With Organic September upon us, it's the perfect time for charities to think about becoming more environmentally conscious. As a respite care provider, we already deliver an incredibly vital service, acting as a lifeline for hundreds of families around the local area. This has not stopped us from going the extra mile and finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. These are just a few simple examples of our efforts to showcase that, even in a highly specialised setting, it is possible to operate without leaving an enormous environmental footprint on our planet. 

1. Giving clothes a new home: Our Clothing Bank

Located in the parking lot of Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex, the Cherry Trees clothing bank allows supporters and members of the public to donate their unwanted items. Not only does this stop textiles from unnecessarily ending up in landfill, and help distribute clothes to those in need, it also provides a small additional income stream for the charity. It's a win win win scenario: a cleaner planet, charity income and support for those in need. What more could you want?

2. LED lights and up-to-date sustainable technology

Traditional lighting is notoriously bad for the environment and for our wallets. Here is why:

  • LED lights can last up to 20x longer than standard bulbs
  • While fluorescent lights convert 95% of energy into heat and only 5% into light, the reverse is true for LED lights, making them enormously efficient. Plus, the less energy we use, the less the charity will have to spend on electricity bills. 
  • LED lights are also far less toxic than traditional, fluorescent lights. These contain mercury; an environmentally harmful substance that can leak into the soil when disposed of in landfill. 

With this in mind, Cherry Trees has worked hard to update our out-of-date light fittings with shiny new LED ones.

Source: UK Energy Lighting

3. Green merchandise 

Cherry Trees has a whole range of merchandise available right here in our Online Shop. From Christmas cards to wrapping paper and home décor, we have loads for our supporters to choose from. This year we have made a conscious effort to make our merchandise as eco-friendly as possible. We have done this by:

  • Stocking glitter and plastic free Christmas cards. Traditionally, glitter and mixed material cards cannot be recycled, and often end up in landfill after the holidays. Glitter is also a harmful micro-plastic that has a negative impact on wildlife when it leaks into bodies of water. 
  • Using recycled fabrics to create our ever-popular bunting. Made lovingly by Mary Evans, these stunning interior design pieces are made from unwanted fabrics donated to Cherry Trees, thereby reducing the demand and environmental cost of new textiles. 

4. Renewable energy 

The big R! With renewable energy becoming more and more accessible to organisations of all sizes, there is no good reason for why renewable energy sources should not at least be considered in every charity. At Cherry Trees, we are proud to say that our Fundraising Barn has already moved into the renewable era and has a roof full of solar panels powering the building. What's more, we are looking into ways of adding more solar panels onto the main house to completely transform the way we consume electricity! 

5. Ink cartridge recycling

Did you know you can recycle used printer ink cartridges? This home office staple is a bit of a mystery when it comes to disposal. Even with the best of intentions, it's often difficult to recycle or donate them, so more often than not, they end up in landfill.

Luckily, there's a very simple way to fix this inky problem. Thanks to Recycle4Charity, Cherry Trees can collect used printer ink cartridges and exchange them for a donation. Each used cartridge has a donation value, with special cartridges going for significantly more. Curious what your cartridges are worth? Visit their website to find out, and donate them today. You can either bring your cartridges to us or download a free postage label and send it yourself.