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Recycling the value of thriftiness

PUBLISHED: 16:11 14 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:41 03 July 2010

Malcolm Porter with recycled building materials.

Malcolm Porter with recycled building materials.

HE grew up in a time when there was no such thing as recycling - it was simply a necessity to 'make do and mend'.

But now one Acle grandfather has turned his natural thriftiness into a new business recycling unwanted building materials such as bricks, timber, nails and screws to be reused by the public.

HE grew up in a time when there was no such thing as recycling - it was simply a necessity to 'make do and mend'.

But now one Acle grandfather has turned his natural thriftiness into a new business recycling unwanted building materials such as bricks, timber, nails and screws to be reused by the public.

At the same time as Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the green economy would be a major part of the country's recovery plan, Malcolm Porter officially opened Third Hand Recycling, based at Reeves Corner in Great Plumstead.

“It wasn't called recycling when I was young, it was called necessity,” said Mr Porter, 70, who was born in Yarmouth.

“It was before even the bin men came round. I remember my grandfather got me to dig a hole as a boy and I once made the mistake of asking what it was for. In those days children were seen and not heard and he simply said 'you'll see'. When I had dug the hole he buried old bottles and tin cans.

“I come from an era where everything had a value and that has stayed with me. I was a master builder for 45 years and during that time I never threw anything away which could be used again. These days you see people smash roof tiles into a skip rather than reuse them which is such a waste.”

The father of three took a year off to help his youngest daughter who was suffering from amnesia and during that time he came up with the idea for the new business.

“My daughter is fine again now but I didn't think of returning to building I was determined to start the recycling business,” said Mr Porter who has five grandchildren ranging in age from six to 19.

“At the moment it is just me and sometimes my wife Freda who comes in to help but depending on how well this goes I would like to take on a younger partner to carry on the business when I have to give up. I would also like to start a training programme for young people who have perhaps dropped out of mainstream education.

“RG Carter gave me a start in the building trade and I want to help other youngsters like that.

“The business is basically to stop so much waste going to landfill, things such as bricks, blocks and even radiators. We get the items and clean them up and make sure they are reusable. It is aimed at everybody. It does two things, it reuses things that would otherwise be wasted but it also helps people get cheaper materials for any projects they have, which is especially important at the moment.”

The business is fully regulated and anyone who contributes is asked to sign a form saying the material is theirs to give away. They are then given a raffle ticket and entered into a draw for a hamper.

Prices start from just 5p and Mr Porter has already built up a large stock at his 1,000 sq ft unit.

He added: “For it to be successful people need to support me, the acid test will be whether they come back again.”

Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday 8.30am - 5pm and Sunday 10am - 4pm. For more information call 01603 263868.


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