SMILE Resource Exchange Welcomes 500th Member

SMILE Resource Exchange Welcomes 500th Member

02 March 2012

SMILE Resource Exchange reached a significant milestone by welcoming its 500th member to the initiative for businesses that encourages the exchanging of resources between its members in order to save money, reduce waste going to landfill and to develop new business opportunities - based on the concept that "one person's waste could be another's resource". Adhesives Research Ireland, the milestone member was welcomed at an innovative business networking event at Castlemartyr Resort, Cork, which was attended by over 50 businesses from a huge variety of sectors in the Cork region and further afield, all with the common purpose of forming alliances that will see their businesses help the environment and save them money.

Speaking at the event Ger Harte of Adhesives Research Ireland said "As developers and manufacturers of high-performance pressure-sensitive adhesives, tapes, specialty coatings, films, and laminates, we at Adhesives Research had been looking at alternatives to sending our unused PET liner on rolls to landfill. Upon visiting the SMILE Resource Exchange website we realised there was potential for us to make engages with other businesses, providing them with a product that was no longer of use to us but that they could use to benefit their business in some way, and so we decided to come along today and find out how. We are delighted to be the 500th business sign up.  It's so positive that, in less than two years, SMILE has developed to a stage where it now has 500 members, the majority of which have made exchanges in some capacity and seen direct benefits to their business - so many satisfied members can't be wrong!"

SMILE (Saving Money through Industry Links and Exchanges) Resource Exchange was piloted in Cork in 2010, and since then has gone from strength to strength, including expansion into Kerry, Limerick and Clare regions in 2011. While SMILE aims to save businesses money, it also helps to identify economic opportunities out of turning a waste into a resource. At the latest event, there were a number of businesses in attendance who make products out of waste items and who were looking for inspiration and ideas, as well as acccess to businesses with resources that they can use and in these cases, SMILE is the connector, helping them gain access to such businesses.

In attendance was James Carroll of, who creates hand crafted furniture pieces from his workshop in the Wicklow mountains. Speaking at the event he said "I have an intuitive instinct for seeing the potential beauty in items and materials often discarded or passed over by others. At the moment mostly create one-off pieces of furniture, but by teaming up with other businesses to form partnerships through SMILE I hope to be able to extend my work and create collections on a bigger scale."

Courtney Tyler of Mayfly Curiousities & Accoutrements Gift Shop works with 15 other designers in their Temple Bar shop. She said "I'm here today to see what items other companies are offering that we could use in our jewellery designs. For example, one of my colleagues designs jewellery using discarded bicycle parts, and when we heard that Rothar Cycles were attending today's event we knew there was potential matches to be made. In making the exchanges through SMILE, we hope to save money but more importantly for us, we're recognising the importance of recycling and contributing towards the environment - in essence safeguarding our environment for the future!"

Giving an international perspective to the event was special guest, Liam McNally, a practitioner from International Synergies, an organisation involved in delivering the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) in Northern Ireland, a well-established programme which is very similar to SMILE Resource Exchange. NISP takes the industrial symbiosis approach to bring companies together from every industry sector with the aim of improving cross industry resource productivity and ultimately the commercial performance of the businesses involved, regardless of size, turnover or sector. 

At the event Liam highlighted how important industrial symbiosis is and how it can be achieved through programmes like SMILE. As well as this, Liam shared some interesting facts and figures on his initiative's successes to date, for example between April 2005 and December 2009 NISP's 13,000 business members collectively reduced the amount of waste they sent to landfill by 6.3 million tonnes and cut carbon emissions by another 5.9 million tonnes.  NISP has also saved its members £145 million across the board by cutting costs on disposal, storage, transport and purchasing.  All this combined shows the potential for the SMILE Resource Exchange initiative in Ireland.

Speaking at the event, Liam said "Similar to SMILE Resource Exchange, in the past, NISP has been described as a waste programme, a resource efficiency programme and a carbon reduction programme.  The reality is that it is none and all of the above.  It is a business opportunity programme that efficiently and cost effectively delivers on the full sustainability agenda through industrial symbiosis - companies cooperating commercially to optimise their use of resources."

SMILE Resource Exchange is project managed by Macroom E and is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Cork County and City Enterprise Boards; and Cork County and City Councils; as well as Limerick/Clare/Kerry Regional Waste Management Office; Limerick County and City Enterprise Boards; Clare County Enterprise Board; and Kerry County Enterprise Board in the other regions it is active in.

For further information on SMILE Resource Exchange visit or call (026) 20520.