Founded in 2010 with the support of Cork County and City Council, SMILE (Saving Money through Industry Links and Exchanges) Resource Exchange is Ireland’s National Program for industrial synergies1. The program aims at assisting companies in reusing unwanted materials to minimize the waste going to landfill2. After six years, the program now has about 1’400 members, completed over 300 successful synergies and diverted 8’000 tons of material from landfill. These transactions have translated into € 2.1 million Euros of cost saved for businesses3.
In 2016, the platform was awarded with the Pakman Award, rewarding “excellence in waste management and recycling among businesses, organizations, community groups and individuals in Ireland”4.
When synergies are identified through the free online platform (www.smileexchange.ie), members can now take advantage of technical support in completing the transaction. Delivered by consultants based in each of the three (Connacht-ulster, Eastern-midlands and Southern)5. waste regions across the country, this service facilitates the exchange by providing materials reprocessing expertise. The lack of technical know-how and time are two of the factors that hinder company engagement in byproduct exchange.
In collaboration with the consultants, businesses are then able to better understand their waste stream and identify potential synergies, either to find or sell secondary materials6. Indeed, consultants visit companies and provide them with personalized feedback regarding their exchange opportunities. The support team also facilitates the negotiations between parties to help them overcome the challenges usually encountered when trading secondary materials (see our Challenges page). Additionally, the program organizes networking events, giving companies the opportunity to meet and find other potential partners and synergies7.
Thanks to SMILE Resource Exchange, companies can acquire secondary materials at competitive prices. Often, businesses save costs associated with landfilling too8.