Reduce, reuse and recycle for a thriftier existence and a greener planet

The Suffolk County Coucil recycling centre in Portman Walk. Photograph Simon Parker

The Suffolk County Coucil recycling centre in Portman Walk. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

For me, attempting to live a little more thriftily is about more than just saving money, writes Sheena Grant.

It’s also about saving the Earth’s resources, recycling, reusing things and not just consuming for the sake of it. So I was delighted to hear about an initiative right here in our own county that does all those things - and much more besides.

It’s a charity called Crack On and I was alerted to it by reader Deborah McKinley, who wrote in response to a column I penned back in January about my quest to find secondhand football boots for my son.

Deborah had been searching in secondhand shops too. She was looking for a fridge to replace one that was only four years old and had broken down (another bugbear of mine - why do new appliances last so little time?)

Anyway, her quest ended when she found Crack On, which sells reconditioned and renovated electrical appliances (among other things) at shops across the county. Deborah bagged a fridge for £100 less than she would have paid for a new one.

“It was in excellent condition and better inside than my original one,” she told me.

What’s more, her purchase helped fund the charity’s work helping young people and disadvantaged adults to “crack on” with their lives so they can get skills to find work and realise their true worth.

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“You might like to find out more about them for one of your articles,” suggested Deborah.

I was intrigued and did just as she suggested, going along to meet Crack On’s founders, Mark Byford and Gary Spencer, at their headquarters just over the county border in Thetford. They have a remarkable story to tell about how they came to set up the charity and the difference it has made to so many lives. (Read more about it on pages 60 and 61 of this week’s Ealife).

Talking to Mark and Gary, Steph, Sean, Sue, Don, David, Paul and everyone else I met that day was a humbling experience and made me realise that when thriftiness works best it is about much more than searching for the latest money-off vouchers when you want to go out for a pizza. It’s a way of buying into a better type of world, where the value of the things that matter most is about more than just monetary worth.

Email, or tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

For more information on Crack On, visit

See more from Sheena and her #ThriftyLiving challenge here