Trash to Treasure by CommunityR4C

Supporting eco waste projects: first up, a modern recycling plant to replace a huge wasteful incinerator. SEIS approved for 50% tax relief!

We did it!

On 4th Jul 2016 we successfully raised £80,100 of £30,000 target with 168 investors in 66 days
Community Share Project

New stretch target

Thanks to everyone who helped us reach our original target! Given the enthusiasm to date we’re going for a stretch target of £75,000 which will allow us to do more, more quickly.

 Trash to Treasure (Community R4C)

**STOP PRESS**  Crowdfunder deadline extended due to popular demand!  

Now approved by HMRC for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, which offers a generous 50% tax relief on individual investments.  Example: invest £1,000 and claim £500 reduction on your tax bill.  Withdraw your original investment in 3 years (funds permitting) and make a net gain of £500.

CommunityR4C is a Community Benefit Society, a type of co-operative enterprise that must by law create benefits for the community.  Shares may not be sold but may be withdrawn with interest.  All shareholders have an equal vote regardless of the number of shares they hold. 

What is it all about?

Trash to Treasure is a 'circular economy' initiative by Community R4C to provide economic, social and environmental benefits for Gloucestershire by treating our waste as a valuable resource rather than burning or burying it.

Its first objective is to support the building of an advanced, commercially sustainable recovery and recycling plant which can turn more than 90% of the county’s waste into valuable materials for sale and re-use.

Recycled and recovered materials – glass, plastic, paper, metals and high quality fuel pellets – will be sold. And up to a quarter of the profits – an estimated £5 million over 20 years – will be used to fund other circular economy projects to improve the way we deal with waste.

Once profits start to flow from the plant, shareholders will start to receive interest at the rate of 6% on their investment. 

Why are we doing this?

In Gloucestershire, even after household recycling, 146,000 tonnes a year of household black bag waste goes to landfill sites which are already nearly full.  

The County Council’s plan is to build a huge 'mass-burn' incinerator into which our black bags will be thrown with no sorting or pre-treatment. This will cost taxpayers at least £500 million, create an additional one million tonnes of CO2, risk pollution, and destroy valuable materials forever.  Future regulations mean this project may soon be taxed and therefore uneconomic, and in the UK incineration is rapidly approaching overcapacity.

The Trash to Treasure initiative will support the creation of a sustainable alternative, an independent recycling plant to get value from over 90% of black bag waste by sorting recyclates for use as raw materials, and by creating sustainable fuel in the form of high quality biomass pellets.  For this it will use the latest in Mechanical Biological and Heat Treatment. This short video explains how this is done.

What you stand to gain

Financially - as we have Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme approval, all individual investors will be able to reduce their tax bill by half their investment amount.  In other words if you invest £200, you would be able to reduce your tax bill by £100 immediately and still reclaim your full £200 after 3 years, funds permitting. Profits from the recycling plant are planned to flow from 2018 and the first use will be to repay investors.  Investors will start to receive interest at 6% on their shares.

Environmentally and socially – we’ll treat our black bag waste in a cleaner, cheaper way which does not threaten our beautiful landscape, or create risks to our health and that of our families and farms. This will benefit both residents and visitors -  and it will be thanks to you!

The local community will also benefit from financial support to local educational and social enterprise/small business ventures that promote a healthy approach to waste.

Democratically - as a shareholder, regardless of the amount you invest, you become a member of Community R4C with an equal vote at AGMs and an equal say on how the “community chest” is spent.

How your investment will help

The minimum investment is £100 but there is no maximum - and now that we've been approved by the taxman for SEIS relief at 50%, you can immediately claim back from HMRC half of what you invest!  Whatever you invest, funds raised through this community share offer will kickstart the development of the recycling plant through:

  • Practical support - helping the recycling plant to acquire a site, negotiate with funding partners and undertake the approval process.
  • Community engagement - informing and involving the community in all aspects of the project, including developing ideas for future projects.
  • Political engagement - persuading local district authorities to send their waste to the plant. Some, like Stroud District Council, have already expressed interest.
  • Professional communications and media relations - ensuring that people and the press locally and nationally are aware and up-to-date with what we are proposing and how we are progressing.

If we raise more than we need short-term, these funds will go into a ‘community chest’ to support local projects and ventures which will

  • Preserve Gloucestershire's environment
  • Educate on healthy approaches to waste
  • Stimulate a local circular resource economy

As a Community R4C shareholder you will have a vote and therefore influence over which projects receive funding support.

Please note that the R4C recycling plant itself will be a commercial operation and we will not fund the capital costs of building it. This will require major commercial investment but the support we provide will help to secure it.  

A ground-breaking model  for the UK

Trash for Treasure offers an exciting new model for public services like waste management.  

The usual process is that corporations bid, councils choose and the community has to like it or lump it.  In our model the community says what it wants, supports an independent company to provide it, shares the profits and invites councils to take advantage.  

Imagine what could happen across the UK if other communities followed our example...?

Who is behind this initiative?  

Community R4C is a practical, experienced community group. Founder investor members include experts on waste processing, venture capital, business development, community engagement and social enterprise.  You can read more about the team here: http://communityr4c.com/about/the-team/.

Meanwhile, don’t just take our word for how important this is…

An Inspiring Project

Broadcaster, writer, TV chef and environmental campaigner,  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (see Hugh's War on Waste, BBC)

“This is an inspiring project in so many ways. Viewing waste as a resource is a fundamentally rational approach and the environmental benefits are clear. At the moment, many completely recyclable items end up being incinerated or buried in land-fill.  This project addresses the problem, recovering vastly more useful material than traditional refuse schemes and leaving very little actual ‘waste’. 

“It’s the way all rubbish should, and hopefully will, be treated in future.  This is also a fantastic example of a community taking the initiative and setting the agenda when it comes to dealing with their own rubbish. Here’s hoping that other stakeholders will leap at the opportunity to support such an innovative and important project”

A credible, healthier alternative solution

Oscar-winning actor and environmentalist Jeremy Irons with local campaigners against incineration 

When I presented Trashed in Stroud last May, it was clear that campaigners against the proposed incinerator were exhausted by years of a struggle where democracy had failed, concern for the environment had been dismissed and the will of the people consistently ignored.  

When I urged them to "re-gird their loins and do something", I aimed to encourage continued resistance. I'm delighted to discover that the community has actually gone several steps further and created a credible, healthier alternative solution that poses a genuine threat to the toxic monster they've been fighting.

This project demonstrates clearly that where the system fails, the people can step up and do better. Waste is all of our responsibility, and it's high time we started taking that responsibility. This community has, and will be healthier for it in more ways than one. It's a precedent that needs setting - and following.”  Jeremy Irons

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Important Documents 

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**Resource Recovery, Recycling and Refining Centre.  

 Risk Warning: Funding pitches through Crowdfunder.co.uk carries some risk. There is no guarantee for members making donations that any reward offered will be delivered. Equally, when members invest in community shares the capital they invest is at risk and they may not get back what they put in. Rewards based crowdfunding and the sale of community shares are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, nor covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Click here to read more about the risks.


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