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Waste not want not

Camilla Timms, is sustainability adviser at Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc) the company that supports the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to manage and operate the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) training estate. She believes that if recycling initiatives are going to be successful within organisations, a combination of behavioural and technical solutions is needed.

“By clearly setting out objectives and challenging targets,” Timms explains, “FM providers can strive to achieve the ultimate goal of preventing 100 per cent of all waste from going to landfill and apply the waste hierarchy to ensure the best possible environmental outcome for our waste.

“After all, we all need to take responsibility for the waste that we are disposing of – whether it’s a crisp packet or a tonne of treated wood from a demolition project – and question where it is going.

“Use the waste hierarchy to help educate and encourage customers and employees to minimise the amount of waste generated and segregate and dispose of recyclable and other waste materials sustainably. Clearly, prevention is the ultimate goal but if this is not possible, have plans in place for how you will prepare your waste for re-use and recycling. We have reduced food waste, for example, by ensuring that all ingredients are optimised to meet busy mealtime demands, without surplus cooked food being prepared, and demolition waste is often re-used in construction and maintenance projects such as track repairs and road building. For general waste that is difficult to recycle, recovery for energy generation is the next best option to avoid sending waste to landfill.”

Timms also stresses the importance of segregating and re-use materials as much as possible. “By installing waste sorting facilities at various locations across the Defence training estate, Landmarc has seen a significant increase in the amount of waste recycled because we are able to segregate it safely and effectively prior to collection by our contractors.

“A good example of segregating and re-using waste is a project we are managing to build new ranges at Garelochhead in Scotland. All of the demolition waste is being re-used to install a noise reduction bund to help minimise the impact of noise pollution from live firing on the local community.”

Finally she stresses that you should constantly question how your recycling scheme can add even more value. “The rural and often remote locations of sites across the training estate presented significant challenges in finding local contractors that were able to collect, recycle and dispose of waste within the available budget. We therefore implemented a strategy to work with a national waste management broker so that we can benefit from the cost savings and business efficiencies achieved by only dealing with one supplier yet still continue to invest in our local economies by using a specific network of smaller, more local companies, which are accessible through our broker.

“This was key for Landmarc, as we place great importance on the positive impact we can have on the communities around the training estate. Providing smaller waste management contractors with extra work can boost their business, therefore aiding the local economy and the community.”


Helistrat’s Harvey Laud is constantly frustrated by some commonly mentioned myths around waste management and recycling. Here he dispels some of the best:

› There’s no such thing as zero waste to landfill: This just isn’t true – you just need to have a strategy and then plan, segregate, implement, audit and adjust.

› It’s general waste that causes the problem: Again this is wrong, the issue is what makes up general waste. It doesn’t exist – it is created by mixing the wrong types of material. It is usually made up 85 per cent of dry recycling, 10 per cent food and contaminated food packaging and 5 per cent residual – floor sweepings and wet waste.

› To recycle as much as possible, we need to segregate as much as possible: A degree of segregation may be required but it depends on what materials and how much you produce. Dry materials can be recycled without being segregated at source.

› I need to get the best bin price I can: I would urge to reconsider this approach. The price of a bin is governed by market forces and offers you minimal opportunity to make a difference. Secondly the price agreed rarely equals the cost over the contract term. Thirdly the only thing that will change over term is the bin price.

› Don’t take the wrong approach: Too many businesses produce waste and think: We must find the right type of bin, it’s up to the FM to keep the kit working and yard clear, procurement buy the cheapest consumables, we must find someone to collect at the cheapest price, we need to segregate all our materials.

To conclude you need to communicate strategic goals, agree objectives, share responsibility, collaborate as a business, continually review and adjust and adopt a more strategic procurement approach.

About Sarah OBeirne


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