Guide

How to reuse wasted resources in your business

What is resource matching?

Resource matching is the transferring of unwanted materials from one business or organisation to be reused, recycled, reprocessed and repackaged by another.

Agreeing to receive wasted resources can be on the basis of:

  • being paid for waste
  • paying nothing for its removal
  • paying less than the cost for its disposal

Invest NI has a free Industrial Symbiosis Service that provides guidance and introductions on how to achieve resource matching specific to your business needs. The Industrial Symbiosis Service can introduce you to a broad range of solutions and partners including businesses, social enterprises, charities, and other third sector organisations.

Examples of successful resource matching

Wasted materials which can be successfully matched come from a variety of sources and processes. Here are some recent examples of different types of resource matching which have been successfully supported by Invest NI's Industrial Symbiosis Service:

Redundant raw materials

  • Problem: unopened bags of sodium chloride that no longer met production guidelines now surplus to requirements.
  • Solution: another industry sector can use that material for boiler water treatment.
  • Benefits: avoided disposal costs as a chemical waste, accessed a cheaper source of new product for boiler water treatment processes.

Improving operating costs and productivity

  • Problem: pulverising blades costing a manufacturer significant downtime and sharpening costs.
  • Solutions: introduced to a local company that applied their design and special purpose machine skills and production capacity to produce a machine to sharpen blades on site.
  • Benefits: reduced shipping and transportation costs, reduced production downtime, improved blade quality, improved product specification.

Waste packaging

  • Problem: over 100 hessian sacks a week destined for landfill accumulating at a coffee roasting company.
  • Solutions: used for set and stage decoration at music festival and multi-use venue; environmentally friendly alternative for floating paths in vulnerable peaty ground in mountainous areas, bee keeping functions.
  • Benefits: improved land management and conservation work, cost savings on new materials for set and stage decoration, avoided landfill disposal.

Cross sectoral resource matching

  • Problem: sole trader with niche production requirements needed to source sustainable and ethical materials to handcraft yoga bags.
  • Solution: PVC truck tarpaulins destined for landfill met the product specifications including colour, texture and durability.
  • Benefits: removed waste management costs, reuse of materials for new product development.

If you have a wasted resource, or a niche material need which could be fulfilled by other businesses' waste, contact the Invest NI Industrial Symbiosis service.