Envirotec

World of Books and Viridor clean up at National Recycling Awards

World of Books and its recycling partnership with Viridor fought off strong competition to be named ‘Retail/Service Sector Recycler of the Year’ at the National Recycling Awards on 6 July. Kyran Bracken, England rugby legend and Strictly Come Dancing winner hosted this year’s awards.

Judges were impressed with the principles behind World of Books business, which makes a positive contribution to the environment, operating entirely in keeping with the waste hierarchy – prioritising reuse, recycling anything that cannot be used again and preventing disposal.

Based in Goring, West Sussex, World of Books sells used books to millions of customers worldwide each year. The company purchases surplus books in bulk from charities and uses an advanced inventory management system to match good quality used books with people who are looking for them. In total they recover and organise the reuse of around 26,000 tonnes of used books every year. They reuse books that would otherwise have been left unused in charity shops and ultimately sent to landfill. Since the company began operating in 2006, between £8 and £10 million has been generated for UK charities from the initiative.

Around 25% of the books received by World of Books are in a good enough condition for reuse and are listed online, whilst the remainder are recycled into cardboard and packaging. Viridor is proud to work with World of Books, providing a comprehensive recycling service for any books that cannot be reused. Over the past 10 years the company has seen its inventory grow from 1,000 books to over 2 million in stock, making them the largest seller of used books in the UK and leading to their recognition in the well-respected Sunday Times Fast Track 100.

The National Recycling Awards’ judging panel, said: “World of Books is the epitome of innovative and entrepreneurial drive. All waste materials are recycled and there is a strong drive to improve social, environmental and educational goals.”

Herman van der Meij, managing director of Viridor resource management, said: “Viridor is delighted to work in partnership with World of Books to provide a valuable recycling service to complement their impressive reuse efforts. World of Books is a fantastic example of the circular economy in action, giving new life to millions of books, and we are thrilled that their efforts have been recognised at these major sustainability awards.”

Stephen Boobyer, managing director of Word of Books added: “Being named ‘Retail/Service Sector Recycler of the Year’ is a great achievement and it is a testament to the work that our employees and partners are doing. When we first began operating, our aim was to ensure that the charities we work with benefited and that no books would be sent to landfill. Our partnership with Viridor allows us to do this and we look forward to a continuing relationship.”

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