Resource Efficiency

Supporting a system that minimises resources whilst maximising productivity
Resource Efficiency B2

Why this theme?

The way we use our supply chains to create products and waste as a result has a huge impact on society, the economy and the environment. We are in a ‘plastic crisis’ as showcased by high-profile media coverage and want to work with our stakeholders to encourage a reduction in plastic and other waste by minimising consumption in the first place and re-using and recycling what we do use.  Current performance around household recycling across the West Midlands is on average 44% although in some areas it is down at 30%, with some of the lowest rates in the country.

This target is also about embracing and encouraging a circular economy approach to everything we do. From procurement choices to our own shopping habits, can we ensure that all products, from plastic cups to mobile phone parts, are sustainably sourced in the first place, used for as long as possible, and re-used or recycled efficiently and effectively at end of life? We will work with our stakeholders to promote good approaches to achieving genuine circularity.

Our target: By 2030, achieve a household recycling rate of 55%

SWM consulted with WRAP in the development of this target, along with many experts across our membership base not least through running an event on the Future of Organics in 2019. In addition, the Resources and Waste Strategy currently sets a target of 50% household waste recycling by 2020. We had originally wanted to set a more ambitious target than 55%, but the aforementioned experts encouraged us to be realistic, given the complexities of kerbside collection. Instead, we can encourage users to adopt circular and waste minimisation approaches, even if it’s just taking your empty bread bags to a recycling point!

Current progress on this target (2021) – more action needed. Data show that recycling rates in the West Midlands are flat and not increasing as per analysis of the latest available data (2018).

Future modifications to this target will take account of the  redefinition of ‘municipal’ waste once more comprehensive data is available, especially in relation to business waste.

What our Members are doing

Aston University Logo

Aston University is a long established research-led University known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce. The University is committed to sustainability in all its operations and has considerable expertise in  sustainability research to support businesses and the public sector. A case study published in 2019 shows what the University has committed to in the field of resource efficiency as it has drastically reduced their consumption of single-use plastics on campus through a number of different means including encouraging use of reusable cups for hot drinks and tap water consumption and not using balloons at graduations. This resulted in the university being granted Plastic-Free status by Surfers Against Sewage as well as raising awareness of the issues surrounding single-use plastics to staff and students.

International Synergies logo

International Synergies Limited work regionally, nationally and internationally with diverse industry sectors to uncover the challenges they face in finding sustainable resource solutions invariably results in a demand pull on the innovation and research community. They pioneer systems that empower companies to understand and implement resource efficiency measures through a variety of innovative mechanisms and projects.

International Synergies Ltd have developed a cutting-edge bespoke ICT resource management platform SYNERGie®, which enables organisations globally to reduce cost, risk and environmental footprint through efficiently identifying resource reuse opportunities. Through their BASIS Resource Efficiency Project, they support businesses in the GBSLEP, to reduce its costs through finding lower cost homes for waste materials, reducing your energy usage and bills and finding suitable grants and tax relief opportunities. It is estimated that to date, this has saved companies £1 billion in disposal, storage and purchasing costs and increased their sales by the same amount. More regionally, International Synergies teamed up with fellow members  EnTRESS (University of Wolverhampton), to deliver a workshop on “resource matching in construction”; bringing together businesses with a common goal in mind – to save money by improving the way they manage resources and waste materials in May 2021.

Other members leading on the theme of Resource Efficiency

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