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Our Research & Development team are continuously looking for ways to improve our carbon management and discover innovative new markets for our recycled materials. The distances involved in transporting re-processed materials to their final destination are key factors to be considered. To minimise the carbon footprint we give preference to local markets for products that have been processed at our MRFs and supply chain of specialist recycling partners. To some extent we are at the mercy of market forces and there has been a trend in recent years to export re-processed material to the Far East and especially China, where there is huge demand for recycled materials that can be used as feedstock in the manufacturing process. However, we have been able to buck that trend recently by locating UK markets for metals, plastic shred and recycled cardboard which greatly reduce the overall energy expended.

Our R&D team works very closely with sustainability agencies such as WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and NISP (National Industrial Symbiosis Programme) to find local markets for our re-processed materials.

As well as minimising the number and length of journeys to transport materials we have also been able to make incremental savings to the amount of fuel consumed making these vehicle movements. Over the last 18 months we have been gradually replacing our fleet of skip, rolonof and grab lorries with new energy-efficient vehicles.

These new vehicles also now come with state-of-the-art, on-board, active

Building & Facilities Management – November 2011

transport management systems which record various data about the journey that enables us to monitor the driving behaviour of our

operatives and its effect on fuel consumption. This intelligent software allows us to identify areas where the driving style of individual staff is having a negative effect on energy use such as accelerating/decelerating too quickly, speeding,

high rev gear shifts and extended idling times.

Our Environmental Manager is able to detect those drivers that require additional instruction and has started to roll-out an internal programme of eco-driving training which, if implemented correctly, could cut the fuel required of an average journey by up to 20 per cent.

All of these initiatives only generate incremental savings to consumption but cumulatively they are having a significant impact on transport costs, which can be passed on to our customers, as well as our total emissions of greenhouse gases. We are in the process of refining the way we quantify our energy use and resultant carbon emissions.

As part of the continuous improvement ethos of ISO 14001 we are in the process of gathering data about energy consumption throughout the organisation. Creating an accurate baseline figure will enable us to better identify areas where significant improvements can be made to

further cut our emissions of greenhouse gases and make the recycling process more sustainable. This initiative will also, we anticipate, result in certification against the new energy management standard ISO 50001 – another sustainable objective for 2012.

Those of us in the recycling industry already have a fundamental role to play in improving the environmental performance of the clients and communities we serve. As recycling rates start to approach 100 per cent we must therefore turn our attention to other environmental aspects to increase our environmental performance. In getting our own house in order by introducing carbon efficiency into our operating methods we not only reduce costs, consumption and pollution but gain vital knowledge and experience that we can share to cross fertilise best practice throughout the industry. Email: Tel: 020 8985 5000

feature :: waste management & recycling 13

Waste Management & Recycling

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