WRAP calls for greater collaboration to increase re-use in the third sector

Businesses looking to cut down on their waste and embrace a more circular approach can now take advantage of a new tool to aid collaboration, launched today by The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

WRAP says partnerships are fundamental to helping companies reap the associated financial, social and environmental benefits of re-use and has released a range of material to assist in the formation of such partnerships amongst the third sector. 

Seven video case studies are now available to show what can be achieved through partnership working, such as the Leeds Furniture Re-use Group which diverted 7,000 pieces of furniture for re-use, achieving a turnover of more than £300,000.

Critical to circular economy

WRAP is also providing step-by-step guides, such as ‘make re-use a strategic priority’ and ‘produce a re-use action plan’. WRAP is also hosting a series of workshops on the key elements of getting a partnership in place by bringing the ‘how-to’ guides to life. They also offer the opportunity for interaction and learning between attendees. 

“Keeping goods in use for longer is a critical part of delivering a circular economy,” said WRAP head of resource management Linda Crichton.

“Not only does it reduce pressures on raw materials but has the potential to create new jobs and training opportunities. Successful partnerships are key to driving the re-use sector, but it does need a concerted effort by all involved. Done well and it will bring big benefits locally to councils, organisations, individuals and the economy.” 

Quantifiable gains

In 2012 re-use benefitted the third sector by an estimated £430 million, and re-use organisations created 11,000 full time equivalent jobs. WRAP estimates that UK households also benefitted by some £6 billion through re-use in 2012.

Richard Featherstone from the London Reuse Network said: “Establishing successful partnerships has its challenges but it is crucial to realising the benefits that can come from re-use. The WRAP guides and case-studies give direction and power-steering to the partnership process and gives inspiration from many different parts of the country where re-use is working today.”

Video: Re-use case study: Leicestershire

Wider Collaboration

In November the UK sustainable development organisation Forum for the Future also called for more collaboration to aid the transition to a circular economy. It said that businesses need to change their mindset from thinking in terms of value chains to being part of wider networks and systems, or ‘value networks’ which will help scale-up ideas and bring more sustainable products to market.

Collaboration between companies looking to aid the wider transition towards a circular economy is already occurring between the Circular Economy 100 members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The newest member, Deutsche Post DHL, has joined the group with the aim of championing the concept of reverse logistics, where a product is returned from its point of consumption to its point of origin.

Lucinda Dann

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