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Survey shows over 2M tonnes of commercial and industrial waste are a valuable resource to region

A report published today has revealed that 2,176,587 tonnes of waste from commercial and industrial businesses is generated on average each year across the North East.

The North East Sustainable Resources Board, the organisation formed to champion and improve resource management opportunities in the region, commissioned the research to provide key data for investors and to assist strategic planning. A national survey which was commissioned by Defra last year included data from the North East, however the Board decided to extend the survey with a dedicated focus on the region* in view of its remit to support and ensure greater resource recovery.

Over 1,000 businesses from 12 different sectors including agriculture, construction, mining and quarrying, among others, participated in the North East England Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey ** and the findings were combined with those collated for the region in the Defra survey.***

The findings showed that the largest proportion of waste, 893,421 tonnes, arose in Tyne & Wear and the chemical manufacturing sector was the largest contributor, generating over 15 per cent of the total tonnage, followed by the retail and wholesale sector which generated 323,823 tonnes.

The most common waste type arising was mixed wastes, which tends to be the residual waste left after segregation for recycling and mostly goes to landfill. The next most common was non-metallic waste, which accounted for 439,890 tonnes and includes key recyclables such as paper, card, plastics, metals, textiles and glass.

Currently 33 per cent of the region’s waste is sent to landfill, 35 per cent is recycled and other methods such as reuse, composting and land-spreading accounted for 1,059,568 tonnes of the waste arising in the region, with an additional 178,288 tonnes being used for energy recovery or thermal treatment. A key issue arising from the survey will be identifying the opportunities for future investment in waste and resource recovery such as the resources currently being sent to landfill, which could be recovered for re-use, recycling and energy production.

The survey was funded by ANEC and ONE North East and is the first survey of its kind conducted in the region. More importantly, it will shape and inform potential future investment into new waste and resource management infrastructure and is therefore vital to the region’s long-term strategic waste planning.

Helen Watson, North East Sustainable Resources Board Coordinator, says: "The report and its findings represent one of the most crucial pieces of work the Board has undertaken and the level of support and interest from participating businesses and organisations was particularly encouraging.

"Our report and its extensive data will prove invaluable to waste planners and policy developers in the region in scoping the use of the region’s resources in the future. Moreover, we hope to continue to update the current data in order to provide a clear overview of the resource management opportunities available in terms of commercial and industrial waste and provide support to projects associated with improving and enhancing current management models, such as the pending Resource Management Plan, which the Board is developing this year."

The NESRB, is managed by RenewPlus, the not for profit company offering support, advice, training and consultancy services to businesses, individuals and organisations working in the energy and environmental industries to ensure the North East remains a leader in the sector. RenewPlus is also responsible for the Energy and Environmental Industries Forum (EEIF), the new network designed to encourage collaboration and connections across the green sector.

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