With landfill charges set to increase, SMILE Resource Exchange encourages businesses to make a change

Waste Facts (source: www.greenbusiness.ie)

  • Ireland produces over 3 million tonnes of municipal waste each year
  • SMEs create over 50% of this commercial and industrial waste
  • Waste alone often costs a business 5-20 times the cost of disposal
  • Wastage of resources costs companies up to 4.5% of turnover

SMILE Resource Exchange is encouraging businesses from all sectors to make a change that will save them money, reduce waste going to landfill and help them develop new business opportunities this year.

With the landfill levy set to rise even further this year in a series of planned hikes, which will more than double the charge from its existing level at the start of 2011, now is the perfect time to look at business practices relating to waste disposal and make a change. The levy is scheduled to increase from €50 a tonne to €65 a tonne on June 1st this year, followed by a further increase to €75 a tonne on June 1st 2013, following an announcement last year by Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government Phil Hogan.

The levy increase means that, for example, if a hospitality business sends approximately 50 tonnes of waste to landfill, this hike will increase their annual costs by €2,250. The increases are designed to make landfill uneconomical and help move waste away from disposal, and concentrate minds on resource management and waste prevention.

SMILE (Saving Money through Industry Links and Exchanges) Resource Exchange is an initiative that encourages the idea that “one person’s waste is another’s resource” and works with businesses and organisations to foster partnerships that allow them to exchange their re-usable resources. Michelle Green, Project Manager of SMILE Resource Exchange says Waste is sometimes a subjective concept, because items that some people discard as rubbish may have value to others.”

Potential exchanges are identified through networking events, an online exchange facility and a support team to assist.  SMILE Resource Exchange is a free initiative that proactively supports businesses, and joins enterprise and environment together in a unique and innovative way; and to date has identified over 1,000 potential matches between its 500 members, as well as identifying thousands of euros of cost savings for businesses.

SMILE Resource Exchange is looking forward to welcoming new members, and seeing more money saving matches made, like Dermot McCarthy of O’Donovan Engineering who realised the value of the SMILE Resource Exchange in 2011 and was pleasantly surprised. He said “It was astonishing to see the variations in ‘waste’ and the amount of companies who actually wanted the materials. We found a home for our plastic reels which really proved that one companies’ waste is indeed another’s raw material. We are now saving €2,160 per year by rerouting our plastic reels out of landfill.”

No matter how big or small your business is there is potential to make a match through this innovative initiative. Aodhán Quinlan of Rothar Cycles in Cork is proof of this: “My business generates a considerable amount of quality brown cardboard that used to go to landfill. At a recent SMILE event I found out a ‘match’ that would take this waste off my hands and I am now saving €250 – €300 per year.”

Imelda McGrattan from Imelda Mc Grattan & Associates encourages businesses to give SMILE Resource Exchange a go, saying “People sometimes don’t think that what they have as a waste could be reused by another, and enable them to reduce their own costs in disposing. SMILE is helping shift people’s mindset.”

SMILE Resource Exchange is project managed by Macroom E and is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Cork County and City Enterprise Boards; Cork County and City Councils; Limerick/Clare/Kerry Regional Waste Management Office; Limerick County and City Enterprise Boards; Kerry County Enterprise Board; and Clare County Enterprise Board.

All resources offered through SMILE Resource Exchange are either free of charge or below market value, and businesses in all sectors are invited to sign up today. To sign up or for further information on SMILE Resource Exchange, as well details of upcoming events visit www.smileexchange.ie or call (026) 20520.

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