Recycling at work.

Our Green Team started off with a brainstorming activity to identify areas where we thought improvements could be made.  From this we decided that the most obvious area to look at first was recycling as there were no facilities at the moment (apart from a skip for cardboard and recycling of cling wrap) with all other waste being sent to landfill.  It also seemed one of the easiest to tackle as recycling has been a high priority for a number of years in Daventry, with the council providing excellent facilities and being the first in the country to meet government targets for household recycling.  Unfortunately, they do not seem at all interested in helping businesses in the area to recycle.

How have we done so far?

Two of the team spent a lot of time trying to find someone to take away our recycling.  Some were not very helpful, a couple were more interested in the confidential shredded waste which is controlled from head office and therefore we had no authority to change, and some were just too expensive.

We have provided bins for the collection of bottles, cans and plastic which are then put in a particular skip provided by local Company, Cawleys and, at the same time changed our supplier of the cardboard skip to Cawleys, which saved enough money to provide the recycling facilities.   Although there were some complaints initially that, heaven forbid, people are being asked to wash out their containers, and empty an extra couple of bins, it has in the main been well received.

We have also removed a larger skip from site which was originally rented in order to get rid of some particular waste some years ago and which now seemed to have a few broken pallets and bits of metal put in.  The pallets are being taken away for free by a local company (we may be able to find someone to pay for them at some point, but this is not a priority) and we have had the skip removed which, at a conservative estimate has saved us £1500 a year.

In addition to this, we have found a local company that will take away some perspex chips that we use as part of our business (saving about 5kg of plastic going to landfill every month) and other sundry items that they sell on to schools and playgroups for craft purposes.  The envelopes that were thrown away with the perspex are reused up to four times eah and we have even had other sites bring their perspex to us so we can send it for reuse.  Although this last part makes only a small difference, I think it has raised awareness at other sites of what we are trying to do.

In addition to this, the search for someone to recycle has allowed us to get a cheaper quote for the rest of the general waste that will save us a further £750 per year.

So, what more can we do.  I think we need to look at providing more facilities for general paper and newspapers, as well as for some of the less obvious things such as batteries.  I am also planning to invest in a cardboard baler which will bring down the collection price of the cardboard and then look to try and sell or get a better price for some items such as wooden pallets and cling wrap (although the price of recycled materials has dropped dramatically in recent months following the collapse of the oil price).  We also have intermittent pallets of waste that can be recycled, so my next task is to find a way to advertise some of these internally and see if they are needed at any other site.

Has anyone out there had any successes or failures recycling at work?

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