Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Guest blog from @JunkWize "A #CircularEconomy: The gift that keeps on giving"

In December 2012 the European Commission published a Manifesto for a Resource-Efficient Europe. In its opening line it stated that “in a world with growing pressures on resources and the environment, the EU has no choice but to go for the transition to a resource-efficient and ultimately regenerative circular economy”. Now, whatever your views are on the EU, you’d be hard pushed to criticise the basic philosophy behind that statement. But are there any downsides or major obstacles standing in the way of the actual creation of a circular economy?

In other words, what are the potential sticking points with having an economy where things are created with the intention that they will be used, reused and recycled? Well, we had a brainstorm at JunkWize and this is what we came up with:

  • The mass collaboration of different organisations and people with very different intentions would be needed.
  • Planned obsolescence is a well-known technique in the fashion and technology sectors, so the way those products are made would need to change.
  • In some cases costs can increase for businesses if they want to make new products with recycled materials. The processing and management costs of recycling something can be greater that making it from scratch.
  • Not all things can be recycled.
  • Not everyone wants a recycled product due to perceived dirtiness and weakness.
  • Recycling is seen by many people as a chore so they don’t do it. Recycling would need to become effortless if a circular economy was to work.

Yet the more we discussed these ‘problems’, the more we realised that in actual fact almost every sector in the economy (cars, clothing, packaging etc.) has dipped its toe into the circular economy model already without experiencing ill effect.

VW has been using a significant amount of recycled materials in its cars for years. In 2009 they proudly announced that the MV VI Golf was made from over 40% recycled materials. What’s significant about projects like this is that they were not small scale (since 1974 over 2000 Golfs have been sold daily).

Even Nike is getting in on the act. The company that turns over £15 billion per annum has said publicly that “we will be providing products that allow businesses to grow, are profitable, meet the demands of shareholders but are also de-coupled from scarce resources.” Since 1990 Nike have also been recycling millions of their shoes into new shoes and sports track and court playing surfaces.
So it’s clear that if recycling is done correctly then profits can increase for the product creators as well.

This all shows that recycling and profitability are not diametrically opposed to one another. Quite the opposite, in fact. Take JunkWize as an example. If it weren’t for waste and recycling then the company wouldn’t exist and we’d all be out of a job!

So how do we get more and more people to commit to the circular economy? From our point of view we feel that the one link in the chain that is weakest is the recycling sector. If our politicians are serious about getting us to reduce, reuse and recycle, then the recycling sector needs to be expanded rapidly. Designers and manufacturers also need to create uses for materials which at present simply cannot be recycled.

So we already live in an economy that in a large part is circular already. Now we just need to foster the growth and make sure that it’s clear to people that there are no downsides to committing to it.

This article was written for EMERGE by JunkWize; a Greater London serving rubbish clearance company. Just like EMERGE, JunkWize are a local solution provider with a strong '3Rs' ethos; they recycle as much of the rubbish they collect as possible and they only use landfill as the very last resort. They have a licence from the Environment Agency and they have just celebrated their first year in business.



EMERGE provides environmental education and advice on resource management, waste composition and sustainable procurement issues. Our business services include everything from recycling collections to confidential document shredding.  

We are now working in partnership with Cooler Projects to deliver carbon literacy training for businesses across Greater Manchester.  For more info see www.carbonliteracy.com or speak to Liz Lauder on 0161 223 8200 to book your places. 

Visit our new pop-up shop in Manchester city centre! Promoting the 3Rs of waste reduction, reuse and recyling, we are selling goodies and local arts and crafts with a 'Made in Manchester' theme.  Find us at Brazennose House West, Brazennose St, M2 5AS. Opening hours are usually 12-5pm Wed-Sat but are subject to change. Please contact office@emergemanchester.co.uk for more info.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

#Foodwaste #Foodpoverty and #WFD2013

Wednesday 16th October marks World Food Day, part of a growing number of international campaigns to tackle hunger worldwide. Food poverty is arguably humanity's weakest link in the 21st Century, and it's a growing problem even in The UK. According to new figures, the number of people relying on food banks in this country has TRIPLED in the last year. Emerge's sister charity FareShare North West tackles food poverty in Manchester by working with the commercial sector to divert perfectly edible food that would normally be sent to landfill to those who need it most, providing a double benefit.

Food waste is inextricably linked with food poverty- there is enough food to feed everyone on the planet, but around one third of it is thrown away. It is also inextricably linked with our climate- global food waste has a bigger carbon footprint than every country in the world after China and the USA. We have a great opportunity here to hit two huge scary birds with one stone, and organisations like FareShare aim to do just this.




Sources
http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3347e/i3347e.pdf
http://grist.org/article/10-things-to-know-about-food-on-world-food-day/

EMERGE provides environmental education and advice on resource management, waste composition and sustainable procurement issues. Our business services include everything from recycling collections to confidential document shredding.  

We are now working in partnership with Cooler Projects to deliver carbon literacy training for businesses across Greater Manchester.  For more info see www.carbonliteracy.com or speak to Liz Lauder on 0161 223 8200 to book your places. 

Visit our new pop-up shop in Manchester city centre! Promoting the 3Rs of waste reduction, reuse and recyling, we are selling goodies and local arts and crafts with a 'Made in Manchester' theme.  Find us at Brazennose House West, Brazennose St, M2 5AS. Opening hours are usually 12-5pm Wed-Sat but are subject to change. Please contact office@emergemanchester.co.uk for more info.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Calling #Manchester #business, @EMERGERecycling teaming up with @EveryCanCounts #csr

EMERGE is teaming up with the Every Can Counts programme this autumn to help local businesses increase the amount of beverage cans they recycle.  We'll be sending out details shortly of the official launch event - so keep an eye open for more news.

Every Can Counts is an award-winning communications programme developed by the drinks can manufacturing and recycling industry. Over the past four years it has helped over 1000 businesses in the UK set up and run successful recycling initiatives.

So, whether you’re looking to improve your existing recycling scheme or develop your Corporate Social Responsibility, Every Can Counts and EMERGE can help YOU! 



EMERGE provides environmental education and advice on resource management, waste composition and sustainable procurement issues. Our business services include everything from recycling collections to confidential document shredding.  

We are now working in partnership with Cooler Projects to deliver carbon literacy training for businesses across Greater Manchester.  For more info see www.carbonliteracy.com or speak to Liz Lauder on 0161 223 8200 to book your places. 

Visit our new pop-up shop in Manchester city centre! Promoting the 3Rs of waste reduction, reuse and recyling, we are selling goodies and local arts and crafts with a 'Made in Manchester' theme.  Find us at Brazennose House West, Brazennose St, M2 5AS. Opening hours are usually 12-5pm Wed-Sat but are subject to change. Please contact office@emergemanchester.co.uk for more info.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The alarming links between #FoodWaste, Society and #Climate #IPCC

Here at EMERGE we know a fair bit about food waste. Our sister charity, FareShare North West, combats food poverty (a growing issue not only in Greater Manchester but across the globe) by tapping into the huge amount of perfectly edible food from the commercial sector that would normally get sent to landfill because of excess product, damaged packaging and the like.

Wasting food when it is so scarce for certain parts of society is a silly thing to be doing, but landfilling this waste brings about a whole host of environmental problems, particularly in relation to climate change. Decaying food waste in landfills releases huge amounts of avoidable greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and with the IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) recent announcement about their most up-to-date findings on climate science (basically, we're not heading down a pleasant road, no matter how much the Daily Mail tries to skew the story (they're getting pretty well known for doing that at the moment)), this is an alarming problem.

A recent report from the FAO (the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation), which is a great read if you have the time, presents a slightly unorthodox but nevertheless astonishing fact that shows just how much of an impact food waste has on the planet. Apparently, if it were a country (stay with me here), food waste would have the third largest carbon footprint in the world, behind China and the US. In more local terms, it means that the carbon footprint of global food waste eclipses the carbon footprint of our whole country!

Food waste stacked up against the world's biggest carbon emitters. Not to scale.


Thankfully the issue is now getting national political attention. At their annual Party Conference last month, Labour announced that, if they won the election in 2015, they would ban the landfilling of food waste. Bringing about greater stewardship of our food networks through national policies like this can only be good, not just for society, but for the planet too.


EMERGE provides environmental education and advice on resource management, waste composition and sustainable procurement issues. Our business services include everything from recycling collections to confidential document shredding.  

We are now working in partnership with Cooler Projects to deliver carbon literacy training for businesses across Greater Manchester.  For more info see www.carbonliteracy.com or speak to Liz Lauder on 0161 223 8200 to book your places. 

Visit our new pop-up shop in Manchester city centre! Promoting the 3Rs of waste reduction, reuse and recyling, we are selling goodies and local arts and crafts with a 'Made in Manchester' theme.  Find us at Brazennose House West, Brazennose St, M2 5AS. Opening hours are usually 12-5pm Wed-Sat but are subject to change. Please contact office@emergemanchester.co.uk for more info.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

#ConfidentialWaste Shredding in #Manchester from EMERGE!

Did you know that your business could be liable for a fine of up to £500,000 if confidential information about customers, clients, service users or patients gets into the public domain, whether by accident or carelessness?

Just this summer, one North West organisation has been fined £80,000 for leaving behind boxes of confidential personal information in a building that was being sold to a new occupier. The Information Commissioner will hand out hefty fines if there is evidence that your organisation has breached the Data Protection Act, knowingly or not.

Now that so much data is stored in digital and electronic forms, it may be easy to take your eye off the ball where paper records are concerned, partly because of the extra physical and storage efforts involved. And environmentally-conscious companies and staff may think that putting paperwork in the recycling bin will resolve the problem about disposal.

"As the example above shows, you need to be just as meticulous about paper as about computer data," explains Lucy Danger, CEO of EMERGE. "That’s why we have developed a service specifically to ensure that businesses stay within the law when they need to dispose of old paperwork."

"We can deal with all your confidential waste by storing the material in robust, locked containers, transporting it in a secure vehicle, where it will be shredded at our premises under highly controlled conditions. All shredded paper is taken directly to a recycling reprocessor to be pulped and made into new paper.

EMERGE issues you with a Certificate of Secure Destruction as evidence that your material has been disposed of confidentially."

For more information about our confidential shredding service, or to find out about our highly competitive rates, please visit our website or call Leah on 0161 223 8200.



EMERGE provides environmental education and advice on resource management, waste composition and sustainable procurement issues. Our business services include everything from recycling collections to confidential document shredding.  

We are now working in partnership with Cooler Projects to deliver carbon literacy training for businesses across Greater Manchester.  For more info see www.carbonliteracy.com or speak to Liz Lauder on 0161 223 8200 to book your places. 

Visit our new pop-up shop in Manchester city centre! Promoting the 3Rs of waste reduction, reuse and recyling, we are selling goodies and local arts and crafts with a 'Made in Manchester' theme.  Find us at Brazennose House West, Brazennose St, M2 5AS. Opening hours are usually 12-5pm Wed-Sat but are subject to change. Please contact office@emergemanchester.co.uk for more info.