March 2013’s NWSBQ: Making waste work

Last week saw NWSBQ return to Bruntwood’s city tower to enjoy the fantastic view whilst listening to two fantastic speakers talk to us about waste with expertise and enthusiasm, in equal measure.waste-cars

Peter Jones spoke with huge authority on the challenges and issues surrounding waste on a macro scale whilst Charlie Browne helped me for one make sense of it all talking about real life situations and solutions to some of the issues.

The presentations that were used are available here for you to enjoy and I’ll summarise the main points below.

Peter Jones’ presentation can be found here (2.79 MB).

Peter was saying too often in policy development the focus is on micro issues and micro solutions but for us to tackle the waste dilemma and to use the potential of waste we need to look at it on a macro level. “Waste” is becoming a resource with big value to business and it is high time this potential was harnessed especially as there is now the means to do it.

Looking at the waste dilemma on a macro level will help to link up feedstock, sites, technologies and the end market, fitting in with the closed loop approach to production and consumption.

Recent and ongoing developments in technology mean that there is an immense range of options of what we can do with our waste, turning it from “waste” into a commodity. Waste has the potential to provide 3% of our energy in the UK.

The big shift to more sustainable business models will come as businesses come to better understand the risks and opportunities that come with the macro-pressures which, as Peter says, are “rocking the existing business models to their foundations”

Charlie Browne’s presentation can be found here (2.79 MB).

Charlie talked to us about implementing a lot of the theories that Peter introduced to us within the setting of Charlie’s work with IKEA. He encouraged us to not think about waste but to think about the beginning of the product journey. Waste management starts with the planning, thinking about the resources and what is necessary for the product at the beginning and removing what is not needed therefore creating less waste at the end.

How you make improvements to products is really dictated by the waste hierarchy and having the right tools for the job, the right analysis tools and the right communication tools. IKEA don’t offer an end of line selection but sell everything. Anything that is not sold is used as spare parts to fix broken products where necessary – reusing products on site.

IKEA are managing a lot of their waste themselves, cutting out the middle men through initiatives such as installing a macerator for their food waste that in turn feeds an anaerobic digestor. IKEA are currently at an 85% recycling rate and their next target is to achieve positive waste.

This summary only gives a flavour of what was said and Peter and Charlie both had so much to say I’m hardly doing them justice. Take a look through the slides and if you have any more questions do get in touch.

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