One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. At Veolia Southwark, loose coins found in household waste get a second life as they’re donated to the Sickle Cell Society.
There are countless ways to raise money to support charity, but few are as unique as this. Lucian Lodge, one of Veolia Southwark’s traffic marshalls, has been collecting lost change from the recycling facility floor for the past five years. With no way to reunite the coins with their original owners, Lucian instead donates them to charity. Dedicated to the cause, Lucian has been coming into work half an hour early every shift since 2019 to retrieve any loose coins that have been accidentally put in the bin and ended up at the recycling facility.
Over the past eighteen months since his previous donation, he has collected £811 which is over £160 more than his last collection. To celebrate this donation, Lucian visited the Sickle Cell Society office in Kilburn to meet the team behind the charity.
After the recycling is collected from homes across London it is sorted into different materials in Veolia Southwark’s Materials Recovery Facility. Specialised machines will separate metals by type, either by using magnets or currents which repel things like aluminium cans. These materials are pressurised into condensed bales and sent off to be made into new products. However, in this baling process, small pieces of metal, including coins, often slip through the cracks. This is where Lucian finds the change he collects, so even those pieces that don’t make it through still get recycled.
Sickle cell disorder is a haematological red cell blood disorder; red cells become sickle shaped and less supple when deoxygenated. The red blood cells become trapped in blood vessels causing severe pain, long term damage to the organs, and an increased risk of serious infections. The Sickle Cell Society is the only charity in the United Kingdom that supports and represents people affected by Sickle Cell Disorder to improve overall quality of life. As winners of the 2018 GSK impact awards, they work with health care professionals, providing them with proper training and education about the disease as well as offering support to those with the disease, such as Lucian’s son.
Lucian Lodge, Veolia Southwark Traffic Marshall:
It all started in 2019 when I discovered 1p’s, 2p’s, 5p’s and 10p’s hidden in the waste. My manager agreed I could take out whatever I could find and give to charity. Since that day, I’ve been coming into work early every day to collect coins. My target is three to four pounds a day. I put my time into doing this because I see what my son goes through with the sickness.
John James OBE, Sickle Cell Society Chief Executive:
We want to say a big thank you to Lucian and the entire team at Veolia for fundraising in such an innovative way. This donation will go towards the vital work we do supporting people living with Sickle Cell Disorder and their families.
Matthew Crane, Veolia Southwark Regional Manager:
Lucian's dedication and efforts in collecting loose change for the Sickle Cell Society is truly inspiring. At Veolia Southwark, we are proud to have employees like Lucian who embody our organisational value of community spirit by supporting charities and communities like this. We are always looking for ways to contribute and make a positive impact in the world.