Design for Reuse
Research is a vital task for practitioners when seeking to apply Industrial Symbiosis principles to resources that arise regularly but in smaller quantities. It became apparent to an IS Practitioner that a solution needed to be sought for the appropriate handling of redundant PVC banner systems. These are used as event or programme advertising and usually have a single use or short-time limited life cycle. The system is made up of a skin and metal frame.
The IS Service found that while the banner skin was time limited, organisations were replacing the entire pop up display system. This includes the metal infrastructure (usually aluminium), various plastic pieces and the fabric carrying / storage bag.
Through enquiries into what happens to these, it was found that they were usually stored until the decision was taken to dump them as general waste with most ending up in landfill.
At one organisation it was found that there were approximately 80 being stored, all with outdated information on the skins but the potential for reuse as new stands and storage/carrying bags.
The average weight of a complete standard quality pop up is 7kg. This meant that over half a tonne of reusable / recyclable material was sent to landfill incurring disposal cost and landfill tax.
Advertising agencies have indicated that this would be the “norm” across many companies in all sectors.
Manufacturers and suppliers of pop up stands were surveyed by the IS service to see what the possibilities were and most agreed that a better environmentally sustainable system should be sought. Several responded by introducing a system that allows organisations to replace the message banner skin if the rest of the stand infrastructure is sound.
These could be supplied at a saving of up to 50% of the cost of supplying a complete stand.
The proactive implementation of Design for Re-use practices in line with circular economy principles achieves cost savings as well as increasing the lifespan of valuable materials
The Industrial Symbiosis Service is funded by Invest Northern Ireland and delivered by International Synergies NI Ltd