Making the most of your waste

RWMUp and coming eco-designers will be sending their latest looks down the catwalk at the Recycling and Waste Management Exhibition (14 to 16 September, NEC, Birmingham) this year. Sponsored by BCR Global Textiles, Chris Carey’s Collections, I&G Cohen Limited and the Salvation Army Trading Company (SATCoL), the first ever RWM fashion shows will showcase the exciting design possibilities presented by the fastest growing element in the UK’s waste stream.

Meanwhile in the Waste Minimisation Zone (sponsored by Rubbermaid Commercial Products), councils can find out how re-use through a service called Freegle could save them money and how roadside gully waste could generate revenue for them. Councils that have reduced commercial and industrial waste to landfill will be sharing their secrets and Dr Michael Warhurst, senior campaigner on resource use at Friends of the Earth will explore the role of tax and funding, looking at how legislation and policy could improve resource efficiency in the UK.

The Forum and RWM Catwalk
Fast fashion comes at a price to the environment. According to the Department for the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the UK buys over two million tonnes of clothes each year (worth a staggering  £34 billion) but nearly half of this ends up in landfill where it slowly biodegrades producing methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Just 24 per cent is currently recycled.

The recycled materials market is, however, thriving thanks to companies and organisations that collect textiles on behalf of local authorities, waste management companies and charities, saving thousands of tonnes of clothes, shoes and household textiles from landfill, while raising money for charity and setting new trends in eco-friendly fashion.

SATCoL is the UK’s largest textile recycler. Of the 3,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing donated to SATCoL every month, only five tonnes go to landfill and 96 per cent are reused or recycled. Paul Ozanne, SATCoL’s national recycling coordinator, said: “With thousands of visitors each year, RWM is a fantastic opportunity to meet prospective partners that can work with us to divert as much clothing as possible away from landfill. We currently have around 4,200 clothing banks throughout the UK and our target is 5,000. Attending big events such as RWM is a very important step in helping us to achieve this.” He continues: “We are also delighted to be sponsoring the catwalk for the thrice daily fashion shows, which will add glamour to the event and demonstrate just what can be achieved with recycled materials and a bit of creativity. With awareness of the problem of global warming increasing, the recycled materials market is thriving and I am sure the shows will attract plenty of attention.”

UP and coming talent
The young designers whose work will be showcased at RWM include Emmeline Childs for SATCoL and Tanique Coburn for Chris Carey’s Collections. Christine Carey, managing director of Chris Carey’s Collections said: “RWM unites the recycling and waste community like no other show. It always benefits us to be there simply because we get to talk to the right people in the industry, be it suppliers and contractors or potential new business. We are delighted to be involved in the catwalk show this year and our talented young designer, Tanique Coburn, will be showcasing an amazing collection using textiles from Chris Carey’s Collections.”

Collections designed by Nicola Sault, managing director, Grandma Takes A Trip who works with BCR Global Textiles will also feature on the RWM Catwalk. Nicola says: “Not only will the catwalk show celebrate just how attractive fashion made from recyclable materials can be, but also all the hard work, preparation and skill involved in turning previously unwanted garments into something desirable again. We also believe that sustainability should extend into other areas of the business. In particular we have our own ‘made right here’ philosophy, where all the processes involved in making the clothes are done in-house, which retains skills within our local community, something that we are especially proud of.”

I&G Cohen will be showing designs from Tracey Cliffe whose Love Me Again collection includes bodycon dresses made from old T-shirts and swimsuits. Phil Geller, financial director of I&G Cohen, said: “I&G Cohen Limited is very proud to participate in a fashion show with a local designer creating new and exciting styles from used and reconstructed clothing. It is a different, fun and exciting way to promote textile recycling. We feel honoured to be a part of this creative world, as designers who work with recycled clothing play a vital role in creating ethical, environmentally friendly designs whilst contributing to the economy. The market for fast fashion remains strong; however, in these difficult economic times the case to reduce and reuse our limited resources is stronger than ever.

“RWM is the flagship event of the industry and we are delighted to be showcasing our bespoke services this year. I&G Cohen Limited is really excited to sponsor an innovative event like the catwalk show. We think this is a brilliant way to further raise the profile and awareness of textile recycling across the industry and to the wider public beyond. Textiles have for far too long been the poor relation of recyclable materials.”

Waste Minimisation Zone
The highlights of day one (14 September) will include Dr Michael Warhurst’s session (Friends of the Earth), which in addition to addressing monetary and legislative issues will also examine incineration versus recycling, waste to energy conversion and waste prevention recommendations. Local authority visitors can also pick up some essential new guidance for dealing with Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) plants, which will be unveiled during the presentation by Steve Newton, materials recycling manager at the Waste & Resources Action Programme in the session that follows.

WRAP will also be heavily involved on day two (15 September) when waste and recycling advisor, Helen Bird offers a progress update about how local authorities are reducing commercial and industrial waste to landfill, while offering advice on where further improvements could be made.  

Day three (16 September) will begin with an introduction to the online resource sharing service called Freegle. Cat Fletcher and Edward Hibbert, elected volunteer representatives for Freegle, will highlight its effectiveness in encouraging members to share and re-use resources which would otherwise have ended up in landfill, and demonstrate how the promoting of recycling in the local community can ultimately save local authorities money.

In the afternoon, Shaun Morely, head of waste management, Wandsworth Borough Council will offer a practical case study outline about how this local authority managed to reduce municipal waste by 40 per cent. It will also examine how this was achieved looking at areas including trade waste, the distinction between directable and non-directable municipal solid wastes, on-site composting of parks maintenance waste, the differential weighbridge charging system, its policy of re-charging for the collection cost for Schedule 2 waste (garden waste, bulky items, schools etc) and the long term promotion of home composting.

In the day’s final session Dr Richard Coulton, managing director of Siltbuster will explore roadside gully waste. Dr Coulton will begin by outlining the current and future landfill costs if road waste remains untreated before examining the potential new revenue streams for local authorities through the re-use of this material, which could also help them to reach their recycling targets.

Complete the form on to receive your badge and show preview approximately three weeks prior to the exhibition, plus avoid the queues when you arrive.

RWM is held in Halls 17, 18, 19 and the outdoor areas of the National Exhibition Centre, eight miles East of Birmingham city centre. The address is: The NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT. If you’re coming to the NEC from any part of the UK by road or rail or flying in from overseas you will find that its central position is at the hub of the UK transport network. Walk directly into the show from Birmingham International rail station or choose from a number of bus and coach services. Alternatively if you are driving there is ample car parking at the NEC.

For more information