to vacate our original home on Bristol's historic former Cattle Market after a long and generous peppercorn rent from Bristol City Council. With enormous good fortune we found our new home a short distance away in St Philips which boasts a prime location next to the Household Waste Recycling Centre, a vast workshop and hitherto undreamed of internal space. This move, and the intention to purchase our new home, represent both the largest opportunity and challenge in our story; we welcome all participation in our necessary growth and innovation.