DEVENS ECO-EFFICIENCY CENTER
Helping area businesses and organizations reduce their environmental impacts and operating costs through education, collaboration and technical assistance.
Partnerships Produce Great Rewards!
EcoStar designed and hosted The Great Exchange event to bring businesses and not-for-profit entities together to network and build relationships, with the ultimate objective of enabling material exchanges and joint service ventures that provide resource efficiencies and cost reductions. These collaborations maximize reuse opportunities, minimize the amount of waste sent to landfill, and streamline activities to decrease transportation needs. The outcomes benefit the environment, the community, and the local economy.
HOW IT WORKED
The Great Exchange was promoted as “an innovative opportunity to establish partnerships to gain efficiencies and reduce costs in your facility” and a forum to:
· Locate materials used in daily operations at significantly discounted costs
· Redirect excess inventory and idle assets to free up valuable floor space
· Find outlets for reusable waste streams and reduce waste management costs
· Collaborate to combine transportation routes to gain efficiencies
· Find a partner to strengthen purchasing power for training services or products
Network with other local companies and explore business prospects.
Thirty-two people representing businesses, government entities, educational institutions, and non-profits from six communities participated in the two-hour event. The Great Exchange was kicked off with a brief presentation on the environmental and economic benefits of exchanging and examples of the types of potential exchanges. Next, participants announced the items, materials, or services they wished to find or offer, and the remaining time was dedicated to networking and deal-making.
Attendees appreciated the opportunity that The Great Exchange provided for them to network, make contact with potential business partners, and support other community members, and numerous short term and long term partnerships were initiated.
As a result of their participation, attendees were able to:
· Decrease waste management costs by redirecting waste streams for reuse,
· Obtain materials from a local entity free of charge or for a discounted cost, and
· Lower transportation costs and shipping charges by buying locally.
Their exchanges also benefited the environment with:
· Improved resource efficiencies and prevented consumption of virgin materials, and
Decreased waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions generated.
Six months later, many of the partnerships are still active; additionally, several of them have expanded and more establishments have joined. Cumulative savings to date are estimated to be more than $63,000 from the exchange of materials that would fill more than thirty-five large dumpsters. (See table below for details) It is believed that the beneficial outcomes are greater than documented because not all are reported.
Exchanges include left-over inventories, manufacturing byproducts, imperfect products, and packaging materials that are reused by other businesses, municipalities, schools, and art groups. Additionally, businesses are exploring opportunities to collaborate on employee training and consolidate product transportation routes to improve efficiencies.
The positive response, number of partnerships established, and amount of waste that will be continuously diverted as a result of this forum influenced EcoStar’s decision to make this an annual event.
EASY TO REPLICATE
Any community with a mix of industrial, commercial, and not-for-profit entities could provide a valuable economic, social, and environmental service by hosting their own version of The Great Exchange. The invitation list can be obtained through town records as well as from the local Chamber of Commerce. All that’s needed is marketing activities, a meeting room, and someone to champion the event! The administration time is the only expense to be incurred; however, this investment by the municipality is returned through a stronger, more sustainable economic base and an enhanced sense of community. For additional information, contact Dona Neely, Director, Devens Eco-Efficiency Center at 978-772-8831 x3304or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Great Exchange Case Study:
The Great Exchange Results
The Great Exchange was launched in 2007 as a forum to divert unwanted items and materials from the landfill to reusable opportunities. This program currently repurposes 50-75 tons of materials annually and has prevented nearly 600 tons of materials from being “wasted!” In 2014. nearly 75,000 pounds of materials were repurposed through The Great Exchange. Unneeded office supplies, items for arts and crafts, pallets, plywood, packing materials, and hotel mattresses were repurposed, saving over $18,300 in avoided purchase and disposal costs for 42 participants.
Click here to see what is currently available in The Great Exchange!
Contact the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center to evaluate options for your company’s waste streams, outdated inventories, idle equipment, unwanted furniture, etc. The Results listed below demonstrate the broad range of items that can be repurposed. Also let us know if your organization could use items or materials that others may be looking for.
The Great Exchange Results for 2011:
Exchanges—100,000 lbs. (50 tons) of materials; Participants—37 entities
The Great Exchange Results for 2012:
Exchanges—124,000 lbs. (62 tons) of materials; Participants—50 entities
The Great Exchange Results for 2013:
Exchanges—143,880 lbs. (72 tons) of materials; Participants—50 entities
The Great Exchange Results for 2014:
Exchanges—75,000 lbs. (37 tons) of materials; Participants—42 entities