Meet the Founders

We chatted to Robert Pretorius and Anthony Al-Ghabban, co-founders of Anglo Doorstep Collections and its parent company, Anglo Recycling Company Ltd, to find out about their journeys and the mission and vision of the company.

Tell us about yourself: 

Rob: I grew up in South Africa where I witnessed first hand the ‘re-use economy’.  No-one recycled if it could be reused.  Cardboard, plastic, bottles, even rubble.  If something could not be repaired, it would be broken into spare parts to fix something else.  After a career of 15 years in the Navy I decided to relocate to the UK with my family and start a new life as a civilian.

Anthony: I was born and raised in London and have a background in retail.  Having this background enabled me to see both the buying power of our community and the difference we can make, not only in our local communities, but also world-wide. The items we buy, use and then can donate to be used again can change people’s lives. 

It also gave me the knowledge of how hard it actually is for a charity to open and run a retail outlet to increase funds for their cause when these funds are limited.  This is simply not an option for so many charities with very worthy causes and I believe this is where Anglo Doorstep Collections can help.

Tell us about Anglo Doorstep Collections.  What is the company’s mission and vision?

Rob: During the first lockdown in 2020, all charity shops were closed and our fleet of vans stood idle.  A charity contacted us and asked if we could collect donations on their behalf.  It started off slowly, but quickly grew as it was so convenient for many households. We decided to roll out the service to other charities and to go nationwide with the service.

On an average month we raise in excess of £10 000 per month for charity.  This is money that they desperately need and are unable to raise themselves. At present we cover 60% of the UK and aim to increase that to 100% within the next year. We are bringing in new charities too and plan to have a dedicated partner charity in each county.
Anthony: The UK is one of the most charitable countries in the world (6th most giving country in the world according to the Charities Aid Foundation).  People want to help those in need, however sometimes with our increasingly busy lives and heavy work schedules finding the time to donate can be problematic.  At Anglo Doorstep Collections we wanted to simplify the donating process to make it as convenient and trouble-free as possible.  This way people can really make a difference.

What sets Anglo Doorstep Collections apart from other similar organisations?

Rob: Firstly, our online booking system is unique.  It allows donors to select and book a date every week. We don’t do cold calling or unsolicited leaflet or bag drops.  Our drivers know exactly where they are going and do not troll the streets looking for bags of clothes.  

Our competitors deliver new bags thus creating more plastic waste.  We encourage our donors to use their own bags or boxes. Also, we generate around 300% more funds per collection for charity than our competitors do.

We are also transparent and give weekly reports to our partner charities.

Anthony: Our donors can simply book a collection, leave their donations on their doorstep and carry on with their daily routines with the confidence that it will be collected efficiently. Notifications are sent out giving them an update on the location of their dedicated driver and then again when their donation is collected.  We offer good communication with our donors giving them peace of mind knowing that their donations are important and will be collected efficiently.

Which charities are you currently working with and why did you decide to partner with them?

Rob: We are currently working with a family run cancer charity called Wendy’s Wish.  The founders of the charity lost their daughter/wife/mother to cancer and now help others in the same unfortunate situation.

We are currently looking for additional charities to work with and support and we also aim to have more local charities represented.

What happens to the clothes and household items you collect?

Rob: All items are exported to the third world.  Winter clothes currently make their way to Ukraine, and summer clothes go to Africa.  Household items go to the middle east for sorting and are then sent to 3rd World destinations.

Anthony: These items enter into and help generate the world’s circular economy.  The circular economy gives us the tools to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss together, while addressing important social needs.  It gives us the power to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.

How much of the revenue generated goes back to the charities?

Rob: We are able to send 60% of the proceeds generated back to our partner charities, which currently equates to around £100 000 per year.  However, this number is growing all the time.

This is on average 3 x more than most charities raise for similar fundraising schemes.

What are you most proud of about Anglo Doorstep Collections?

Rob: I am most proud of the fact that we enable perfectly good, unwanted items to be put back into the economy for re-use.  We essentially expand the life of all goods donated, cutting down on waste and environmental impact,  whilst raising valuable money for charity too.

Anthony: I am most proud that the items that our donors generously donate go on to have another life and enrich the lives of others (often less fortunate than ourselves).  These items don’t end up on a large landfill mountain doing great damage to our environment. We can make a difference to people’s lives today and the environment tomorrow.

What’s next for Anglo Doorstep Collections?

Rob: We want  every household to become aware of the benefits of upcycling their unwanted/unused items to the environment, the economy, to charity and to the people who receive and re-use them.  There is a big story to be told and we want to spread the word and be able to deliver the service to collect, re-pack, transport, to their final destinations.

Anthony: We want to enable charities to be able to continue their fantastic, essential work they undertake in order to help those in need.  We offer a simple, far-reaching, transparent and effective way for a charity to increase their funding, so that they have a sufficient budget to do this. Smaller charities that do not have access to a retail outlet on a high street struggle to raise funds.  With the help of Anglo Doorstep Collections this is made a little more possible and we hope to partner with more charities to raise even more funds to make a difference in our community.