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Council buying clout could spur reuse

Local authorities’ buying power could be used to drive the market for reused goods, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA’s Reuse Commission, which was set up to recommend actions local authorities could take to encourage reuse ahead of recycling or throwing products away, issued an ‘initial finding’ report to the LGA environment and housing board.

It stated: “Each year the public sector purchases many millions of pounds of products and has the potential in many instances to specify reused or refurbished products.

“This would help to drive demand for these products and have a positive effect by increasing the value of the reuse and refurbishment industry.”

Convenience was the most important factor in whether goods could be reused.

The commission said: “Convenience is king,” noting “the importance of a convenient collection and drop off service as the most effective means of ensuring householders provide unwanted items for use by someone else”.

It also identified price has been as a driving factor in motivating the purchase of second-hand products, and said tax incentives could increase the viability of reuse industries.

Other recommended measures likely to appear in the commission’s final report – expected in late February – included developing leasing business models for consumer goods similar to those used between companies, for example for photocopiers.

External members of the commission included the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Defra, the Environmental Services Association and WRAP.

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