On Tuesday 19th April 2017, Low Carbon South West hosted Resource Futures, Collecteco and GENeco at the Future Economy Centre for our April Business Breakfast about how local businesses can utilise waste as a resource to move towards the ideal of a circular economy.
Matthew Tudge, GM for Low Carbon South West, welcomed guests to the FEC and gave a brief introduction to the breakfast topic of Mainstreaming Waste Streams by highlighting how waste is an integral part of the low carbon model.
First to speak was Jane Stephenson, Business Development Director for Resource Futures. Jane gave an overview of the circular economy model against the background of waste – domestic waste collection to landfill has only been the ‘norm’ for around 150 years; prior to this most waste was burnt or utilised.
Jane spoke about the main drivers influencing our ability to reach the ultimate goal of a zero waste economy. She highlighted the importance of waste reuse within the textile industry, as well as opportunities and examples from unused paint and plasterboard when discussing the key contributors in any waste discussions. Jane also gave numerous examples of schemes and initiatives locally and nationally from both private companies and community groups to encourage reuse and reframing of resources no longer required – click here to see Jane’s slides.
Second on the morning’s agenda was Steve Sliney, Director of Collecteco. Steve spoke on the importance of reuse and how much of a positive impact it can have in efforts to reduce waste going straight to landfill. Businesses often dispose of perfectly usable (or reusable) furniture, equipment and resources when moving offices or upgrading, but Collecteco can take those items – often with short notice – and re-distribute them to places where they can be utilised and therefore avoid the waste stream altogether. He also discussed his role in the Bristol Reuse Network, a network of organisations which collectively promotes reuse and repair around the city and collaborate to prevent as much waste going to landfill as possible.
Our final speaker was Amy Clephane, Liquid Bioresources Graduate at GENeco. Amy gave a step-by-step guide to the processing of sewage and liquid waste into their treatment plant in Avonmouth and how they turn waste into several valuable resources, such as biomethane and biofertilisers. She also highlighted some of the projects run by GENeco around the Bristol/Bath area such as the bio-bus which was fuelled by methane from human waste – the methane derived from the process is so pure it has to have propane added before it goes into the grid.
We would like to thank our speakers for making this breakfast dynamic and engaging, and also a huge thank you to all attendees – we hope you found it worthwhile and came away with some useful insights.
If you are not already a Low Carbon South West member but would like to know more about the opportunities and benefits that membership can offer, please visit our membership page or get in touch with Matthew Tudge for a chat about working together.