Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reuse when relocating

Anyone remotely involved or interested in the environmental or recycling industry knows that we are still dumping too much waste into landfill. However, a lot of people don't realise that around half a million tonnes of furniture ends up in landfill sites every year; costing the UK £16 million a year in terms of transport and taxes.

A survey has been carried out into organisations attitudes towards waste and recycling during the office move process. The results indicate that while many businesses, local authorities and public sector bodies claim to have solid CSR policies that support the environment, when it comes to office moving or relocation, these good intentions end up with the furniture in the skip.

While most organisations claim to have procedures in place to minimise the amount of waste furniture and equipment that goes to landfill, the reality of the situation appears very different. While 59% claimed to have a policy in place to ensure environmental disposal of end-of-life furniture, over two thirds (74%) of those surveyed admitted sending furniture or office equipment to landfill. The construction industry came out as the black sheep, with a staggering 72% of building firms not having agreed procedures to dispose of waste furniture or kit.

According to the survey, 51% of organisations that had moved since 2003 had thrown end of life office furniture away in the skip. added to this the figure of 23% of people who admitted to throwing items away at the skip means that this figure is more like 74%. The implications are stark; the vast majority of UK businesses are simply throwing office furniture and equipment into landfill when they move.

There is no longer any excuse for organisations to send unwanted office furniture and equipment to landfill there are now numerous viable secondary markets that can manage the recycling and reuse of such items. Certainly, the 'make and mend' culture encouraged by the credit crunch will hopefully act as a catalyst in this area.

[Anthony Robinson's, director of specialist business movers]

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