How fitting for an energy business that food waste collected at the company’s offices around Britain is being converted into power.
This waste-to-energy programme is just one milestone on the Energy Assets sustainability journey – a pathway that includes accreditation to the most rigorous international environmental management standards.
Gavin Allan, Environmental and Sustainability Co-ordinator at Energy Assets, says the company expects to hit our zero landfill target for all office waste across the Group by the end of 2020, with many more initiatives underway in step with the business’ wider sustainability goals.
“As an energy business, we want to be an exemplar company when it comes to sustainable working practices, whether that’s minimising our own power consumption or ensuring cradle to grave recycling,” said Gavin.
“This means engaging with every member of staff in every location, so that they not only see the value of our environmental focus in the office and in the field, but also take these best practices into their homes.”
As part of its operational activities, Energy Assets receives monthly lifecycle ‘cradle to grave’ reports detailing the waste collected and how it is being repurposed.
- Food waste is converted into energy at an anaerobic digestion plant
- Cardboard is baled and reprocessed
- Mix paper is recycled and reprocessed into toilet tissue paper
- Metal cans are recycled into new cans
- Plastic items are recycled into new plastic materials or converted into refuse sacks and bags for life
In addition, when a general return to the office is possible, employees will see a new bin to deposit dead batteries, enabling staff to support the recycling and recovery of precious resources.
One important area of focus has been to reduce the CO2 associated with the transportation of waste. So, for example, our Sheffield centre invested in a baler to compress cardboard waste to cut down on the number of collection journeys.
“We have also developed strategies to reduce our operational carbon footprint, notably through adjusting heating and air conditioning settings, introducing LED lighting and specifying low powered IT equipment. This resulted in a 10% reduction in energy consumption across the Group in 2019.”
We are also investing in EV charge points, changing its procurement policy to favour energy efficient vehicles, and introducing a new system to ensure optimal journey planning for meter engineers.
The company’s sustainability commitments have also had a wider community benefit. For example, plastic bottles sent for recycling are processed by a charity providing retraining opportunities for vulnerable people, while large wooden cable drums at the end of their useful lives at Energy Assets Utilities were repurposed as tables at a local children’s nursery.
And now, the business is looking to go beyond its accreditation to ISO 14001, which specifies the requirements for an effective environmental management system, to achieve ISO 50001 in 2021. This accreditation provides a framework for continuous improvement in energy management.