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How committed are you?

Date: 6/09/2013 | Author: Chris Oldfield

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As we work towards a resource efficient economy, UNTHA UK managing director Chris Oldfield asks if there is a danger we leave it to others

Love or hate the concept, there has perhaps never been so much debate surrounding the circular economy. Numerous reports and industry papers have been published in the past six to eight weeks, highlighting the potential value of this approach to resource efficiency.

However there is more work to be done in realising the value of initiatives such as the circular economy.

Substance and clarity is required before the nation can embrace what may otherwise remain just an aspirational term.

But at the very least, ongoing industry commentary surrounding these ‘hot topics’ gets our brain cells working and provides some perspective.

It helps us all, as waste management professionals, to think about how much we are already supporting the UK’s environmental agenda, but more importantly it encourages us to consider what more we can do.

A key principle of sustainability for instance is to build processes and products that last; an ethos that UNTHA has upheld since the company was founded.

This is why our robust waste shredders are purposefully engineered so that, after a long and successful ‘first life’ in one plant, they can then be refurbished, reconfigured and re-commissioned for use in another operation elsewhere.

We currently have a used LRK1000 plastic shredder at our Boroughbridge headquarters for example, which will provide the perfect solution for companies looking to improve their approach to plastic recycling, at 65 per cent of the ordinary cost. Like other machines in our range, this model comprises numerous features that deliver unparalleled uptime, reduce energy consumption and ultimately boost client efficiencies.

This is just one illustration that shows how much importance UNTHA UK places on design – a facet of the circular economy that is being discussed at length at the moment. We are also ticking the box for companies trying to be thriftier with their spend and, perhaps most crucially, we are helping clients facilitate their own closed loop approach to business.

The LRK1000 enables organisations to re-process ‘waste’ such as plastic packaging, drums, car bumpers, dashboards, interior auto trim and polymer foam, so that they can be fed back into production as ‘raw materials’ or sent for recycling or reuse elsewhere. So at the same time as supporting the UK’s resource agenda ourselves, we are also providing the tools to help our clients be sustainable too.

Upon reflection, there is a lot to be proud of, and I would encourage other businesses to think about the contribution they are making to industry progress. However the identification of achievements should be a motivational exercise that fuels further progress, rather than an excuse to sit back and relax.

We, like the majority of organisations, need to acknowledge that we are not doing enough. It would be too easy to let someone else do the hard work.

But for Europe to be resource efficient everybody must play their part. We cannot rely on the Government for greater direction. Instead we need to try to stir a motion ourselves. If we can inspire the public for instance, the Government may think differently as a result.

There is no single answer as to how we do this. Some companies may be able to further design, devise and adapt, thus creating solutions that increase the demand for sustainable products and services. Some may choose to work with community groups and local authorities to heighten the voice of their immediate public. Others may seek to contribute to political discussions such as the Labour Party’s resource security debate on the Your Britain website.

Every contribution will surely help our nation gain momentum. So how committed are you?”


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