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SMEs walk First Mile to greener businesses

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The London-based company, First Mile, offers an easy way for smaller businesses to get rid of their conked-out photocopiers, frazzled fax machines and the bulky old PCs and printers that are taking up precious office space. And it’s not very different from the way paper and plastic is recycled.

“Our clients are very surprised when they find out recycling their WEEE [waste electrical and electronic equipment] is as easy as sticking it all in a sack,” Bratley says. “But when they see how strong and sturdy the sacks are, it makes sense.”

Customers order heavy-duty recycling sacks from First Mile that can hold up to 25 kilograms of waste equipment. Once the junk has been bagged up, First Mile collects the sacks from the client’s offices at a convenient time, and recycles what’s inside.

“We came up with the idea last September, when we found a lot of our clients, mostly SMEs, were asking us for an easy, legal way to get rid of electrical and electronic equipment and batteries,” Bratley says.

First Mile received a £95,000 grant from Enhance, which supports green enterprises in London, late last year to help get the initiative off the ground. News of the quick and easy WEEE removal service is spreading fast with around 200 businesses using the service today.

But Brately says there’s a lot of work to be done preaching the recycling gospel to SMEs in the UK.

“It’s difficult to get SMEs recycling because there aren’t many accessible, easy solutions available. Our mission is to offer them a simple, low-cost service and get every SME in London recycling by the Olympics. We’re very ambitious, but it can be done.”

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