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Waste not, want not

07 September 2018

A new event focused on resource efficiency and waste management will be launched to run alongside next year's Cleaning Show on 19-21 March 2019 at London's ExCeL.

The Resource Management Show will offer waste and recycling suppliers the opportunity to meet the UK's leading contract cleaners, facilities managers, local authorities, and a wide range of other cleaning and FM-related businesses. The announcement of the show is timely, as the UK begins to feel the effects of China's recently-imposed restrictions on importing mixed recyclables.

According to Stephen Cameron, business development director at waste solutions company SWRnewstar, "The financial implications of the ban have predominantly been felt by local councils and waste management suppliers who are no longer able to obtain rebates on mixed recyclables that used to be shipped to China – and are instead being hit with higher disposal costs for the same materials.

"Conversely, commercial and industrial businesses have largely been insulated from the impact, with major waste management players prepared to take a hit on margin rather than pass all those costs onto their customers. It's an approach that's unsustainable. In the fullness of time, businesses will need to rethink their approach to managing waste as the true impact of China's ban finally shows its teeth."

The China issue is only one of several reasons cited by organisers for launching the Resource Management Show. Another key reason is, of course, Brexit, which is likely to require many companies to adapt their processes, particularly how waste management is handled in terms of trans-frontier shipments, exports and imports. 

Attempts are being made to get ahead of such issues: In April this year businesses that are responsible for over 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets signed up to a world-first pact, which aims to stimulate innovative new business models to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging. 

Around the same time, Costa announced it will become the first UK coffee chain to commit to recycling the same volume of cups it puts onto the market. The company has developed a scheme whereby waste management companies are financially incentivised to collect cups, which are a high-value material that can be recycled up to seven times.

Whether you're a manufacturer, supplier or end user, if your business is taking a proactive approach to reduce the amount of avoidable waste you produce we'd love to hear from you and to share your ideas with the wider professional cleaning community. Please email me at CHackett@western-bp.co.uk