Significant Opportunity For Sales of Reusable Bulky Waste Items

A report released by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan and Northern Ireland Minister for the Environment, Alex Attwood estimates that up to 1.2 million items or almost 30,000 tonnes of bulky waste could potentially be reused each year.

Bulky waste is the term used for municipal items that are too large to fit in regular waste collection bins. Typical bulky waste items are: furniture, certain categories of electrical goods (WEEE), mattresses, carpets, plumbing fixtures (bathtubs, toilets, sinks), bicycles, garden furniture, etc. The All Island Bulky Waste Reuse Best Practice Management Feasibility Study estimates that in the region of Eur60 million (£48 million) in potential sales of reusable bulky waste items could be realised through the implementation of an all island approach to the management of bulky waste.

The report was commissioned and managed by rx3, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s programme to develop markets for recyclable materials in Ireland.

“The rx3 All Island Bulky Waste Reuse Best Practice Management Feasibility Study intends to provide waste operators with market intelligence to help them identify opportunities for increasing the level of reuse. The report forms part of our efforts to ensure the appropriate waste management infrastructure is in place to meet future needs,” says Phil Hogan. “Reuse may represent 1-2% of throughput activity on a Civic Amenity/ Recycling Centre site, but it brings wider benefits such as environmental, economic and social and community benefits. There is clearly a huge opportunity here for reuse organisations to collaborate more closely with local authorities to develop the reuse market further.”

Minister Attwood says: “This report is a good example of how we collaborate on this island to maximise the potential for shared, common or agreed approaches to waste. I believe that Minister Hogan and I can identify positive measures and interventions to assist the waste industry in increasing reuse North and South.”

The main aim of the study was to carry out a feasibility study, followed by a pilot demonstration scheme, to establish whether an all island approach to bulky waste management and increased reuse opportunities of bulky waste from civic amenity (CA) recycling centre (RC) sites is feasible. The majority of bulky waste from CA/RC sites is currently sent for recycling, recovery or disposal. The study has found that there is an opportunity to increase the reuse of bulky waste items delivered to CA/RC sites on theislandofIrelandbased on demand from reuse organisations.

The All Island Bulky Waste Reuse Best Practice Management Feasibility Study found that an all-island reuse initiative between civic amenity recycling centres and reuse organisations is feasible. It recommended, in order to progress the initiative further, that:

* There is a requirement for a regulatory or policy driver to further stimulate the reuse of bulky wastes

* A reuse protocol be developed to assist CA/RC owners, operators and reuse organisations

* A reuse certification system and quality mark and/or reuse logo should be developed to allow reuse organisations show that their products meet high quality standards

* The demand for a training course/information session for local authorities and reuse organisations on the island of Ireland be assessed

* There is clarification provided for the owners and operators of CA/RCs in both jurisdictions on the implications of reuse and preparing for reuse activities on the  facility authorisation

* The existing level of funding is maintained and additional funding is made available to support CA/RCs and reuse organizations.

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