SMILE Resource Exchange is a network of businesses that involves the exchange of surplus products and by-products and reusable items, in order to save money and help the environment by diverting waste from landfill.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny today launched the SMILE Resource Exchange at Government Buildings in Dublin as new figures showed that over 2,500 items have been exchanged by the project’s 550 participants in Cork, Kerry, Clare and Limerick since 2010.
“A key focus of the organisation is to encourage businesses to identify new opportunities from using unwanted resources,” explained Michelle Green, Project Manager, SMILE, which stands for Saving Money through Industry Links & Exchanges.
She continued: “At the various exchange events and through the Exchange website, businesses can identify resources they would like to exchange: reusable items, by-products and surplus products. All resources offered are either free of charge or below market value. Exchanges made to date at the Munster events have involved all sectors and product categories. Goods that have been exchanged are as diverse as drums containers; cardboard; furniture; plastics and Styrofoam.”
Research conducted by Smile Resource Exchange highlights businesses’ attitudes to waste disposal, and changing trends, with upcycling growing in popularity.
The Smile survey, completed by over 100 businesses throughout Munster, indicates that SMEs are actively engaging in actions to reduce their environmental impact, with the majority of companies (92pc) disposing of unwanted waste through recycling; although 48pc also still sending quantities of waste to landfill. Just one respondent said they send 100pc of their waste to landfill, while the majority said they send just between 1pc and 24pc of waste to landfill.
When asked about the benefits of implementing environmentally friendly measures, the most quoted perceived benefit was 'cost reduction' closely followed by 'waste minimisation'. Other responses include fostering a 'better image among customers', knowledge that they are 'doing their bit for the environment' and 'increased efficiencies'.
Commenting on the survey and the expansion of the SMILE project into Dublin, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D., said: “Our natural environment and ‘green’ image is one of Ireland’s greatest assets which we must protect. The government is determined that reuse becomes a much bigger focus and is a key part of our Waste Management Policy. The SMILE Resource Exchange service diverts surplus products, by-products and reusable items from landfill, saves businesses money and encourages business to find new business opportunities out of unwanted resources. I would encourage businesses to be more resource efficient and to get involved with this initiative and start exchanging”.
The first Dublin Exchange event will take place on Tuesday 9th October running from 9am to 1pm in Croke Park. Meanwhile, businesses in Clare, Limerick, Cork and Kerry wishing to participate in the project are invited to a free SMILE Resource Exchange event on Tuesday 20th November from 8.45am to 1.00pm in The Woodlands House Hotel, Adare, County Limerick.
According to Ms. Green: “We want to help businesses identify resource exchange opportunities which could save businesses money as well as extending the life of materials which thus helps the environment by diverting waste from landfill. A major focus of the events will also be to provide a large scale networking opportunity to allow businesses to identify new business opportunities from unwanted resources.”
Membership of SMILE Resource Exchange is free for businesses and the project is managed by Macroom E and supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Local Authorities and Enterprise Boards in Cork, Limerick, Kerry and Clare. SMILE is funded under the National Waste Prevention Programme set-up in 2004.
For further information on the upcoming SMILE Exchange Events in Dublin and Limerick, please contact: 01-4361864 or visit www.smileexchange.ie.
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