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‘Dating’ website goes national

A materials ‘dating’ website, which has already diverted nearly 4,000 tonnes of material from landfill and saved businesses over £400,000 in the East of England, has been so successful that it has gone national.

If the success continues as expected, the model could well go on to be used in every region in the UK.

Businesses, organisations or individuals that use the service can view or place adverts about redundant stock and surplus raw materials and then find a ‘match’, saving businesses money, and keeping useful materials in circulation and out of landfill. By increasing the numbers of counties that are involved, there is now be a much higher chance of businesses finding a suitable match.

Richard Ellis, chair of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), a major funder of the scheme, said: “Encouraging businesses to view resource efficiency as an opportunity and not a threat is essential, so it is excellent news that the scheme is being replicated in other parts of the country. By expanding the reach of the website more businesses will not only save money, but also be made aware of the resources they use and environmental damage that landfill can cause.”

So far, the website has received four million hits, and this is set to grow further as it expands into Yorkshire.

Simon Best, assistant business coordinator for Norfolk County Council, said: “Eastex is a truly innovative response to the need for sustainable waste management. It is a mature, proven technology, which is the most advanced public materials-exchange system in the world.

“We are delighted to see this successful idea being replicated in other parts of the country. It is still rare for best practice in one region to be picked up by another but Eastex is well on the way to becoming an established national model for materials exchanges.”

Emma Hill, of Bradford Environmental Action Trust, which is co-ordinating the rollout, said: “We are delighted to be joining the Eastex materials exchange network. This direct link substantially increases the opportunities for waste re-use right across the eleven networked counties. It also demonstrates how successful projects from one region can be efficiently replicated elsewhere. The enlarged network provides a powerful new waste reduction tool.”

Eastex was developed from a number of successful county-based materials exchanges in the East of England and a Norfolk County Council-instigated web technology platform. The website service is supported by county-based managers who play an important part in promoting the service, brokering exchanges and stimulating further activity.

About Eastex
Eastex website evolved from the county based schemes in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire and has secured funding until April 2008. Eastex is funded by: Norfolk County Council and other local authorities in Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire; EEDA’s Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) Programme; the Environment Agency; East of England Regional Assembly; Mott MacDonald and May Gurney. Eastex is co-ordinated in the East of England by Peterborough Environment City Trust.

About EEDA
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The vision is for the East of England is to create a leading economy, founded on a world class knowledge base, creativity and enterprise to improve the quality of life for all who live and work here.

EEDA aims to do this by:

1. Setting and shaping the direction of economic development in the region

2. Persuading and influencing others to bring resources together, so that innovative ways of solving challenging economic issues are found

3. Investing in imaginative projects that challenge the norm and will have a significant impact on economic development in the region.

These aims are delivered through the four key areas of Business Support, Enterprise Hubs, Investing in Communities, and Regional Renaissance.

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