Contractor Call For Proposals : Upcycle Your Waste

2 Seas Interreg Project: Upcycle Your Waste

Transforming business waste flows into resources at local level

Delivering Pilots for Upcycling Waste Streams in SMEs Kent Area


The objective of Upcycle Your Waste (UYW) is to accelerate the adoption of circular business cases by SMEs that transform waste flows into resources at local level. We aim to achieve this by developing and introducing knowledge, tools and facilities that enable SMEs and local authorities to make this transition.

The introduction of circular business cases to transform company waste into resources is a key enabler for the transition to a circular economy. Circular measures like re-design of products and processes and green procurement bring EU companies economic benefits of 3–8% of annual turnover.

SMEs experience difficulties in adopting circular practices due to limited organisational, technical and financial capacity. Only 25% of SME waste is currently repurposed. There is growing demand from SMEs for:

• Knowledge of their waste streams and corresponding circular business cases
• Demonstrated solutions and tools to improve resource efficiency
• Better cooperation among companies to organise sufficient scale and develop processes to upcycle waste

Upcycling in the context of this project means transforming waste(d) materials, parts or materials into secondary resources as products, parts or materials of at least equal and preferably better technical, economical and societal quality, without burdening people and the environment with hazardous and harmful substances. This will, in turn add value and reduce the use of virgin materials in the process.

Previous research: Inventory of Barriers and Drivers for Upcycling in SMEs 

To involve as many SMEs as possible in the upcycling of waste, it is important to know which barriers they experience and what opportunities could look like in the future. We have now undertaken waste interviews with over 100 SMEs in Kent (600+ across the project area) with a view to target business areas to collect their waste data and suggest models for future pilots and waste tendering opportunities. In this case we have reached 100 SMEs within Kent and Medway and will now be focusing around the area of Canterbury as a first pilot phase.

Previous research: Audit of Waste Streams in SMEs

This work has delivered the insights which allow us to identify, select and implement upcycling solutions for the main waste streams of businesses located in the business districts targeted in our partner cities. Research showed a lack of understanding amongst entrepreneurs in Kent of the type, scale and quantity of waste separation and opportunities. Businesses were often unaware of where they can take their waste, who can take it and the high value their mixed waste and materials possess. An approach for the mixed waste and the materials groups is to focus on helping businesses to separate their waste by focussing on waste separation within the business as well as offering these companies an outlet for their reusable materials and products. A tendering procedure could help in reducing the costs and making waste separation more economically attractive for the businesses.

This paves the way for the delivery of pilots, demonstrating various business cases and solutions for upcycling of business waste in practice. A library of waste has been selected and will form the basis of waste tenders going forward, this could be displayed at a suitable location if it helps the process.

For all lots KCC will:

• Supply a template for reporting
• Support marketing to approach and gain buy in for the SMEs to create a high level of participation
• Supply marketing information and technical support where necessary
• Supply wider support to SMEs interested in further Low Carbon Kent initiatives
• Supply wider support through Upcycle Your Waste and other project activities


Scope of Works Lot 3 – Engagement & recruitment of SMEs with business support

Description of work:

We envisage that following the audits, a group may be formed to encourage collaborative working to procure the most favourable terms for upcycling materials by generating sufficient volume. The “matching session” may be the first meeting of interested parties who would be keen to support the area by improving resource sharing/tendering.

In addition to SME contacts provided by KCC, further recruitment of businesses will be required to take part in the pilots. SMEs will need to be able to access a library of waste to identify potential waste opportunities in their area. Throughout the pilots, SMEs will require a support system to tender effectively for resources, support on compliance and advice on overcoming barriers to upcycling their waste. All SMEs involved should be signposted to the UYW Academy to complete training courses on the circular economy and upcycling.

The Contractor will:
•Recruit businesses to participate in upcycling/circular waste pilot activities
• Facilitate an initial meeting along with project partners (KCC, Lot 4 and Lot 5) to share findings – the “matching session”
• Build a library of waste demonstration examples that interested parties could visit, discuss and link in with opportunities in their local area, either through waste availability or collection and reuse of materials
• Provide support to SMEs on compliance with regards to waste legislation (LA/BID level)
• Continued engagement with SMEs including providing advice and support to help them overcome barriers to upcycling
• Support capacity building and signpost to training for SMEs’ circular waste processing including directing businesses towards UYW Academy courses (and follow up of those completing)
• Support the development of local guidance for accelerating the adoption of circular business cases


Scope of Works Lot 4 – Upcycling waste SME networking events and communications

Description of work:

To encourage engagement and relationship building, networking events need to be organised, followed by ‘meet the buyer’ events with upcycling partners. Marketing and communication will be important throughout the course of the pilot activities, as will collaboration with Lot 3 providers in recruitment of SMEs and Lot 5 providers in creation of case studies.

The Contractor will:
•Total of six networking events during the pilot setup (Autumn/Winter 2022) actively targeting 100 SMEs with the aim to have a minimum of 25 SMEs actively engaged and participating in the pilot
• Meet-the-buyer event(s) with potential upcycling partners
• Information events on circular business cases and collective waste procurement
• Partner on local marketing and communications of the initiative for the period of the contract
• Work with Lot 5 provider(s) for co-creation of case studies showcasing successful upcycling solutions for a range of local waste streams


Scope of Works Lot 5 – Technical delivery of pilots

Description of work:

This contract is to coordinate and undertake the delivery of the pilots for the next 6-12 months. These pilots will run concurrently from late 2022 and be completed by end of March 2023.

The pilots focus on organising and supporting local SMEs to collectively procure and implement services for upcycling of their waste streams (waste as a resource) to replace existing non-circular practices (landfill, incineration, re-/down cycling). Participation in the pilots and all related activities will be free and open to all SMEs and other actors who wish to join, both at the start and during the pilot.

The solutions we expect to attract from the market are not ‘standard’ waste collection and treatment services. We aim and expect to generate innovative solutions from diverse suppliers with an upcycling perspective, mainly outside the ‘traditional’ waste management industry e.g. a company collecting all textile waste from an area to produce new fabrics. This means that our procurement will be designed with the opportunities for these innovative (smaller) enterprises in mind. It will also consider the likely scenario that multiple companies offer complimentary solutions for the various predominant waste streams in a pilot area.

These pilots will demonstrate how SMEs can be enabled to adopt circular business cases by building on collective analysis of waste streams, procurement and contracting of waste management services at the business area level. The county is home to businesses operating in many sectors which are strategically important to the local economy, as well as the wider regional economy.

The Project partners will run a joint monitoring and evaluation program to assess and improve the effectiveness of our approaches and capture lessons for their continued application in cities across the 2 Seas area. Localised “Business Resources Boards” may be a legacy of the project.

The Contractor will:

• Communicate with Lots 3 and 4 regarding SME information and progress
• Develop protocols (where relevant) for procurement of circular waste collection, treatment and upcycling
• Support in tendering processes (where relevant) to enable SMEs to successfully upcycle their waste
• Co-create (with KCC) and populate a platform/spreadsheet to record and store upcycling of waste
• Provide a specialist consultancy service to take forward business cases, work up feasibility studies and matching supply with demand across the region
• Develop further circular business cases for solutions (processes, products) on key waste streams
• Facilitate set up of selected solutions
• Facilitate interaction with participating SMEs
• Mobilise SMEs to bundle waste streams and jointly move towards upcycling initiatives/collaborations
• Undertake consultation with SMEs and develop a set of performance KPIs to measure contractor performance and monitor % waste upcycling throughout the pilots
• Report on upcycling pilots
• Support KCC in exploring a suitable legacy for the project’s circular economy ideals which may include localised Business Resources Boards

Proposed Timescales (subject to revision)
• Expressions of interest and/or questions to be submitted by – 19th August 2022
• Submission of proposals deadline – 23rd August 2022
• Review submissions – 24th August 2022
• Interviews – w/c 30th August 2022
• Contract offer – 2nd September 2022
• Project start – 2nd September 2022
• Project end – 17th March 2023

Terms and Conditions
Though the value of this contract being under the OJEU threshold, all contract management terms and conditions will still be subject to all the relevant KCC procurement policies and stringent contract management by the appointed contract manager. This includes strict adherence to GDPR and Privacy Statement.

Next Steps
If interested in delivery of this engagement work please do respond by e-mailing or calling 03000 411531 / or calling 03000 418016 as per the timescale outlined above.