Environmental and Economic Benefits of Re-use

16th January 2017

A methodology and associated tool for quantifying the potential impact of re-use, including greenhouse gas emissions, job opportunities or financial impacts. 

Key points:
Increasing re-use could reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by an average 4 million tonnes CO2 eq per year between now and 2020
Using this methodology WRAP estimates that UK households save around £1 billion per year and avoid 1 million tonnes CO2 eq per year from current levels of re-use

Overview

Overview

In 2009, WRAP published Meeting the UK Climate Challenge: The Contribution of Resource Efficiency. This found that increasing re-use could reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by an average 4 million tonnes CO2 eq per year between now and 2020.

In order to better understand the impact of re-using particular items, WRAP have developed a methodology, and tool for quantifying the current and potential future benefits of increasing re-use. These are available for anyone to use in trying to understand the potential impact of re-use, including greenhouse gas emissions, jobs or financial impacts.

This can be applied to a range of products using an accompanying excel-based tool to provide a consistent means of assessing the impacts of different activities. The tool allows the calculation of three environmental indicators:

  1. greenhouse gas emissions
  2. energy demand and
  3. resource depletion

And two economic indicators:

  1. number of jobs and
  2. financial impacts, as well as where these occur in the supply chain.

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Case studies

WRAP developed a number of case studies using this methodology and tool. From these case studies we estimated that UK households save around £1 billion per year and avoid 1 million tonnes CO2 eq per year from current levels of re-use.

The case studies opposite highlight opportunities for increasing re-use and the environmental and economic benefits associated with this.

Using the chapters below, you can find the case studies related to this methodology and tool: 

Clothing re-use case study

Using this methodology and calculation tool, WRAP has developed a case study looking at potential impacts of t-shirt and woollen jumper re-use.

To find out more, please use the links below:

T-shirts >>
Wollen jumpers >>
References >>

Download clothing case study >>

Domestic furniture re-use case study

Using this methodology and calculation tool, WRAP has developed a case study looking at potential impacts of sofa and dining table re-use.

To find out more, please use the links below:

Sofas >>
Dining tables >>
References >>

Download domestic furniture case study >>

Office furniture re-use case study

Using this methodology and calculation tool, WRAP has developed a case study looking at potential impacts of office desks and chair re-use.

To find out more, please use the links below:

Office desks  >>
Office chairs >>
References >>

Download office furniture case study >>

Electricals re-use case study

Using this methodology and calculation tool, WRAP has developed a case study looking at potential impacts of washing machine and television re-use.

To find out more, please use the links below:

Washing machines >>
Televisions >>

Download electricals case study >>

Where next?

Want to know more about re-use in collections and sorting? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

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Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>