Home Improvement Sector Commitment surpasses its grand design

27th August 2013

The Home Improvement Sector Commitment (HISC) has smashed its original targets of reducing both waste to landfill and packaging in the DIY sector, delivering impressive results at the programme’s end.

Today WRAP shows that signatories delivered an impressive 83% reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill, against a target of 50%. Furthermore, signatories exceeded the packaging-reduction target of 15%, managing to reduce packaging by an impressive 25% against the same 2007* baseline. The four year voluntary agreement set up by WRAP ran from 2009 to 2012.

The percentage savings represent the following tonnes:

 TargetAchievement at end of 2012
Waste to landfill

50% reduction from company operations.

2007 = 108,908 tonnes

87% reduction in tonnes of waste to landfill. 83% reduction when adjusted for sales.

2012 = 14,610 tonnes

Packaging reduction

15% reduction in own-brand and direct-sourced product packaging.

2007 = 113,627 tonnes

34% reduction in tonnes of packaging used. 25% reduction when adjusted for sales.

2012 = 74,632 tonnes

Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s Chief Executive said of the announcement “The results delivered by the DIY sector are deeply impressive. I congratulate all the signatories on their achievements in what has been a testing time for the sector.

“Overall, the activities of all signatories have improved product and packaging design that make recycling easier. There is now clearer recycling guidance for suppliers and consumers, particularly with the greater use of the On-Pack Recycling Label in store.”

The Home Improvement Sector Commitment brought together key sector retailers, brands and manufacturers. Its members represent almost half of the UK’s home improvement retail sales with signatories including AkzoNobel UK Decorative Paints, Argos, B&Q, Crown Paints, Henkel, Homebase, and Wickes.

Defra Environment Minister David Heath said:“Cutting waste is not only good for the environment but can help businesses save money and boost economic growth. It’s fantastic to see DIY businesses working together to cut waste and unnecessary packaging and exceeding the challenging targets set in this agreement.”

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I commend the signatories for showing real commitment by surpassing the targets of this important voluntary agreement.  As these companies have demonstrated, finding ways to use resources more efficiently makes economic sense as well as delivering environmental benefits.”

The Welsh Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, said: "I am very impressed by these results which show that the DIY sector is playing its part in reducing the environmental impacts of their products and congratulate the signatories for surpassing their targets.

"It is vitally important that we continue to reduce the amount of waste we produce. I encourage Welsh retailers and manufacturers to learn from this initiative, which not only have environmental benefits, but can also result in real cost savings."

Examples of some of the successful initiatives introduced by signatories over the lifetime of HISC:

  • B&Q introduced its award-winning re-usable packaging system for home delivery of kitchen worktops and components. This cut packaging and reduced the risk of damage to products in transit, delivering £1 million plus costs savings per annum. The packaging has helped consumers by removing bulky cardboard packaging that would normally remain after delivery. The company has committed to 100% recyclable packaging and made progress on eliminating expanded polystyrene from their products’ packaging. By optimising bathroom accessory and kitchen tap packaging designs, and introducing smaller pack sizes, B&Q has reduced cardboard usage and saved materials, freight and handling costs.
  • Henkel manufacturers of Loctite, Sellotape, Solvite, Nitromors, UniBond, No More Nails and Pritt, have engineered both primary and secondary packaging to minimize the use of packaging materials and to reduce waste to landfill. Packaging specifications in their PVA and Adhesives product lines have been optimized, reducing their packaging variants from eight to three. Cartons have been replaced by simple board and shrink wrap. In addition, for some large format products, secondary packaging has been eliminated altogether by introducing new techniques and supplying products in singles. These measures have significantly reduced the packaging materials Henkel use - secondary packaging weight reductions ranging from 47 to 100% across different lines have been achieved thus ensuring less energy and natural material resources are used.
  • Home Retail Group (Argos & Homebase) has introduced new transit and retail packaging for paint preparation products including brushes, rollers and trays and a packaging take-back scheme for home deliveries of bulky kitchen appliances, and take-back of old appliances for recycling. Argos also encouraged customers to donate unwanted toys via their shops, by offering discount vouchers, with the collected toys being re-used by the children’s charity Barnardo’s.
  • Wickes introduced a new stronger and thinner polymer blend for its bagged aggregates thereby reducing material and delivering costs. It has implemented comprehensive segregation of waste at the back of stores and introduced ‘back-hauling’ of waste from these stores to distribution centres for consolidation and recycling.
  • Crown Paints introduced a paint pot take-back scheme at all its Crown Decorator Centre Stores, and trialled bulk delivery and dispensing of paint. The company worked with Centrol Recycling Group to improve its environmental footprint by diverting all of the waste that previously went to landfill resulting in the company achieving its first full year of Zero Waste to Landfill.
  • AkzoNobel UK Decorative Paints has increased the recyclable content of its polypropylene paint pots - up to 25% of the plastic can now be re-used in new paint pots. Dulux trialled its eco-pack which has 70% less packaging than a standard 2.5 litre can. Dulux Decorator Centres have operated a paint pot take-back service for 3 years. Dulux has sponsored Community RePaint for over 20 years and, in the last 3 years alone, has re-distributed over 650,000 litres of leftover and unwanted paint, preventing it from ending up in landfill or going to incineration.

With the HISC agreement complete, WRAP will continue to work with a range of retailers, brands and manufacturers, including HISC signatories, to reduce the environmental impacts of key home and workplace products.

  • WRAP is working with major electrical product retailers and brands within its Electrical Product Pathfinder Group to identify actions to reduce the impact of electrical products such as extending product lifetimes and considering resource efficient new business models. WRAP recently secured Life+ funding to extend this work in its REBus project.
  • WRAP published a document outlining its findings on Opportunites to Reduce the Impact of Home Products Throughout their lifecycle. This reference material covers home products such as furniture, kitchens and flooring and has been produced for use by the sector. 
  • In July WRAP announced that the leading bathroom fitting retailers and plumbers’ merchants had committed to using the Water Label on their products to give comparative water efficiency information on all showers, taps, toilets and baths.  

Notes to Editors

  • *2007 was selected as the baseline year for HISC as this was when WRAP brought together and facilitated a working group of home improvement retailers on behalf of UK governments. The group met in 2007 and 2008 before announcing the Home Improvement Sector Commitment in 2009.  Whilst the agreement was being developed, WRAP also provided support to the sector to identify, pilot and implement opportunities for packaging reduction.
  • Following the completion of HISC those involved; Defra, the Scottish and Welsh governments; signatories and WRAP have agreed that it was not a priority to set additional targets on the same themes. Signatories have agreed to continue to take action and monitor trends in packaging and waste arising for another year and report these to WRAP to give further insight into changes in the amount of packaging and waste arising.
  • For more information and case studies visit Home Improvement Sector Commitment, case studies.
  • WRAP’s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. Working in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency.
  • Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk

Paul Saville

PR Manager
01295 819638

Ian Palmer

PR Officer, WRAP
01295 819 677