New city store aiming to turn waste into treasure

A young entrepreneur is aiming to prove one man's waste is another's treasure at a new shop in Norwich selling items other people have thrown away.

Joe Ray, 25, has been running his own waste and recycling business for eight years and has now opened a shop called Hidden Treasure as an outlet for reclaimed, repaired and revitalised goods.

Recycling is a passion as well as a business for Mr Ray, who has set up his own not-for-profit foundation and has designed an officially accredited course in tackling waste and supporting recycling which will shortly be offered in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston. Thanks to lottery funding, free places will be available.

His Stalham-based business Boss Recycling currently recycles 80 per cent of the material it collects, but Mr Ray is hoping the new shop on Plumstead Road, by the Heartsease roundabout, will help boost that percentage even further. 'We do need to cut down the amount we are throwing away. Landfill sites are going to be shut down and we can't keep going on as we are,' he said.

Mr Ray said he was amazed at what some people threw away. 'I recently saw a new leather three-piece suite smashed up in a skip. I would have been able to do something with that, but the owner told me, 'If I'm not having it, no one's having it!'

'At another house a woman wanted to get rid of her dishwasher, which was only about six months old. It was working perfectly, but she told me her neighbours had a new top-of-the-range model so she had gone out and bought one, too.'

'There's no shame in buying second-hand if the price is right. There's more shame in buying things you can't afford and getting into debt,' he added.

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Mr Ray, a former City of Norwich School pupil, practises what he preaches and estimates he has spent only �200 on fitting out his shop, using mainly recycled materials and furniture.

To find out more about Hidden Treasure, visit

To find out about the OCN Level 1 certificate in Tackling Waste and Supporting Recycling, email