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First business kerbside collection service in the UK for WEEE and batteries

The Enhance business support programme has helped instigate First Mile's unique successful business kerbside waste collection service for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and batteries.

First Mile is recruiting about ten new clients a day, since it launched the service in December 2007. It now has about 200 businesses using its new service, after receiving a £95,000 grant from the Enhance Capital Fund to procure three new collection vehicles and tracking equipment to manage logistics and minimise vehicle movements.

Kate Nelson, senior project manager, London Remade, said: “Businesses in London are becoming increasingly concerned about the waste they generate and want to dispose of it in an environmentally responsible way. 133,000 tonnes of WEEE are created in London each year and First Mile is doing an excellent job at diverting this from landfill through their innovative collection scheme.”

Enhance is the support service for green enterprises in London. It helps develop businesses that reduce London's waste, reuse resources or work with recycled materials. The programme is supported by £4.8 million from the London Development Agency. Its team of experts has been brought together by London Remade and the London Community Recycling Network.

Bruce Bratley, managing director, First Mile, said: “We want to get every SME in London recycling by 2010. That may sound a tall order, but it's easy with First Mile's services. It is incredibly important that every business takes responsibility for the waste it produces. They must stop just thinking it's a good idea to recycle and take action now.”

First Mile's popular collection service provides London businesses with a package of storage sacks: a box of five WEEE sacks – £25 each – and one for dry cell batteries – £20 each. The sacks have been specially designed for heavy, rigid materials and can hold up to 25kg. Bulky WEEE is also collected; businesses simply slap a sticker (£25 each) on the item and call First Mile to collect the items outside their premises.

First Mile provides customers with consignment notes for hazardous waste and duty of care for all waste collected. Staff at First Mile are also undergoing training to separate the collected WEEE into equipment that can be reused or recycled.

The Enhance programme has helped First Mile:
• increase collection capacity to approximately 11,500 tonnes of waste (paper, cardboard, glass, aluminium and steel) per year
• introduce a new WEEE and battery collection scheme
• expand the service from three to seven of the London boroughs
• reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by approximately 5,000 tonnes per year
• create 15 new jobs

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