It was in those early days that the first community programme appeared with central government keen to create jobs. With FOE in Brighton we set up an organisation, a doorstep collection scheme. We ran one with 3 vehicles and twenty something staff all running out of a building that we rented very cheaply just on the other side of the Lewes Road....taking advantage of government funding.
We used the scheme to our own advantage, that is to say a friend who was unemployed became leader of the project. We interviewed him (fairly I think) and even brought in some other people but it was all FOE volunteers who were interviewing and doing the paper work. We set up what turned out to reasonably interesting work for 20 or so people for a couple of years and eventually we had space at the Hollingdean council depot for sorting and storing the material collected. But then it was a good time in terms of waste paper prices; for instance you could paid for waste paper, briefly - up to £10-15 per tonne. Now although it's still wanted, you can't get any money for it.. Materials included newspaper, glass and metals, cans aluminum and steel but we did need the paper, that was the core funding, which made the scheme viable.
We also did a certain amount of other materials, like recycling furniture.
We were, yes, a forerunner of Magpie, before Magpie. I say 'we' but although I helped set it up and the interviews were held in my house, I wasn't involved in the day to day running of it. Eventually the community programme funding changed, but more importantly what we could get for the materials collected changed and these schemes had to be at least nominally self funding.
Ofcourse we now have the infrastructure that collects it on the street anyway.