Friday, 20 February 2015

The Zen of Zero Waste

What is Zero Waste?  Really it is an idea, a philosophy, a theory.  It is a bit of a Zen idea of being at one with the world and everything in it through an visionary environmental goal around how we deal with the world's waste.

If that sounds a bit on the metaphysical side, think about the definition of the The Zero Waste International Alliance: ‘Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

In actuality zero waste is about introducing processes and designs that avoid toxic waste and materials and conserve our resources, thereby protecting our environment and our world and not having negative impact on life on earth.  So producers are encouraged to build in sustainable closed-loop processes and materials so as much as possible can be re-used and nothing becoming landfill waste. But how about the end-users?

People are trying.  In Italy, in a town near Lucca called Capannori the people started changing the way they dealt with their rubbish when threatened with an incinerator.  They now achieve an almost 90% recycling rate. San Francisco is aiming to achieve a zero waste goal by 2020, encouraging its citizens to think about how they can re-use, re-purpose and recycle.

Mindset is key to achieving zero waste so we all become aware of the lifecycle, use and re-usability of the things we use.  Think Zen, think about being at one with the world.  Get in touch. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

That Cup

Have a close look at the jerseys.........

They are made from recycled plastic bottles - 18 per jersey.  Pretty impressive.  The England team also wore strip made by Nike from recycled bottles in some of their games. And here are a few other interesting snippets from the World Cup:

  • The organisers expected each match would generate about 5 tons of recyclable waste.
  • 850 'catadores', or rubbish pickers have been recruited and trained to sift through those 5 tons, separating out anything that can be reused or recycled, sending the materials collected to 300 trash pickers' cooperatives for sorting.  
  • The main recyclable item collected are cans, and Brazil saves 98% of them from landfill, way above the European average of 67%.
  • Many Brazilians bought new TV's to tune into the World Cup as tickets were so expensive, and by the end of this year the country will have between 18-20 million more TV's.

So...enjoy the finals!

organizers expect each match to generate around five tons of recyclable waste based on the experience of last year's Confederations Cup.

Read more at:
organizers expect each match to generate around five tons of recyclable waste based on the experience of last year's Confederations Cup.

Read more at:
organizers expect each match to generate around five tons of recyclable waste based on the experience of last year's Confederations Cup.

Read more at:

organizers expect each match to generate around five tons of recyclable waste based on the experience of last year's Confederations Cup.

Read more at:

Monday, 5 May 2014

DIY Data Removal

Last year a survey conducted by a business waste disposal company came up with a very interesting statistic, claiming that 95% of all UK computer waste went to landfill; or put another way, of the 500 firms interviewed only 5% said they had strategies for environmentally proper disposal of their electronic waste.  While you are reeling, let us tell you a story.

Some years ago, we were removing a batch of 300 PC's from a customer site and had arranged for  resale of the computers to get best financial return for our customer.  Having loaded all the units on to the artic, there was a series of hasty anxious conversations between the warehouse manager and the IT manager.  We were then asked to unload all of the systems, as someone higher up the ladder was suddenly very concerned about data removal.  Several days later, and considerable customer man hours later after they had some of their technical guys remove all the drives, we returned with the artic.  Needless to say, resale value dived, their personnel costs rocketed and our costs to them for removal doubled owing to the additional trip. 

The main reason for the alarming statistic about landfill lies in the understandably nervous approach some IT managers have about the disposal of their data, with concerns over confidential data landing up in the possession of unscrupulous and opportunistic individuals.  There are enough apocryphal stories about personal data ending up in the public domain because someone somewhere did not properly check the disposal process. As a result of this quite a few companies, and indeed some of our clients as in the story above, have taken the decision to remove drives or otherwise conduct their own data removal prior to disposal.  

This may give a degree of comfort to the organisation, having done the data removal themselves, however there are factors that should be taken into consideration before the decision to do this is made.  Firstly the issue of additional time and resources that have to be allocated to complete any such data removal process on-site; secondly,  the concomitant drop in resale value of the equipment meaning less return to the business, impacting on budget considerations. 

Every business should be able to use a responsible waste management company to handle their WEEE and who can evidence environmentally compliant and secure disposal.  Here at CRF we work to make our client's lives easier and to be secure in the knowledge that we have their interests at the core of our service.  If you want to know more about how we do this please do get in touch with us.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Glass makes bricks

Thousands of tons of CRT glass have been exported to the Netherlands where the glass is reprocessed and encapsulated into concrete construction blocks called - wait for it.... Legioblocks.  And these blocks are then sold back to the UK.

The export is authorised by the Environment Agency and several UK CRT processing firms are very upset stating this practice would not be allowed in the UK, where the law stipulates that the CRT glass must be reprocessed in the UK to BATRRT (best available treatment recovery and recycling techniques).  It seems the Legioblocks fall below British reprocessing guidelines and yet they are sold back to us.

The Environment Agency is defending its stance on the export to the Netherlands company - a spokesman saying "Once waste is turned into blocks it is not a waste product, as such it is not subject to waste regulations.”

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

WEEE Collection Targets for 2014

BIS has sent proposals for the basis of calculating WEEE collection targets to compliance schemes which favour targets based on previous year's figures.

The Department is leaning towards this as a basis saying that this method is most likely to fit with the changing growth or decline in tonnage collected over the preceding year.  The anticipated tonnage would therefore be around 490,000 of WEEE in 2014 representing a 3% rise on 2013's collection. 

BIS perceive that this method will most accurately account for technological changes, the trading and economic climate and other variables affecting the WEEE marketplace.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Women in Waste

The glass ceiling, the lack of women in high positions or on corporate boards - this is not new news.  However Bea Perez, Coca Cola's chief sustainability officer has jumped on the bandwagon calling for women entrepreneurs to be more empowered:  "Investing in women strengthens entire communities and bolsters local, regional, and national economies" she said in a webchat forming part of Coca-Cola's 5by20 initiative.

5by20 seeks to promote and enable the economic empowerment of 5 million female entrepreneurs by 2020 across the Coca-Cola value chain.

Why are we blogging about this?  Because it focuses on the small businesses that Coca-Cola works with including recyclers.  And we think it is something that pertains to the UK waste and IT recycling industry generally and to those departments within other businesses, so we would be interested in your comments and hearing from the women in this sector!   Email Isla with your views!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sustainability Planning

The 2012 Sustainability Leaders Forum is on the 5th December at the CBI Conference Centre in London.  The Forum is for progressive leaders who want to introduce and implement effective change in their organisation and supply chain.  And the UK Sustainability Network for Standardisation is holding a free training day on December 4th.  Both these events offer an opportunity to business leaders and employees to understand more about sustainability policies and procedures.

Sustainability is a political issue, alongside recycling.  It also needs to be implicit in our business and working culture.   The UK has taken great steps forward in instigating effective recycling policies, however there is still a lot to be done.  We need to spend more of our energy on internal recycling initiatives and taking responsibility for our national sustainability.  For businesses managing their IT disposals, sustainability affects the bottom line, impacting on  budgeting, procurement and CSR.  Some elements to consider include

  • Leveraging value in disposals and resales on surplus inventory
  • Compliance and regulatory issues
  • Safety and efficiency
  • Minimal impact through shipping and logistics

Creating the right sustainability plan for your organisation's IT assets means focusing on resource efficiency to adapt to environmental,economic and legislative change while maintaining profitability, engaging and developing your staff to perform and adhere to good sustainability standards, and ensuring the right data reporting to evidence best practice and leverage goodwill in developing new business and new opportunities.

For more information on any of the issues in our blog please get in touch with Mark or Isla.