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There is even financial support available via the Waste Prevention Loan Fund (WPLF) established by WRAP to assist organisations in introducing initiatives that prevent waste and make more efficient use of their resources.

Re-use It is estimated that up to 30%

of bulky items discarded by businesses in the UK can be re- used either in-house or by a third party. Packaging is an obvious candidate as it can often be re- used without any significant re- processing. You could also consider replacing consumables such as toner cartridges with re-fillable alternatives. It may also be worth speaking to regular suppliers of consumables to see if they operate a packing take back facility as part of their service.

Scrutinise the waste profile for items that can have their shelf-life prolonged by reconditioning for use either internally or by third party recipients. A number of networking organisations and charities exist to facilitate the donation and exchange of seemingly redundant furniture and equipment which can be salvaged and re-used.

The Furniture Recycling Network, London Reuse Network and

Freecycle are all well-established and can offer proactive assistance to find homes for your waste equipment. Computer Aid International refurbishes computers for reuse in education, health and not-for-profit organisations, while Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) is an organisation which collects and sends unwanted tools and sewing machines to countries in Africa.

As previously intimated, the application of the waste hierarchy measures is not an exact science and occasionally there may be an environmental trade-off to consider. For instance, some older electrical goods may be better to recycle than reuse as older items are likely to be less energy efficient than new ones.

Recycling The recycling of waste typically

starts by segregating it into its constituent material streams. The process can be facilitated by pre- segregating at source. Individually labelled or colour coded bins can encourage users to sort dry- recyclables from food-contaminated waste, or to segregate by material if bins are provided for metals (cans), plastics, paper and card. It is important that an inclusive system is established which involves the cleaning operatives and the waste operator to ensure that any

pre-segregation is maintained throughout the collection process. You should also consider that the selection of the waste provider can have a significant impact on the recycling rate. If possible, select a supplier that provides a Zero-to- Landfill solution.

Measure your progress To gain maximum benefit from

these initiatives it is imperative that you set up systems to monitor and quantify the impact they are having. It is vital that you are able calculate the amount and type of materials you are preventing from becoming waste, that waste minimisation activities and re-use are calculated, and that recycling and recovery rates are recorded – your waste providers should provide the last two. There are online tools to help you calculate the environmental impacts such as the Environment Agency’s Waste and Resources Assessment Tool for the Environment (WRATE).

Generating data and most importantly publishing it will reward the efforts of the staff involved in putting the waste hierarchy measures into practice and help stimulate greater interest and buy-in, which will be necessary to develop and enhance your system. 33

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