A local waste management social enterprise empowering people with additional support needs through employment opportunities.
There aren’t many social enterprises that can boast a threefold impact but YouCAN Recycling is delivering social, environmental and economic benefits to its local community.
Following various roles within waste management, Thomas Bayne was made redundant and collecting cans from his village pub for the scrap merchant when he realised his autistic brother had a knack for sorting the metals. Harry loved the work and the precision and repetition suited his skillset.
Working with Perth and Kinross Council Employability Team, YouCAN ran a few tests to see if the work involved would be suitable for others suffering from similar conditions. They had great success and the enterprise now collects cans, plastics and cardboards free of charge for a growing network of businesses.
As well as protecting the planet – for every tonne of aluminium recycled, YouCAN saves nine tonnes of Co2 emissions – it enables huge cost savings and thus reinvestment in the local economy. The enterprise’s impact has been most visible with its part-time workers, though, who have found a sense of self-worth, pride and confidence.
Our two current employees have shown massive growth in their social skills from hiding in their bedrooms to now taking their dad down the pub for a pint on payday.
From small beginnings, YouCAN has gone on to win the Scottish Institute for Enterprise’s Fresh Ideas Environment Award and is currently a finalist in the Current Converge Challenge and Santander Universities Challenge.
As well as expanding into other materials like paper and glass, Thomas is hoping to provide educational trips and work experience days to raise awareness around recycling. “Our vision is to be the number one recycling provider in Scotland with operations in all seven of the Scottish cities, a goal that will change lives for the better all over the country.”
The above article first published on nesta.org.uk in 2018.