Recycling Lives has been one of several local businesses who recently hosted participants on the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci Programme, which funds projects in the field of vocational education and training.
Marta Jakóbek and Beata Zmarzly arrived at Recycling Lives at the beginning of March and were provided with a busy schedule of informative meetings, training sessions, presentations and research opportunities during the two weeks they spent with the company.
Marta works as a consultant, connecting with businesses and organisations in and around Krakow in a bid to improve environmental awareness and encourage the implementation of environmentally responsible services, while Beata owns and operates a photocopy lease hire and repair centre. Both women got involved with the Leonardo Da Vinci programme in order to gain a better understanding of best practice in the UK environmental services industry, and, ultimately, to drive change within the Polish environmental services sector.
The first week comprised an introduction to Recycling Lives’ activities and an informal exchange of information about the UK and Polish waste management sectors. Marta and Beata were treated to a full tour of Recycling Lives’ facilities and given an introduction to the company’s operational activities, complete with Health and Safety training.
They were also given an insight into the structure of Recycling Lives, an organisation comprising both a limited company and a registered charity, enabling them to better understand how the charity is fully sustained by Recycling Lives’ commercial activities. Finally, they were offered training on social value assessments and were able to conduct interviews with Recycling Lives’ current Residents, enabling them to complete an assessment of their own as part of a case study.
In the second week of the visit, Marta and Beata were invited to take a tour of household waste recycler, Global Renewables’, facility at Farringdon Waste Recovery Park. They also participated in Liverpool Hope University’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress, where speakers covered the topics of ethical business and sustainable growth through good business practice. The week also included a visit to Exsel CIC, where the participants were able to understand the reuse and recycling activities within a small social enterprise.
With a long-standing commitment to developing relationships with organisations in Poland and throughout Europe, Recycling Lives was pleased to be able to take part in the exchange programme, which offered valuable insights into developing trends in the recycling and waste management sector in Poland.
The organisation was also able to communicate the benefits of a recycling agenda within a commercial context to both Marta and Beata, and demonstrate the possibility of combining commercial viability with a strong corporate social responsibility message. By undertaking training in social value assessments and visiting the Recycling Lives charity, the participants now have a full understanding of how collaborations with accredited training providers can help organisations to assist ‘hard to reach’ members of the community.
seeing how the lives of the charity residents are benefittingAs Recycling Lives intends to continue the expansion of both its operations and its combined commercial and charity model throughout the UK and on an international level, the visit has provided an invaluable opportunity to assess its structure and activities against the background of contemporary Polish business, with positive outcomes.
The company has enjoyed playing host to Beata and Marta, who both achieved a ‘very good’ result for their placements, and wishes them all the best in the future.