Cleaning with a conscience
03 January 2014
Specialised Cleaning Services looks at hows how cleaning companies can do their bit to help reduce waste and fly-tipping across the UK
The recycling of unwanted furniture and white goods is a growing problem for the Government, local councils and communities. The popular BBC One show Watchdog often includes notorious fly-tippers within its ‘rogue traders’ gallery and there have been numerous campaigns to reduce the occurrences of fly-tipping. Although overall this nuisance activity has decreased by 4% year on year, it is still harmful to the environment, hazardous to communities and a source of pollution.
The types of waste that is fly-tipped range from ‘black bag’ waste to large deposits of materials such as industrial waste, tyres, construction material, household furniture, white goods and liquid waste. The estimated cost of clearance of fly tipping to Local Authorities in England in 2012 to 2013 was £36.4 million and 124,000 were recorded as single items, like furniture and white goods.
Many clearance companies charge individuals and businesses for the removal of their unwanted furniture and other household goods but Lancashire company Specialised Cleaning Services, firmly believes that it is their corporate social responsibility to recycle any furniture or white goods that can be salvaged from the void properties and other cleaning jobs. They store them within their own premises and give the recycled items to tenants and other individuals and families in need of help, who don’t have the funds or support network to provide themselves with these often essential household items.
Sarah Southworth, founder and MD of Preston-based Specialised Cleaning Services, said: "We work with a number of Housing Associations across the North West and it often puts us one step ahead of our competitors that we recycle household items for no extra cost to the client and that we go as far as delivering the recycled goods to the people that need them. It means that we are helping people who need it the most and are doing our bit for the environment at the same time.
"I firmly believe that as a business and as an individual it is essential to help our community in any way we can and if by providing people with a sofa, a fridge or a bed, we help them with a new start then it is something worth doing. Due to the increased demand for our recycling services we have recently expanded to even larger offices and storage units which mean that we can store and recycle even more unwanted household items.
"There is a huge amount of furniture thrown away each year – 10 million items on average – but often, furniture charities cannot meet the demand placed upon them for essential household goods by people in crisis. I would say to any other cleaning businesses out there that it is worthwhile to become involved in recycling furniture and other household goods both to help communities and as part of your corporate social responsibility.”
‘Circular Economy’ is the latest buzz word for sustainability within the waste industry. Following the accelerated growth in recycling that has been largely driven and encouraged by recent legislation and Local Authority targets, it is of high importance that as many items as possible can be recycled before they become waste and add to landfill problems and fly-tipping. By recycling ‘waste’ as soon as it has been discarded by the end user before it is officially ‘waste’ and on its way to the landfill then this becomes a ‘Circular Economy’.
It will be interesting to watch this new concept and see if initiatives like those run by Specialised Cleaning Services continue to thrive and ultimately reduce waste and improve conditions for people within communities across the UK. To find out more about the latest fly tipping statistics visit www.defra.gov.uk