More than a hundred small and large businesses in Norfolk discussed how to get more involved in waste management at a ‘summit’ organised by the county council.
Businesses such as Bernard Matthews, Anglia Farmers, Lotus and Homebase exchanged ideas about partnership working between businesses, charities, local authorities and other bodies to encourage a more entrepreneurial approach to waste management.
Ideas discussed included setting up collectives to help SMEs increase their buying power, setting up one-to-one advice surgeries, securing funding, and establishing a large scale reuse network in the county.
Cllr Bill Borrett, the county council portfolio holder for environment and waste said that the waste market in Norfolk was estimated to be worth at least £100m a year, with the council’s household waste responsibilities accounting for £30m. The Enterprise in Waste summit was aimed at getting Norfolk businesses to contribute ideas about how to get involved in managing waste more efficiently, increase recycling and the number and type of recycling, as well as reduce their overheads.
Borrett (left) said: “The commercial sector has a well-earned reputation for bringing forward new and better ways of working and that’s why the County Council wants to work with businesses to encourage a more entrepreneurial approach to the way waste is handled in the county.
He added: “Judging by the large number of delegates and the range of organisations they represent it’s clearer to me now, more than ever, that there is a big demand from all groups for new ways of dealing with waste. And that there is also no shortage of ideas about how Norfolk can achieve that.
Attendees heard from John Lewis about the retailer’s recycling schemes including turning coat hangers into benches, as well as Hughes Electrical about the company’s recycling centre at Thetford.
Richard Featherstone development manager at London Re-use Network said that the council was forward thinking for engaging with the business community.
“They don’t want to limit the ideas for the way ahead to those within the council’s team. For those of us dedicated to re-use this is what we want to see,” he said.
The council is planning further similar events to take ideas forward.