NEARLY £20,000 has been handed over to good causes throughout East Lothian by a group looking to divert items from landfill.

Reuse Scotland SCIO has been working alongside East Lothian Council’s waste service to ensure that goods can be used again.

Among the groups benefiting from the generosity are East Lothian Foodbank, Leuchie House and Lammermuir Larder.

A spokesperson for the charity told the Courier how they saved the local authority thousands of pounds in council funds which would have paid for landfill tax.

They said: “We are self-funded – all of our operations are sustained through the sales of reuse items.

“As a social and environmental charity, we are extremely unique in that we do not access external/government funding to achieve our objectives: to reduce the amount of reusable materials heading for landfill, for achieving significant CO2 and landfill tax savings for the local authority and for community benefit.

“Our work benefits our communities in East Lothian by enabling schools and community groups easy access to essential items they need.

“We have a unique sales model which is called ‘Pay What You Want’ and it does what it says on the tin: enables anyone to access the items they need at a price which is affordable to them.

“Our operations have been so successful that in the last six months we have been able to give cash donations to local charities and good causes working to alleviate poverty in East Lothian.”

The largest donation – a second donation of £10,000 – in the last six months went to the Tranent-based foodbank, which provides emergency food and support to local people who are experiencing financial hardship.

Leuchie House, near North Berwick, supports people who have MS, who have had a stroke or who are living with other neurological conditions; it received £5,000.

Finally, the Lammermuir Larder, which was set up to support individuals and families in the Haddington area who are struggling financially to feed themselves and/ or their families, received £2,000, while a wide range of donations were made to smaller organisations.

The spokesperson added: “Moving forward, we will be doing quarterly donations of £25,000 up to £100,000 per year to East Lothian charities working to try and alleviate poverty in our communities.

"This is a massive achievement we are very proud of and need to communicate with a wider audience so that they can learn all about what we are doing with what is essentially materials being rescued from going to landfill.”