ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
Karen Thake, Marketing Manager of London Recycling Ltd, describes the motivation behind a successful and innovative waste management company.
Can you please describe your company in a few words?
London Recycling Limited (LRL) is a specialist recycling and waste management provider for businesses in London. LRL offers a range of recycling services from confidential shredding of various materials battery recycling, paper, CD’s, cardboard, cans, plastics, glass, waste electrical and electronic equipment and hazardous waste.
LRL aims to achieve and maintain ISO 14001 certification. Use of our resources including research, development and capital will help us to meet this commitment in a manner that reinforces our activities. We can then measure our progress in pursuing this policy and make available an annual report on progress made.
Our new Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) is nearing completion and will enable us to recycle 15,000 tonnes of materials a year. The MRF will enable us to produce a ‘quality material’ for recycling.
What makes you different from other waste management companies?
LRL operates in the London area only and we produce a quality material for re-use. This gives us the unique opportunity to offer a dedicated and ‘specialist’ recycling and waste management service for some of the largest organisations in the City of London, whilst providing recycling services to smaller companies also. We encourage customers to look at the benefits of office recycling, re-use and green purchasing.
LRL aims to encourage a clear understanding of a company’s ‘obligations’ if they are to meet current and forthcoming regulatory requirements, gain interest from investors and win business.
Our fleet of over 30 vehicles is carbon neutral and we use a post code system to ensure that our transport team minimises its impact on congestion. We have LPG vehicles, are looking into electric vehicles and are working to meet the stringent Euro IV standards for emissions.
LRL is continually looking to develop specialist services and ‘close the loop’ by way of encouraging intelligent procurement, for example purchasing clear glass bottles from your suppliers in order to reduce depletion of natural resources.
Please tell us more about your initiative Suit into Loot.
Suit into Loot is a free clothes and shoes collection service aimed at London’s largest businesses and organisations. LRL became involved to help reduce the thousands of tonnes of textiles that are sent to landfill in the U.K each year.
The clothes are collected from the offices after a week of publicity. Once collected the clothes are weighed at our site in Canning Town and then transported by Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development, (TRAID) to their premises where they are sorted and a: Sold complete in TRAID’s U.K high street charity shops or b: Remade into trendy one off pieces (again sold in the U.K).
Money generated from the sale of these items goes to various projects. Since its founding in 1999, TRAID has been committed to furthering sustainable development in some of the poorest regions of the world. Unsaleable items are recycled and do not go to landfill.
LRL benefited from an enthusiastic communications team from the start and the support of many businesses; some of which are regular customers of LRL. We have invested both time and money in display stands, information for staff and eco-friendly jute bags for the collection of the clothing. Once established and with added coverage from various media groups, ‘Suit into Loot’ weeks were relatively simple to run. The collections are now arranged in a post code system to reduce congestion. We use a LPG van for these collections – an alternative and environmentally friendlier fuel.
Is this initiative successful?
Suit into Loot is still going strong so yes - it’s a success. On average we are collecting 350Kg of clothes per collection. This year we are running a collection in The City of London in April and again in Canary Wharf and other EC London postcode areas throughout August 2007. There are more collections scheduled for 2008.
London Recycling Ltd collects and recycles Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Why did you choose to launch out your company in this business?
WEEE is a growing waste stream – and still sadly a result of our ‘throw away society’. However, LRL is working extremely hard to change that in our serviceable area of London.
Every year an estimated 2 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment is discarded by commercial groups in the U.K alone and about 9Kg of WEEE is dumped per person in the U.K per annum. Before the disposal of these items became governed by regulations in The U.K., LRL offered a collection and recycling service. This has helped to educate businesses about current and future legislative requirements. Electrical equipment recycling and our WEEE service provides an option for businesses to safely dispose of EEE items that are filling landfill sites and may never decompose. The same applies to our complete hazardous waste recycling service, which includes items such as lamps, fluorescent tubes and batteries.
Your company also collects and recycles CDs. This is quite unusual. Can you please tell us more about techniques you use to recycle CDs?
CDs will never decompose if dumped in landfill sites. Items such as CD’s are required to be securely disposed of. They will be destroyed as part of the recycling process and we offer a Certificate of Destruction or a shredding service prior to recycling. 100% of the CD’s and CD ROM’s and all the packaging (including: paper, polycarbonate, polystyrene, paint, laquer and aluminium) is recycled. The CD material is delivered to the decollation centre where the constituent parts (CD, Jewel case, paper inserts) are separated:
1. Paper is baled, pulped and used in the production of cardboard.
2. The Jewel case is granulated and then fed into an extrusion system fitted with a laser filter for contaminant removal. A high quality Crystal Polystyrene pellet is produced and may be used for new cases or insulating foam.
3. The discs are processed in another machine and paint, aluminium and data is removed from the surface. This is used to insulate electric cables.
4. The clean discs are granulated, blended and compounded into a polycarbonate material. This is reused to make burglar alarm boxes or street lighting.
According to you, what will be the impacts / perspectives of the recycling / waste management industry on employment in Europe?
Some of our materials are send to other European countries and recycled, creating European employment and much of our machinery comes from Europe member states. It can be a labour intensive business and jobs are created here too - for example sorters and operators.
Legislative clout will ensure that companies will employ qualified people to provide the necessary support in-house, for example specialist facilities managers and green procurement officers.
To conclude, what should be set up so that all Europeans embrace recycling?
Green purchasing – for example we have partnered British Loose Leaf and offer a lever arch file and binder recycling service. More initiatives like these will encourage recycling.
Look at success stories around Europe and implement them across the rest of Europe.
Reduce your consumption and think before you buy.
London Recycling Ltd was highly commended by the judges of The Sustainable City Awards for its commitment to environmental preservation through waste minimisation and innovative waste management techniques, combined with a range of innovative projects designed to get Londoners recycling.
London recycling Limited website http://www.london-recycling.co.uk
Contact: Ms Karen Thake
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7511 8000