A man with no arms or legs has launched a recycling centre for false limbs. Ray Edwards MBE, 59, is turning thousands of fake body parts into cash to help pay for new equipment for amputees.
The new recycling centre is set to make about £20 for each limb – by stripping away the plastic and selling the metal inside.
It has been opened by charity Limbcare, headed by quadruple amputee Mr Edwards, who lost his arms and legs in 1987 after developing septicaemia.
The team has set up its recycling station in a warehouse in Camberley, Surrey – and has already been given over 1,000 false limbs from around the country.
They have received their limbs from amputees who needed new ones, or from relatives of users who have passed away.
Because false limbs are classed as medical waste, by law they cannot be re-used, so Mr Edwards’ team are stripping away the plastic and resin outer coating, to get to the metal inside.
Mr Edwards, of Sandhurst, Berkshire, said: ‘The metal inside false limbs is very expensive – it’s all titanium, aluminium or medical-grade stainless steel.
‘In the past, when an amputee dies or out-grows their current false limb, they were just thrown away. But we can get about £20 for the metalwork inside, so that’s a great start.
‘There are upwards of 100,000 amputees in Britain, and each one will go through several different limbs in their lifetime.
‘I think it’s a brilliant way for us to raise money, because all the proceeds will go back to help others.
‘We hope to raise as much money as possible to buy new limbs, wheelchairs and pay for rehabilitation, and we think we’ve come up with a fantastic way to do that.’
Below the knee prosthetics cost about £4,000, and above the knee limbs cost up to £9,000.
Mr Edwards said: ‘In the past, family members either threw away the false limbs or buried them with their loved ones.
‘Now they have an option to help others after their own loved ones have passed away.’
Limbcare is run by Mr Edwards, and double amputees Barry Perrin and Roy Wright, who both lost their legs.
Mr Edwards said: ‘We’re the first people in Britain to realise the very real cost of waste artificial limbs.
‘Hopefully, we’ll be able to use the money we generate to buy wheelchairs, new limbs, and also to pay for the training and rehabilitation for people who need our help.
‘Lots of people know about the fantastic work Help for Heroes does, but there are lots of people out there who lost their arms and legs in other ways, and they need help too.’
Cash donations can be made by visiting www.justgiving.com/limbcare