WRAP to target reuse in coming year

Delegates at tomorrow's annual WRAP conference will hear how reuse is key to reducing carbon emissions in UK households and businesses, and will be a "major theme" of WRAP's work over the coming year.

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) will launch research results at tomorrow’s conference outlining the potential savings that could be made, both financially and in terms of CO2, by reusing everyday household and business items.

Furniture is one area where the potential is huge. According to the research, one million sofas are reused in the UK every year, saving those households giving them a new home more than £320m.

However, says WRAP, those one million sofas only represent 17% of the total number discarded in a 12-month period. And, reusing one tonne of sofas has the same environmental benefit as recycling one tonne of plastics. Currently 83% of sofas that aren’t reused are sent to landfill or for recycling. By doubling the number that are reused, the equivalent of 52,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved, equal to taking 17,000 cars off the road each year.

It’s a similar story in the office, with £6m saved last year by businesses reusing office chairs. However, only 14% of office chairs were reused rather than being discarded.

WRAP ceo Liz Goodwin will launch the research report tomorrow, along with an online tool to help users work out the benefits of reuse. She said: “The research findings are staggering. Current levels of re-use create financial savings to households of around £1bn and reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by one million tonnes – the same as taking 300,000 cars off the road. But in terms of potential impact, this is clearly just the tip of the iceberg.

“The research shows a considerable amount of re-use already taking place in the UK – often through charity shops, online exchange and informally between friends and family. The benefits to household and business budgets could be even greater, for example if there was greater confidence in the quality of re-used products. WRAP will be working to help address these issues.”

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Will Parsons

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