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Recycle Week: Putting obscure items to use. By Graham Scott, Senior Account Manager at WCRS

12-09-16, 09:09

Recycle Week 2016


This week is Recycle Week and with the campaign focusing on The Unusual Suspects, Graham Scott, Senior Account Manager at WCRS, takes a look at how our clients are putting their more obscure waste items to better use.

Legislation is driving businesses towards more sustainable waste management practices, so you would be surprised to walk into any business today and not see some attempt at recycling. If nothing else, businesses are legally obliged to handle their waste in line with the waste hierarchy and segregate certain waste streams from their general waste such as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and batteries.

However, how much more can be done by looking beyond the obvious and considering all waste materials within a business that could have a value or a use to someone else?

Textiles present a great opportunity to divert waste from landfill to a source that would derive real benefit.  Although there is much more awareness around textiles recycling, with many local authorities now offering collections services, there is still an estimated 350,000 tonnes of textiles which end up in UK landfills each year.

Sustainable initiatives for managing textiles have been demonstrated by a number of our clients.   One particular client, a department store based in the north of England, has managed to divert their waste textiles and faulty garments to a local charity which derive genuine benefit from donations and at the same time benefit from reduced waste costs from landfill diversion.

Another example involves a leading furniture manufacturer donating their used work boots to a charity providing much needed footwear to developing countries.  The same organisation has also managed to divert 125 tonnes of sawdust away from landfill over the last 8 months, to an animal bedding company who supply to the agricultural industry.  Not only does this benefit the company from an environmental perspective but it has also resulted in a significant financial saving.

Even more obscure, a leading logistics company was able to divert waterproofing solution sachets, which were destined for landfill to youth organisations, for use on their outdoor pursuits.

Of course each business will have a unique set of waste streams depending on what their business activity is, but all too often items such as office furniture still end up in a skip destined for landfill when there are charitable organisations that would benefit from their use or organisations that specialise in the refurbishment of office furniture back into good quality equipment.

Although the UK?s decision to leave the EU has cast a level of uncertainty around future legislation, there is still a strong emphasis within the industry to move the UK towards a circular economy whereby resources are kept in use for as long as possible.

Businesses can get a head of the game when it comes to meeting their reuse and recycling obligations by casting their nets a bit wider when looking at which waste streams can be captured for reuse and recycling.  The above examples demonstrate that by thinking outside the box when looking at waste so much can be achieved that has a positive impact on the environment, the wider community and finances.

The 10th annual ?BIFM Sustainability Survey: Where are we 10 years on? and supporting webinar have been sponsored by WCRS.

Download a copy of the survey here.  Register for the Webinar on 22nd September 2016 at 12 noon where WCRS will be talking about sustainability from the perspective of waste.

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