Transition Tring’s waste audit
By Ed Mitchell 20th September 2010
Tring in Transition have been busy auditing the waste that local businesses generate and how they deal with it. This is a significant issue for many local initiatives (especially those in cities) so we appreciate them sharing their findings with us. It’s all too easy to think that business don’t care, but their findings would indicate otherwise.
Download their full report below, and in the meantime here is an excerpt from the report…
Tring in Transition (TT) was set up in 2008, becoming one of the earliest Transition Towns in the UK. Its aim is ‘to encourage and enable our community to make the transition away from dependence on non-renewable energy to a safe and sustainable future’.
TT has Four Action Groups, and the Waste & Recycling Group (W&R Group) is very aware that while local residents are contributing to Hertfordshire County Council’s quite encouraging proportion of local household waste that is recycled, opportunities for local businesses to segregate their waste are limited. No kerbside recycling collection is available to them from the local authority. The TT W&R Group wanted to find out what current practice is among local businesses, and to establish just how much of their waste collection could theoretically be recycled.
During May 2010 a short questionnaire was distributed to approximately 170 local businesses. Twenty-nine responses were received and we have analysed the results….
The local businesses that responded to our questionnaire were very much in support of the introduction of waste recycling facilities for small businesses. A number of them are producing quantities of materials that, in a domestic setting, would be destined for kerbside recycling or could be taken to a local Household Waste & Recycling Centre.
Indeed, some business owners are putting recyclable materials generated at work into their domestic waste in order to avoid sending them to landfill. And from conversations with local business people it appears that for some businesses, their location means that no waste collection service is currently available to them at all.
A number of respondents were clearly looking to the local authority to provide facilities and encouragement for small businesses to engage in recycling. They acknowledged that week by week they are producing waste that could be recycled if only it was collected and segregated appropriately; instead it all goes to landfill.
And here are their next steps:
Follow-up to local business waste audit:
In June 2010 Tring in Transition’s Waste & Recycling Group hosted an open meeting at which a representative from the county council’s ‘Waste Partnership’ and a partner from a local recycling firm, Cawleys Recycling, gave presentations and answered questions.
Following this open meeting, the W&R Group met to discuss follow-up to their business waste audit and decided to concentrate initially on food waste from local eating places.
In October-November 2010 the W&R Group is returning to the cafés, restaurants and takeaways in Tring to ask specifically about food waste. We will go through a short questionnaire in face-to-face meetings at the food outlets.
We then hope to set up a meeting in early 2011 with a representative from Cawleys to see if a group of local food businesses might join together to have their food waste collected. This would divert waste from landfill into the production of energy via anaerobic digestion.
Well done all! Keep it up!