Reading Cardboard Partnership
Reading UK CIC/Reading BID wanted to help all of their members to access commercial recycling opportunities after discovering that many of the small businesses said that it was difficult (in both financial and practical terms) to recycle the cardboard from their trade waste stream.
Around 130 businesses signed up a BID-wide scheme as well as the Oracle Shopping Centre, which is the final destination for the weekly four tonnes of waste cardboard collected. The objectives were simple; to provide a cardboard waste recycling scheme that any BID members, no matter how large or small, could subscribe to and to reduce the amount of waste cardboard used to facilitate rough sleeping around the town centre. Having already established a critical mass of BID businesses who supported the idea of a waste recycling scheme, the next step was to introduce the process, keeping it easy to sign up to, and creating a collection routine which suited everyone.
The scheme was made viable by the fact the Oracle Shopping Centre came forward to support the project, taking delivery of the trade waste and adding it to their waste recycling stream. Over 60 small, independent businesses initially subscribed to the scheme. The material is presented each Thursday morning by the participant businesses, and collected by a two-man crew from the Borough's Street Care team, working on contract to the BID. Using a small cage-tipper van, material is transported less than a quarter mile to the service yard of The Oracle, where it is baled and incorporated into The Oracle's existing recycling contract with Woodside Recycling.
The Reading BID cardboard recycling scheme has been a success story in harnessing public and private partners to work together. Results speak for themselves in terms of not only the weekly tonnage being diverted from landfill, but the social outcomes which in the long term will reduce rough sleeping in the town centre.