Over numerous decades, the UK has been swept along on a wave of consumerism and constantly evolving technology. Everyone wants the latest gadgets, from TVs to laptop and smartphones. There is also a national obsession with home DIY, interior design, makeover shows and adverts that invited us to ‘chuck out our chintz’. This leaves us with an enormous amount of discarded furniture and gadgets, in addition to everyday rubbish clearance.
There are multiple laws in place covering waste management and rubbish clearance; for example, hazardous materials must be disposed of safely in accordance with the UK Government regulations, which means items such as batteries and WEEE must be handled appropriately. But this leaves the question of what should be done with other larger items, such as furniture and those that have reusable elements when stripped and separated. The answer is to recycle and reuse, not to consign to a landfill!
Waste management services should adhere to three main tenets of the circular economy: Reclamation, Recycling and Reusing. This is an ideology that is very close to the heart of Adrian Westwood, founder of Brighton based rubbish clearance specialists, G&S Clearance.
The company started with just one skip and a van and he has built up the business and based the entire operation on the ethos of sustainability and a motto of ‘whatever needs to be done gets done’. Today the company employs a team of experienced waste management professionals, who operate throughout the entire Brighton and Hove areas. Clients can rest assured that the company is fully regulated, insured and conversant with the latest legal guidance regarding all types of rubbish clearance.
Adrian explained the company’s outlook, “As a waste management service, it is our job to help clients dispose of rubbish. This could be commercial waste and recycling, construction or general garden waste clearance. Our mission is twofold, firstly we aim to provide clients with a fair service for a fair price. Secondly, and just as important, we will recycle and reuse one hundred per cent of all items whenever it is possible. Any items that cannot be recycled (such as furniture containing hazardous Pops (Persistent Organic Pollutants), will be transported, stored and disposed of safely at the correct waste management centres.”
The importance of sustainability and the circular economy was brought into sharp focus when Adrian became a father. The need to protect the planet for this and future generation gained resonance and his resolve was hardened to ensure that G&S Clearance was doing as much as possible to reduce the harmful effects of waste.
G&S Clearance has gone one step further than most waste management companies. In addition to adherence to the correct disposal of rubbish, the company has set up a second-hand shop, Mid Antique, which sells salvaged items that can be resold as pre-loved, to give them a second life. Everything in the store also complies with UK standards to ensure they are safe for sale and a percentage of the money goes towards G&S Clearance’s preferred charities:
Small and SME businesses are prevalent throughout the UK and they contribute immensely to communities with regards to employment and growth. As a result, they have the power to influence customers’ opinions with regards to the sustainability, leading by example. No matter what type or size of company, it is possible to adapt the methodology of the circular economy and start making a difference – no matter how small. This can be achieved by adopting a model designed to reduce pollution and waste by using products for longer and ensuring the safe disposal and recycling when replaced.
Here are three steps that can help SMEs implement sustainable practices:
1. Check out the EU information circular economy for SMEs which shows how challenges can be turned into opportunities and explains the full potential of a green economy. The website provides a link to a Circular Economy Tool Kit and White Book with a step-by-step guide.
2. The University of Exeter Business School offers 6-week online courses offering a ‘circular economy masterclass’, showing you how develop the necessary skills and how to implement them into your business.
3. Circular Business Support Programme for SMEs in London. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation SME Programme, provides help to companies wanting to adopt circular practices.
In conclusion, the impact of small companies and SMEs like G&S Clearance cannot be overlooked. Operating at the heart of communities, the implementation of circular economy methodologies can have a dramatic effect, by adopting green policies internally it is possible to influence the supply chain. Clients will also gain first-hand experience of sustainable services and as a result become more aware of the possibilities.
As Adrian Westwood would say, “When we repair, recycle and reuse, we’re all winners. It’s good for business, society and it helps to save the planet.”