This research project was funded by the EPA under the Green Enterprise programme and ran from July 2018 to December 2019.
The EPA hosted a webinar, the first of a series on Green Enterprise projects, to disseminate the Bulky Item Reuse project. Over 50 atttendees heard about the challenges – and opportunities – to avoid the skip and find an outlet for bulky items.
You can watch the full presentation or download the slides across.
There are significant potential environmental and economic savings associated with increased reuse of bulky items. Over 1.2 million potentially reusable bulky items are going to landfill or incineration on the island of Ireland every year. Office furniture in particular is often replaced due to aesthetic and corporate reasons, on an entire office basis, rather than any loss of functionality.
Through reuse, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with both from upstream material management (55% and 65% of typical national emissions) and end of life management (3-4% of total emissions from the average OECD country) are avoided. In economic terms, the Irish government procures millions of euro worth of bulky items every year, giving an opportunity for the public sector to lead by example on this transition.
While interest in reuse is increasing in some areas, State involvement in reuse or recycling of bulky items remains at a low level. Through this project, CRNI aimed to design value propositions and a viable business model to encourage State agencies (and eventually other private organisations) to donate unwanted bulky items for reuse or community recycling, where reuse is not possible.
The research identified four different approaches that public bodies could adopt depending on their circumstances including internal exchange, external exchange, clusters or project based exchanges.
It also recommended strong policy drivers be introduced to provide Public Service Bodies with the incentive to adopt these models and/or other reuse activities.
CRNI is leading an EPA Green Enterprise project Circular Textiles, which will test the impact of three different separate collection systems for textiles and explore how we could manage the additional quantity of textiles that are collected. This project will be concluded in 2022.
For more information about the project see here.