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Winning ways with waste discussed at FMJ event

Delegates to the recent FMJ event on waste management; held at the organisers of the Facilities Show, Informa’s London Blackfriars offices were treated to essential advice on engaging staff and other stakeholders to help create a more sustainable workplace.

Phil Steer, Commercial Manager, Grundon presented some of the exclusive findings from this year’s third annual survey FMJ has run in partnership with waste management experts Grundon. This has revealed that for the third year running, waste management is the number one priority for facilities managers. Following on from a slide which showed that the biggest barrier to improving waste recycling was an inability to engage staff; Steer presented some expert advice on tackling this challenge.

His presentation contained a range of useful tips, including incentivising and rewarding green behaviours, the psychology of the placement of recycling bins, the use of pictorial symbols to instruct everyone (including non-English speakers) clearly on where waste should go and the value of organising waste awareness days.

He finished his talk with a case study on Royal Berkshire hospital where staff volunteers have undertaken a Waste Watchers KISS It Better (Keep It Simple, Segregate) campaign to spread the word about recycling in their respective workplace areas and encourage their colleagues to embrace new waste streams. As a result, the NHS Trust has saved around £5,300 a month on its waste management costs.

The second expert speaker of the evening, Sunil Shah Managing Director of sustainability consultancy, Acclaro Advisory and Chair, RICS Global Responsible Business Forum, remarked that the FM sector is still behind the curve when it comes to promoting sustainability; and advised that a positive way of engaging senior management is to remind them that a huge amount of revenue can be generated from waste.

In one interesting observation, he noted that one of the unintended consequences of the replacement of single use plastic with compostable cups was that people were putting them in the recycling bin. This he warned just goes to contaminate the batch, as they actually belong with compost. Delegates were also reminded that a truly effective waste management strategy requires an integrated approach and should begins with the procurement stage.

Rounding up the evening presentations he reminded people of the power of data as a way to measure and if needed, tweak your waste management strategy.

A full report and e-book based on the results of the 2020 FMJ/Grundon Waste Management survey will be published at the Facilities Show. FMJ will produce a full report on the findings to include an analysis of the research by a discussion group made up of senior FMs later in the year.

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