New features and event zones for RWM 2017

Bigger, better and more collaborative, the UK’s premier event dedicated to Energy, Water, Recycling, Renewables and Waste Management is relaunched

The expanded RWM 2017 event, run in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), will boast a host of new and revamped features, including new dedicated Event Zones, the RWM Connects meetings service, new Visitor Discovery Trails, and the CIWM Clinic.

Bringing together decision-makers and innovators from the Energy, Water, Recycling, Renewables and Waste Management communities, RWM 2017 takes place from 12 to 14 September at the NEC Birmingham. This year combines the previously co-located Energy, Water, Renewables and RWM events – an expansion that reflects the merging and overlapping business opportunities in these sectors.

Dedicated zones

RWM 2017 will feature six dedicated zones, including two new zones: Supply & Demand; which is the home for networking, learning and business opportunities in the UK energy and water markets; and Data, Tech & Services, which covers smart, practical software solutions to modern and future logistical challenges, with a focus on quality data and supporting services.

New exhibitors already signed up for the Data, Tech & Services zone include BeNomad, while Increase Computers is returning to the 2017 event. New exhibitors for the Supply & Demand zone include Phoenix Contact, with returning exhibitors from the Energy Show including Source for Business.

The Energy from Waste zone will showcase one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic sectors in waste management. New exhibitors for this zone include China Tianying, while returning exhibitors include Babcock & Wilcox Vølund. In the Handling & Logistics zone, innovations in the transportation of commercial or construction waste will be highlighted, with new exhibitors including E Power Trucks, and returning exhibitors including Dennis Eagle. This zone will also host a new theatre seminar for Municipal and Material recovery.

The Machinery & Equipment zone, meanwhile, will display the latest technology in the shredding, sorting and compacting of material, boasting new exhibitor A & C Weber, and returning exhibitors including Eriez.

Finally, the Recyclers & Reprocessors zone will showcase all things connected with the environmental and financial benefits of converting waste into new materials, with new exhibitors including Tomra Sorting, and returning exhibitors including AMCS.

Visitor trails

The new-look RWM 2017 will also offer four visitor discovery trails identifying key exhibitors for audiences looking for a specific service, or a more organised experience. For instance, visitors can navigate the exhibition by exploring the Energy Solutions trail, designed for visitors looking for energy suppliers, energy efficiency, and energy technology; or the Water Marketplace trail, which guides visitors looking for water suppliers and management services.

The Local Authority Solutions trail has been designed to highlight all exhibitors and content relevant to those responsible for waste management and resource, legislative issues and fleet management; while the Exhibitor Discovery trail will allow visitors to discover the latest exhibitors and suppliers that have joined the RWM community.

Event features

As well as a return of the outside area at the 2017 show, key features at RWM include RWM Connects, a complimentary matchmaking service hosted in the Recyclers & Reprocessors zone allowing exhibitors and visitors to use our database to arrange meetings prior to the show. Meetings can be on exhibitor stands or at the RWM Connects Lounge, and the RWM Connects team can also help facilitate introductions with new business partners if desired.

Meanwhile, the CIWM Resource and Waste Clinic will see industry experts on-hand over the course of the show offering advice and insight. Visitors can book to have a one-to-one chat with one or more experts, who collectively offer wide and in-depth knowledge on a range of resource and waste management subjects, and are mainly CIWM Fellows. Booking isn’t essential, and CIWM staff will be on-hand to direct ad-hoc meeting requests at the show to the most suitable experts.

An unmissable event

Nicola MeadowsRWM event director, Ascential, said, “We are dedicated to creating an unmissable expanded RWM 2017 – an exhibition designed to allow visitors and exhibitors to capitalise on crossover, integration and collaboration opportunities, and really make the most out of their time.

“The umbrella concept is our One Planet Living mission, which champions the better management and supply of the world’s resources in an increasingly interconnected world. I encourage anyone who hasn’t visited the show before to join our community and become part of our movement to build a resource-efficient future.”

For more information about RWM 2017 please visit:

Details of the numerous hot topics and key policy areas to be debated at RWM 2017’s seminar theatre sessions are coming soon.


Lamp recycling should be free

Recolight still come across many FM companies that are being charged for their waste lamp recycling.  All too often, they are not aware that under the WEEE regulations, they should be able to access a free recycling service, funded by lamp producers.

WEEE compliance & recycling explained

The WEEE regulations were introduced to the UK 10 years ago to make producers take responsibility for recycling electronic equipment at the end of its life. This concept is referred to as Extended Producer Responsibility.

In the UK there are around 35 WEEE compliance schemes all operating different business models. Recolight’s operating model is unique for WEEE lighting. Recolight scheme members pay a small fee to Recolight for each lighting unit they place on the UK market.  Funds received are used to provide a free lamp collection and recycling service.

The Recolight free lamp recycling service

The Recolight lamp collection service includes free collection, recycling, and consignment notes. For quantities over 1000 lamps each quarter, Recolight also provide a free container. If you collect less than 1000 lamps each quarter, a container lease option is available, but collection, recycling and consignment notes are still free.

For smaller quantities, Recolight has established a network of drop off points located at Electrical Wholesalers across the UK. Search the map found on the homepage of the Recolight website.


Putting Furniture Poverty to Bed

Nick Oettinger, managing director at R&R Beds, comments on the rise of furniture poverty in the UK and how recycling schemes can help families in need of basic household furniture.

Getting home at the end of a long day and getting into bed for a well-earned rest – just one of the everyday activities not always possible for the 14 million UK families unable to afford one or more basic household goods like beds and mattresses.

This inability to purchase even the most basic of household items is known as furniture poverty; less conspicuous than fuel or food poverty but just as detrimental to everything from an individual’s sense of dignity to the ability to get a good night’s sleep.

The number of UK households struggling to cope with these poor living conditions has more than doubled over the last 20 years, with more and more families now living without basic amenities like washing machines, kettles, curtains, mattresses, beds and chairs.

The lack of ability to afford these basic items can have dire consequences for an individual’s quality of life and can even perpetuate the poverty in which they live.

Imagine, then, the difference that could be made to families living in relative poverty across the UK, if they could simply have access to a good quality mattress and get the restorative sleep that can make all the difference to their quality of life.

Due to budget restrictions, social housing organisations are simply not able to source and provide mattresses of a suitable quality in order to facilitate a good night’s sleep for people living in social housing.

R&R Beds, a Blackburn-based mattress manufacturer, is stepping in to offer its support through supplying local authorities, social housing groups, private landlords, charity groups and re-use organisations with high-quality mattresses.

R&R beds is currently working on projects with local recyclers, charities and public sector organisations to ensure everybody has access to a comfortable, durable mattress at home.  By making sure that old and unwanted mattresses aren’t simply thrown away, but recycled and the reusable parts made into brand new, superior quality products, we can ensure these are distributed to families who really need them.

One such project involves furniture reuse charity, Reuse Together, also based in Blackburn. With the aim of bringing a furniture recycling initiative to the region, the project contributes to the circular economy model, diverts products from landfill and offers cost-effective pre-used furniture items to families in need.

Reuse Together receives and recycles quality furniture, white goods, carpet tiles and other household items that would otherwise be disposed of, then offers them at affordable prices. From its head quarters in Glenfield Park, the company works with Together Housing Trust and Twin Valley Homes to identify those in need of furniture, and the appropriate re-usable items, diverting them from landfill, bringing both environmental and financial benefits.

A good day will only follow from a good night’s sleep and we believe excellent quality mattresses should not be restricted to only those with high levels of disposable income. It makes no sense to dispose of re-useable furniture, especially when we know that these items can be broken down and used to create brand new, superior quality products. With the recycling technology and capabilities we have today, there is absolutely no need for families to resort to sleeping on floors and makeshift surfaces when they could be sleeping on a comfortable bed.

Rather than just getting rid of unwanted furniture, we want to raise awareness of the recycling opportunities available to us and how the resulting products can be put to good use by someone in need. We know that over 7.5 million mattresses in the UK are sent to landfill every year, which, with a good recycling and re-use process, could be made use of and appreciated by families in need in the region and across the UK.

The public sector needs to step up efforts to identify and partner with more companies, charities, housing associations and recyclers to source good quality, affordable mattresses and beds for children and families living in furniture poverty. In doing so, they can help give these families the good night’s sleep they deserve and work towards ending furniture poverty in the UK.

For more information about R&R Beds or to discuss any requirements, please visit



Risk to WEEE compliance as fluorescent tube recycling goes under the spotlight

FMs need to ensure electrical contractors are meeting the needs of fluorescent tube recycling or risk non compliance of WEEE Directive according to Pipekit, an independent plastic pipe distributor.

A recent survey, commissioned by Pipekit, to reflect the habits of electrical contractors  around the disposal of fluorescent tubes, revealed that just under half require better solutions for storing used fluorescent tubes.  Whilst one in four acknowledges that the lack of fit for purpose solutions is compromising their recycling habits and compliance with the WEEE Directive.

Commenting on the findings Martyn Rowlands, M.D of Pipekit said: “We implemented the market research as part of our N.P.D programme and it revealed that there was a definite   misalignment between the intention to recycle and the actual reality”.

He continued: “Our findings showed that despite there being a high knowledge and understanding of the WEEE directive and its compliance requirements, within the electrical contractor market, the lack of storage solutions and recycling opportunities were hampering safe disposal. Something the facility management sector needs to be aware of and act on to offer corporate and social responsibility to the process”.

40% of electrical contractors cited they still relied on boxes to store used tubes or just left them loose in vehicles prior to disposal. Despite the risk of tubes easily breaking and not being able to recycle them safely or at all.  Asked why, 50% cited a lack of readily available, fit for purpose storage solutions, as the main reason.

In direct response to the market research findings, Pipekit has launched a purpose designed tube storage solution to help meet the needs of the market.  Tubester is manufactured by Pipekit from robust recyclable HDPE twin walled tube. Available as standard in 1.8M and 2.4M variants.  Other lengths are available on request.  Tubester comes fitted with robust end caps, one of which is removable for ease of opening and safe containment.

Martyn continues: “We have started to sell Tubester online and over the counter at Pipekit and despite it being early in the product’s development, interest is high.  We plan to push it out to other distributors in the near future and hope this product will help support the recycling process and facilitate compliance of the WEEE Directive for all sectors going forward”.

The survey also revealed that 80% of electrical contractors stated that there needs to be more recycling outlets available to make the disposal of tubes easier and help drive recycling rates higher.

For more information log onto: Chat online or call on: 01743 860088.   Or email:


BPI Recycled Products Urges Buyers to Check Refuse Sack Standards

BPI Recycled Products is urging buyers to look for CHSA certified refuse sacks to make sure they always benefit from products that conform to the highest industry standards.

The company is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of refuse sacks, recycling 65,000 tonnes of scrap polythene each year and supplying over 270,000 tonnes of polythene products to customers worldwide.

Too often buyers of plastic refuse sacks have not received what they paid for – for example, refuse sacks are described as Heavy Duty but in reality fall short of this claim on the box.

The CHSA (Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association) represents all the major manufacturers and distributors supplying cleaning and hygiene products in the UK. It has driven up standards, making it possible for buyers of cleaning products like refuse sacks to be sure when they buy accredited products, “what’s on the box is in the box.”

Lorcan Mekitarian, Commercial Director of BPI Recycled Products said: “We believe it’s vitally important for buyers to have confidence in the quality of the sacks that they are purchasing and that they don’t fall foul of misleading their customers.

“Regardless of which supplier they purchase them from, buyers can easily check with the CHSA the ranking of that particular supplier within the scheme and the number of audits carried out on its sacks.

“When you buy refuse sacks from any CHSA accredited member, like BPI Recycled Products, you can be confident you will get exactly what you pay for.”

“There are some company-led standards for refuse sacks but none of them meet the industry-led CHSA Standards, which have transformed the market.”

“Other standards don’t have the same stringent criteria, including rigorous independent assessment and auditing, which the industry should be adhering to in order to get the best products into the hands of our customers.”

He continued: “As a strong advocate of the CHSA Accreditation Scheme, BPI Recycled Products’ entire Green Sack is manufactured to the exacting CHSA Standards.

“Our range of refuse sacks are recognised and trusted by cleaning and healthcare professionals, and our reputation rests on the proven performance of our sacks.”

“That is why we signed up to the CHSA Standards as we believe they are the only truly credible industry standard.”

All CHSA members adhere to the code of practice and, where relevant, the Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes for Soft Tissue products, Plastic Refuse Sacks and Industrial Cotton Mops make sure customers get what they pay for.

Each scheme guarantees:

  • Consistency of supply: customers receive what they order
  • Accurate labelling: customers know what is inside the packaging
  • Fully audited manufacturers: customers get what they pay for

Crucially, application to one of the accreditation schemes doesn’t guarantee membership as applicants are only admitted if they pass the initial audit of all their products, labels and quality control procedures conducted by the scheme’s independent inspector.

New members are audited four times in the first year of membership and at least twice annually thereafter. If they fail to meet the standard, they lose their accreditation membership.

BPI Recycled Products manufactures its flagship and award-winning environmental brand, Green Sack™ range from 100% recycled UK farm waste polythene, chosen because of its strength, which results in a superior quality refuse sack.

This range offers performance and environmental benefits and is widely used throughout the foodservice, janitorial and facilities management sectors.

BPI Recycled Products Green Sack range is accompanied by a wider refuse range and healthcare portfolio. This includes sacks for local authorities, hospitals, retail and builders’ merchants.

For more information about CHSA visit:

For more information on British Polythene Industries visit


Armstrong Ceilings hit the heights at Farnborough


The total amount of tiles recycled by Armstrong Ceilings at the airshow has risen again.

Armstrong Ceilings continues to break the mould for recycling building materials at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The UK manufacturer has again exceeded the amount of ceiling tiles it recycles at the bi-annual show it has supplied for the past four events, this year some 14,769m2 compared to the 13,400m² it recycled in 2014 – the first time the company employed its Off-Cut scheme as well as its End-Of-Life scheme.

Not only that, the amount of mineral ceilings recycled from the potential from more than 200 temporary corporate hospitality and business chalets and exhibition halls on site rose from 61% in 2014 to 79.8% this year, winning praise from the show’s head of operational development and Health and Safety.

Jonathan Smith said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcomes this year working with Armstrong. There has been a significant year-on-year improvement over the last few shows since we began working together.”

Some 1,885m² (or 12.7%) of this year’s recycling total was from 70 bags of ceiling tile off-cuts recycled prior to the show between July 11 and 17 while 12,884m² (87.3%) was from tiles dismantled after the show, all in all saving contractors (whom Armstrong does not charge for the service) more than £10,000 in landfill and skip hire tax.

In terms of environmental impact, as well as the 14,769m² diverted from landfill, this year’s scheme saved more than 73 tonnes of virgin raw material, more than 20,000 kWh energy, more than 36,000 CO2 equivalent greenhouse gasses, and more than 251,000 litres of potable water.

The tiles for recycling (Dune Supreme and Fine Fissured) were collected in bags and stored in the exhibition hall then returned on nine trucks to Armstrong’s production facility in Gateshead for recycling back into the mix with the help of logistics company and fork lift operators Ceva Showfreight, specialist waste management and cleaning contractors Sagum Events and the Southampton branch of specialist distributor SIG Interiors.

The corporate hospitality and business chalets, which are used by such prestigious exhibitors as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Rolls Royce, typically take five weeks to build and fit out and one week to dismantle.

Oliver Newin, who oversaw the recycling and environmental element of the show, which prides itself on its green philosophy, said: “We encourage people to use Armstrong because of their recycling capabilities and this year it went very well.”

Roy Smith, Armstrong’s recycling sales development manager, added: “Our recycling scheme was very well received by the contractors on site. I feel from them it is now an expected part of the show.”

Armstrong was first brought in to recycle its suspended ceilings at the 2008 airshow by the event’s largest independent chalet fitting contractor SDD I GES and back then saved 2,600m² (or 10 tonnes) from landfill.

The ceiling tiles recycled from this year’s Farnborough airshow help to bring the total amount of recycling by Armstrong since 2009 to more than 500,000m².

Armstrong pioneered ceiling recycling in the UK in 2003 and since then the programme has evolved to include all mineral tiles, no minimum quantities, a growing network of “Green Omega” installers and partnerships with national distributors to further support customers’ local recycling requirements.


BPI Recycled Products’ Sites Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill

BPI Recycled Products has achieved Zero Waste to Landfill certification from Valpak at three of its manufacturing sites across the UK.

The Valpak certification recognises years of hard work by the business, which is the UK’s largest producer of refuse sacks and the largest polythene recycler in Europe.

BPI Recycled Products’ manufacturing sites gained ISO 14001:2004 accreditation for environmental management and each site put controls in place to reduce the amount of waste they were generating.

This was done via three methods: staff training, raising the profile of waste management on site, and increasing the segregation of waste.

BPI Recycled Products has also put in place annual waste reduction targets, and the whole process has culminated in sites at Heanor, Rhymney and Stroud achieving the Valpak certification recently following an independent assessment and audit.

A company can be awarded Zero Waste to Landfill certification when it complies with the following:

  • Sending zero waste to landfill (including production, hazardous and packaging waste)
  • Sending limited amount of waste to energy from waste (EfW)
  • Commitment to continual improvement – waste reduction and diversion

Daryl Winder, IMS Compliance Manager of BPI Recycled Products said: “We have worked hard to get full buy-in from staff at our sites and developed the culture within the business to ensure that staff members always think about waste on site.”

“We are delighted to have now achieved Zero Waste to Landfill certification from Valpak at three of our manufacturing sites and this achievement recognises our ongoing commitment to waste management whilst demonstrating our environmental credentials to our customers.”

“We believe that we can now claim to be one of a very small few, if not the only company in the UK that produces a finished product from recycled material with zero waste to landfill from the process.”

BPI Recycled Products receives 50,000 tonnes of scrap polythene per year and recycles it into finished goods.

As one of the leading manufacturers of polythene products, the business supplies over 270,000 tonnes each year for a wide variety of everyday applications.

BPI Recycled Products manufactures its flagship and award winning environmental brand, Green Sack™ range from 100% recycled UK farm waste polythene, chosen because of its strength, which results in a superior quality refuse sack.

This range offers performance and environmental benefits and is widely used throughout the foodservice, janitorial and facilities management sectors.

BPI Recycled Products eco range is accompanied by a wider refuse range and healthcare portfolio. This includes domestic waste, compactor and compostable sacks, caddy liners and clinical waste sacks.

BPI Recycled Products’ entire refuse sack range has all the relevant technical CHSA certifications and UN approval.

More information on BPI Recycled Products can be found on its website:



Armstrong Ceilings sets another recycling record

Green Omega recycling installers help Armstrong Ceilings to record heights.

A rapidly expanding network of Green Omegas (specialist sub-contractors with equally specialist recycling expertise) has helped Armstrong Ceilings break its recycling records for the second year running.

The manufacturer recycled a total of 142,000m2 last year during which time nine members of Armstrong’s 136-strong Omega network of approved installers proved their recycling expertise to such an extent that they qualified as Green Omegas.

That 142,000m2 equates to 495 tonnes or more than 528 skips which would have cost contractors almost £100,000 in landfill tax.

All of the returned material has been or will be used in the manufacture of new mineral ceiling tiles, saving the company (which does not charge for the service) more than £28,000 in virgin materials.

And not only is the scheme saving contractors money, the Green Omega accreditation is also making them more money.

Installers PFP, based in Edinburgh, have been in business since 1997 and an Armstrong Omega since the millennium while CAP Ceilings and Partitions, based in Exeter, have been in business since 2002 and an Omega since then.

PFP managing director Boyd Sinclair said of the Omega scheme: “The benefits of becoming an Omega installer were the closer working relationship with Armstrong, PFP being recommended to clients by Armstrong for projects, and receipt of project leads from Armstrong.

“We can project ourselves better as a reputable installer of Armstrong products which is of particular benefit when we are competing against labour only sub-contractors as we do come across a number of main contractors trying to weigh up the choice between buying materials direct and using labour-only sub-contractors (self-employed operatives) versus ourselves to procure and install the materials.

“Most labour-only sub-contractors would not be Armstrong Omega certified and so if we can demonstrate to the main contractor that we are a certified installer and a Green one at that this makes a difference. It makes a difference too against those of our competitors who are non-Omegas. It just gives us a bit of an edge against the competition (albeit some main contractors are only looking for the cheapest price).”

The £12 million turnover company became a Green Omega last year on completion of their biggest Armstrong project to date – the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow – where 10,000m2 or 35 tonnes of mineral ceiling tile off-cuts were recycled over the two years for main contractor Brookfield Multiplex.

Gary Mortimer, project surveyor for PFP, said then: “The sheer size and complexity of this project could have made it an extremely challenging one but the recycling element, particularly with Skipeez on board, went very smoothly. We had never used such a variety of Armstrong systems before on one project but thanks to the level of support we received from Armstrong’s local sales and technical teams and the distributor, we managed to deliver a project we are all very proud of.”

CAP, who had recycled plasterboard walls before, also became a Green Omega last year after recycling 7,000m2 of old tiles and new tile off-cuts from an office block in Bristol for main contractor Midas.

Director Gary Rice said of that: “It was a very tight, congested site so the logistics were challenging.”

Of the Green Omega scheme, PFP’s Boyd Sinclair said: “It is definitely worthwhile getting involved. It provides us as a sub-contractor with a very easy route to recycling our off-cuts. It also allows us to add another element to our recycling strategy as we also currently recycle our plasterboard waste on a number of projects.

“Armstrong are streaks ahead of the competition when it comes to their commitment to recycling mineral ceilings within the industry. They have ensured that their distribution partners (our suppliers) are fully on board with the scheme and this allows us to work as a team to ensure waste is diverted from landfill.

“As more and more main contractors are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious working with Armstrong allows us to present this as a selling point to the client which places Armstrong’s products ahead of the competition and gives us an edge over the competition. At this stage it isn’t easy to quantify the benefits, especially not in terms of turnover, but it is definitely a strong advantage and selling point for everyone involved in the scheme.”

Gary Rice added: “The benefits of being an Omega member are the recognition, being a recommended installer of the market leader. The support from Armstrong has certainly helped us to grow the business from ground zero to £8 million.”

And of being a Green Omega, he said: “We are very conscious of our environmental impact so it helps us with that and it helps that we can demonstrate that to our clients. We are looked upon more favorably by clients because we have the recycling system in place.

“It’s a no brainer as there are no cost implications but it helps us with cost reduction to a certain point in that we can monitor our waste more and also know that hopefully when the tiles go back in it helps to bring down the cost of new tiles.”

Of the future for ceiling recycling, PFP’s Boyd Sinclair said: “The momentum needs to be kept up although with the size of Armstrong as a global player and their commitment to drive this through as a USP for their business this should not be a problem.

“The challenge, which is also an opportunity, is to get more sites taking advantage of the scheme as some main contractors are more conscientious than others. It really comes down to Armstrong and the Green Omegas spreading the word. Commonly when it works on one site that site team/company take the system/process forward to the next one and before long it is the norm or is incorporated into the way they run their sites. So with time it should become common practice.”

CAP’s Gary Rice added: “It is making main contractors aware that this is available to them and that we are able to help with that. I think Armstrong have done a good job of covering it off – they are even taking other manufacturer’s ceiling tiles back now. As for the future, perhaps recycling of the grid systems should be next on the agenda and more ways of using off-cuts actually on site, perhaps for additional acoustic flanking.”

The other Armstrong Omegas to become Green Omegas last year are Dancor, DV McColl, East Midlands Ceilings, Eastledge, ISEC, Oatley Ceilings and Richard Kemble.


Turning the Spotlight on Food and Furnishings

Steve Eminton, editor of discusses how to implement successful schemes for re-use and recycling across major estates.

Facilities managers are leading the way with the green transformation of estates, and considering the huge financial savings that can be made it’s no surprise. Alongside the introduction of renewable energy schemes, the FM sector has made great headway in two key areas of resource use: food and furniture.


Food waste has been under the spotlight in recent years, with shocking statistics emerging about the amount of food that gets thrown away each year by businesses and households. Plate waste from cafeterias and restaurants can be notoriously tricky to deal with due to contamination from packaging and even cutlery, yet estates managers are finding it’s worth persevering with.

Here’s why:

1. Reduced landfill costs – food waste tends to be heavier than most other waste streams due to the amount of water it contains. Waste management contracts are often priced according to weight, as disposal costs are determined by tonnage rather than volume. By reducing the amount of food in the general waste stream, overall waste disposal costs can be cut dramatically.

2. Maximising the value of recyclable materials – a tonne of paper, plastics, glass or metal each has a particular market value, largely determined by the cleanliness of the waste stream. Paper, for example, cannot be recycled if it is contaminated with wet wastes such as food, and so cannot be sold to the recycling industry. The rebates that can be recovered for recyclable materials therefore depend on the quality and cleanliness of those materials. Keeping food waste out of the dry materials bins maximises the value of these recyclable waste streams – and can make a big difference to the cost of a waste contract.

3. Food redistribution schemes – unsold food that is still suitable for human consumption can be redistributed via charitable organisations to homeless shelters and other groups in need. Charities such as FareShare have formed hundreds of partnerships with different types of food outlets, reducing disposal costs and providing corporate responsibility benefits.

4. Re-use of materials – starch-rich surplus foodstuffs can be recovered, reprocessed and converted into high quality ingredients for use in animal feed. When this option is not possible, food waste can be treated in anaerobic digestion facilities and converted into biogas, which in turn is used to generate clean electricity.

Some large estates have been very successful with their food waste schemes. The secret, they say, is investing enough time in working with tenants and making sure they understand the rules and the benefits to the bottom line. Staff participation is key, as is making sure bins are monitored and emptied regularly.


Furnishings are another major area in which facilities management professionals have been pioneering new green approaches – and reducing costs in the process.

Internal re-use schemes have become easily deliverable with web-based platforms that document and track items through the company. The main challenge with any internal re-use programme is storage, but where space exists it can pay for itself within a matter of months.

Ultimately, it’s far cheaper to store unwanted furniture for re-use, than it is to pay to have furniture taken away, and then pay for new furniture. Standardising procurement, so for example, all new chairs and tables have to be of a certain design, can make re-use schemes much easier to implement in the long run.

Research has shown that a typical breakdown of a container-load of non-residential furniture is 50% re-usable instantly, with a further 25% re-usable with a little repair.

Estates managers usually assign an individual to the role of inspecting and cataloguing items, and adding a photo and brief detail to an internal website. When staff need to purchase new equipment they are required first of all to check the catalogue for the item they’re looking for.

This saves each department money, as well as reducing disposal costs. The carbon benefits can also be calculated, giving a positive environmental and economic story to share with staff, customers and investors.

Celebrating resource efficiency success

By addressing the two key resource flows of food waste and furniture, facilities managers are demonstrating that doing good for the environment and doing good for the business go hand in hand.

Environmental programmes are no longer considered niche, and if packaged correctly it’s possible to persuade even the most business-hardened directors that re-use and recycling are the way forward for any successful business.

As an added incentive, successful environmental programmes can also win awards. The Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management, organised by, celebrate positive resource management examples from UK businesses, and are free to enter. To find out more visit


Effective recycling and waste management in the workplace


As the legislative landscape around waste management and recycling continues to shift in line with the EU drive to become more environmentally friendly, it is important for FM professionals to be aware of current and upcoming changes and how these are likely to affect clients. Alastair Little, head of corporate accounts at Biffa, outlines the key waste and recycling issues for FMs.

Since 1st January 2015, UK waste regulations have required businesses that recycle to fully segregate their waste into general waste and recyclables in a bid to improve the quantity and quality of recycling materials.

This change is in line with the commitments set out in the EU Waste Framework Directive, requiring all Member States to implement measures to ensure four key waste materials – paper/card, metals, glass and plastic – are collected separately from other waste for recycling.

With this in mind, adopting a holistic view of waste management in the workplace is now more important than ever for FMs. Waste solutions need to be site specific –   tailored to closely manage waste and recyclables that are coming in and going out, to ensure maximum efficiency.

  1. Responsibility for segregation

Current regulations mean it is now the legal responsibility of waste collection companies and authorities – rather than the businesses which produce the waste – to ensure appropriate arrangements are made to facilitate separate collection.

While these new UK regulations affecting England, Wales and Northern Ireland do not legally require the waste producer to segregate materials, those in Scotland do.

The ‘Zero Waste Scotland’ legislation, which came into effect in January 2014, imposed regulations on the producer of the waste to segregate recyclables, meaning Scottish businesses must carry out segregated recycling by law.

Although businesses across the rest of the UK are currently not legally required to segregate their waste in the same way – only waste collectors are subject to the legislation – it is likely that more onus will be pushed onto the producer in the near future.

  1. TEEP Requirements

The European Waste Framework Directive sets out clear requirements on dealing with waste only where it is ‘Technically, Environmentally and Economically Practicable’ – TEEP.

This means that where the collection of segregated waste materials would involve excessive costs, additional emissions from transport (from a waste collector having to travel long distances to pick it up), or another associated technical complication, it is not necessary to comply with the legislation.

To ensure that collections meet these TEEP requirements, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has produced a handy route map. External waste management partners can also offer advice on this.

  1. The cost implications

FM professionals who have waste management services as part of their Soft FM or Total FM contracts need to be aware of the possible cost implications that these legislative changes may bring to their contractual agreements and renegotiate and amend them as required.

It is likely that increased segregation of a facility’s recyclable waste streams could lead to additional costs. This is important to address, particularly where FM contracts are priced as a whole package, with waste being just one part, typically five per cent of the total FM costs.

However, once a robust segregated waste and recycling plan is in place, FMs can offset costs with the financial rewards that will arise from effective management of recyclable waste materials.

  1. Being environmentally friendly

Improving the approach to waste management is not just about complying with legislation; many clients are increasingly driven by environmental targets and are therefore asking more of their FM professionals to ensure they provide the most carbon efficient and environmentally positive solution.

Waste is also moving higher up the agenda in FM tenders, and while it remains a small expense in comparison to cleaning, catering or security costs, the green credentials associated with effective waste management are strong – good news for a business’ top line.

  1. Educating employees

One of the challenges faced by FMs is making sure that both their own cleaning staff and client employees working on the sites are informed of the recycling solutions available to them.

In larger businesses, it is often beneficial to appoint ‘waste experts’ responsible for monitoring compliance and seen as the go-to internal person to educate or remind staff of their recycling obligations.

Training cleaning staff is key as they are generally the people who are transferring the waste from internal bins to the external containers. Therefore, they need to ensure that they understand the journey of waste and the importance of segregation. This can be as simple as using the correct bags internally and then transferred into the correct external container.

In addition, a knowledge of what can and cannot be recycled and how to maximise capacity in the external bins is vital, for example, breaking down cardboard boxes to ensure there is more space and to avoid unnecessary collections.