A successful partnership between leading disability charity Scope and waste management broker UKWSL, has seen an impressive 98 per cent of waste generated by their 200 high street retail stores diverted away from landfill, and a reduction in Scope’s annual waste budget by approximately 15 per cent. This equates to approximately 1,300 tonnes of materials being recycled or recovered every year.
This news comes following a report recently published by the Charity Retail Association, Councils and Charity Shops, which highlighted a less positive trend whereby charities were falling victim to inconsistent and unfair policies on business rates relief and waste management. Only 54 per cent of local authorities in England currently allow charity shops to dispose of any donations they are unable to sell at civic amenity facilities, and despite the potential for them to reduce landfill in their local area, only 24 per cent of authorities choose to form a partnership with a local charity retailer on their premises.
The picture at Scope however, paints a very different story. The charity has pushed environmental concerns rights up its agenda, having finally found a partner in UKWSL that offered the engagement, education and innovation they were looking for. A long-term contract was therefore signed in 2014 to provide general waste, mixed and glass recycling. Over the last 4 years, the team at UKWSL has encouraged Scope to consistently challenge its own behaviours and attitudes towards waste. One of the key improvements instigated by the Scope retail team has been segregating the un-sellable goods into three different waste streams: General, Recycling and WEEE (Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment) with the teams of staff and volunteers. Key stakeholders at Scope went on to complete the Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM) WasteSmart course delivered by the UKWSL in-house training team.
Kirsty Foot, Scope Retail Operations Coordinator, said: “We’re delighted with the outcomes of our partnership. We’ve worked in close collaboration. The UKWSL team visited our shops and ensured our waste was segregated as precisely as possible and then proposed an optimised service specification. A concerted effort by both partners has simultaneously led to a huge increase in the amount we recycle and an overall reduction in general waste. This has ultimately minimised costs and allowed for better profitability in our retail chain. As a direct result of the partnership, we’ve increased the amount of money raised through our shops to support our work with disabled people and their families.”
Max Kanda, Managing Director at UKWSL, added: “Here at UKWSL, we work with multiple service partners in all the key towns and cities across the UK so when selecting our contractors for Scope, we carefully considered the time and access restrictions for each store, as many of the high streets where the stores are located have pedestrian access-only hours which limits the collection times. We are so pleased to see such a fantastic charity being able to divert money away from waste and towards much worthier causes.”