It will outweigh fish by 2050. Every second, 20,000 bottles made of it are sold globally. Most families throw away 40kg of it per year – 40kg that could be recycled.
Last month the government took another step in the fight back against plastic, giving the green light to a deposit return scheme in England. The scheme, which is already in operation in 30 countries, gives a small amount of money to people who return bottles or cans. In Germany, where the scheme has long been in operation, 99% of plastic bottles are recycled. Compare that to the paltry 43% rate in the UK and the scheme is a no-brainer.
At Perseverance Works we are committed to playing our part in protecting the environment. In December, Paul paid a visit to our recycling firm Paper Round to see what happens to our waste once it leaves the site with sustainability consultant James Robb. “We saw first-hand the Paper Round ‘MRF’ in action, sorting the recyclable waste and compacting it into bales for reprocessing into useful raw materials – glass, metals, plastics, paper and food,” said James. “We also saw a lot of contaminated recyclables being sent for incineration…. hopefully we can reduce this quantity in 2018!” he added.
Following on from this visit, and conversations with James and Fred from Paper Round, we invited all shareholders to a small conference to discuss new recycling strategies.
James reviewed our total waste figures over the years, and focused in on a recent three-month period. On average, we have 12 waste lorries visiting the site each week, collecting general waste, mixed recycling and food waste.
We recycled around 38% of our waste last year, but we want to grow that figure to 65-70%.
As we can see from James’s recycling stats, the amount of glass and food waste we are recycling is improving, but mixed recyclables have dropped. The amount of general waste has also increased, suggesting that lots of recycling is ending up in the waste bins.
Closing the loop
Fred, sustainability manager at Paper Round, explained the recycling process. Paper Round operates a clean recycling facility, meaning waste must arrive separated. Most recycling is done on site, but because the company aims to close the loop on waste some is sent elsewhere. Paper waste, for example, is sent to France to be recycled, and returns to Paper Round as brand new paper within six weeks. Food waste is sent to Biogen, who use household waste to generate renewable energy. And as an extra incentive to help us fill our food waste bins, Paper Round donates a meal to Fareshare for every bin they collect from us.
Sadly, not everything can be recycled. Crisp packets and polystyrene, for example, are sent to a local plant for incineration, but even that waste generates energy to power local homes!
Tips to improve recycling in your studio from sustainability consultant James.
- Abolish under-desk bins! Centralised, differentiated bins encourage best recycling behaviour. Without the temptation to chuck everything in a bin beneath your desk, you’ll be forced to think about the rubbish in your hand and how to best dispose of it. Ask Paul if you’d like help making your signage even clearer by your centralised bins.
- Talk about recycling! Track your recycling in your studio and share improvement stats with your team.
- Get colour-coding. Make sure you have the correct coloured bags for each bin. Brown bins have brown bags, blue bags live in blue bins… Simple!
At PW, we are paying more but recycling less. We need to improve our approach to recycling, for the good of the planet and our wallets. To find out more about our new approach to recycling, check out our video below. It’s 11 minutes long, so grab a coffee (in a recyclable cup, of course!) and find out what part you can play in improving recycling on site.