When I first came to KSB and started working on the Waste Aware Business campaign it didn’t take long to realise that one of the key areas of concern for recycling in Scotland is the amount of waste that is sent to landfill because there is nowhere else for it to go.
In other words, businesses might try to recycle all their waste but fail because, in some cases, there just wasn’t a recycling option.
Fortunately the number of materials that can’t be recycled is small. It generally applies to very hazardous waste or materials for which there is no viable processing option to recover the value from the original material. It’s usually tiny bits of waste that ultimately only amount to just a few percent of waste arisings overall.
However, imagine my frustration when I realised that tonnes and tonnes of a particular waste was reaching landfill despite the fact it should theoretically be easily transformed into a valuable and useful material and what’s more which causes immense damage in landfill due to the gas it emits when it breaks down anaerobically? Just imagine…
And, as if you hadn’t already guessed from the more-than-obvious clue in the title, the material I’m talking about is:
It’s now pretty easy for businesses throughout Scotland to obtain a reasonably priced recycling service for most of the common waste materials such as paper, cardboard, cans and glass. In fact I would go further and argue that most waste materials now have an outlet to recover their value. Even oily rags which was traditionally very difficult to re-process.
However, until fairly recently the idea of recovering organic waste was left to householders with veg patches or the odd eco-hotel with too much garden space.
Ok, it might be stretching the category of organics slightly to include recycled human waste (fortunately the water companies tend to deal with that out of our sight) but you get the idea – people think of organic matter as best left hidden.
Not any more. From garden matter to food waste, it is now possible to recycle (i.e. compost) business organic waste with the help of new services springing up throughout Scotland.
Smaller businesses can use the help of the Compost Doctors who will advise you on how you might avoid sending food waste to landfill by using a composter on-site.
Larger businesses in certain areas can now use collection services who operate the same way as traditional recycling services and come to your business with a truck to regularly collect the waste from the bins, which they often provide.
One such service (there are many but this is one I know well) is Cyrenians Organics Recycling Enterprise. We heard about them when their manager, Luca Pornaro contacted us looking for some assistance with their branding, which is a service we offer (at a fairly low cost) to help boost recycling companies.
I actually suggested the name CORE and an apple core logo and was pleased when they got chosen from the range of options. Mind you that was extent of my input. My colleague then worked to get all the other bits and pieces together. Other organisations were involved as well – the project was part funded by WRAP.
Anyway, I know from first hand experience (I was at an event where businesses mentioned the service) that businesses in the Edinburgh and Lothians area are really pleased with the service CORE offer. It seems such a sensible solution to the problem of food waste as it produces a PAS100 certified compost (which basically means it can safely be sold for agricultural use). It is also competitively priced compared to landfill services.
As you will see if you click the picture above, Cyrenians help disadvantaged people from all walks of life, so there is a double benefit to their business.
Anyway, other businesses do offer organics recycling and I know of several that are about to start. So this is a young industry, but its potential is huge.