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CIWM report takes on the future of reuse

used parts
When it comes to sustainable re-use, our industry is at the top. Maybe CIWM should be talking to us!

Stakeholders across the UK believe more can and should be done to stimulate reuse but a number of barriers need addressing, according to a report launched today by incoming CIWM President Professor Margaret Bates. As we are probably at the forefront of re-use, we thought this report should be of interest.


Entitled Reuse in the UK – a ‘State of the Nations Report’, the report is based around responses to targeted online surveys of four key stakeholder groups: local authorities, reuse organisations, private waste management companies, and housing associations. Complemented by in-depth interviews and a literature review, it provides a detailed snapshot of the current landscape and the different motivations and types of relationships that drive reuse.

The report finds that while the business case for reuse is broad – encompassing environmental, economic and social benefits – it is rarely articulated effectively. Financial constraints are also an issue, and survey respondents highlight the need for more infrastructure and collection services, better communications and public engagement, and more good practice guidance. Formal reuse contracts and strategic partnerships are also identified as important, and are evidenced in the 13 case studies included in the report.

A number of recommendations are put forward, including the need for more co-ordination and collaborative working between key industry bodies active in the reuse realm to support best practice and knowledge sharing and to maximise the impact of existing communications campaigns.

Capacity and skills building is also identified as a priority, and a range of practical actions are proposed, including networking events to bring different stakeholders together and promote better engagement and understanding of the opportunities. Given the diverse nature of reuse organisations, and the significant number of micro-enterprises that characterise the sector, additional skills support is also recommended.

The report also suggests that a more robust policy framework is likely to be needed to mainstream reuse. It proposes the establishment of a cross-sector group to review current reuse policy across the UK and assess the viability and effectiveness of further measures, including specific reuse targets, incentivisation through Extended Producer Responsibility schemes, and standardised data collection metrics to improve reporting and benchmarking.

The auto recycling industry has been shouting the benefits of re-use for more years then we care to remember. I wonder if they have consulted with our industry on any of the issues raised as re-use should not only be environmentally beneficial bur economically as well. This industry is in a very privileged position when it comes to operating in an environment where requirements for recycling continue to tighten and re-use becomes ever more competitive. I am sure our expertise could greatly benefit many other sectors wishing to build an economically viable re-use structure. And let’s face it, if re-use is to be sustainable, without robbing Peter to pay Paul, then it must be economically viable. If any of our readers have any comments or have been involved with CIWM, we would love to hear from you.

The full report can be found here.

November 2016

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