Celebrating Global Recycling Day

Celebrating Global Recycling Day

Global Recycling Day was created in 2018 to help recognise the importance that recycling plays in preserving our vital primary resources and securing the future of our planet. Every year our planet yields billions of tons of natural resources but at some point, in the not-too-distant future, it will run out. That’s why it’s imperative that we think about waste and recycling. One solution is to reframe our perceptions and go from seeing waste to seeing opportunity…

Our recycling vision

We’re dedicated to being an environmentally responsible business and are constantly evolving with new, sustainable solutions – working with the utmost respect for the environment as we do so. An environmental focus is ingrained within our company culture – from how we operate, to the propositions we offer. It’s a constant topic of conversation amongst our leaders and colleagues. Our vision is to be trusted to meet the needs of our customers in a safe, reliable and sustainable manner and we’ve pledged to decrease our carbon emissions year-on-year. We’ve also got an extensive Group-wide recycling programme in place.

“As an energy business, we want to be an archetype company when it comes to sustainable working practices, whether that’s minimising our own power consumption or ensuring cradle-to-grave recycling. All of our colleagues have gotten behind our various initiatives to minimise waste and ensure that anything we produce is either recycled, upcycled or converted to generate energy through anaerobic digestion* or Advanced Thermal Treatments*. This means engaging with every colleague in every location, so that they not only see the value of our environmental focus while at work, but also take these best practices into their homes.” Says Sam Wright, ESG Director.

Re-cycling in action

We actively measure the production of waste across all our sites and we’ve got strict reduction targets in place as part of our commitment to monitoring performance – all in line with our ISO 14001 accredited environmental management system.

For instance, we’ve developed a traceability system which means that we know exactly what happens to the materials placed into the segmented bins in our offices. For example;

  • our mixed paper collections are converted into tissue paper
  • our cardboard is bailed and reprocessed
  • cans and tins are recycled into new cans
  • plastic bottles are used to produce bags for life and some building products
  • we have battery recycling points in our offices
  • our food waste and residual waste generates energy through anaerobic digestion plants* -some can even be converted into fertiliser
  • we’re also working on transitioning towards being completely paperless.

Recycling is an integral part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year the ‘Seventh Resource’ (recyclables) saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions globally and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030 according t the official Global Recycling Day website.

We recycle within our own operations where possible by:

  • re-testing all returned electricity meters , ensuring only those which are out of operating tolerance or no longer function are disposed of
  • donating old assets and equipment to test sites, helping to inform future sustainability solutions
  • refurbishing meters, regulators, modules, loggers, spools and valves where we can.

Last financial year this prevented 64.689 metric tonnes going to landfill.

Looking to the future

We also aim to sell scrap metal arising from our metering activities, and invest the income back into our organisation to support training and awareness for our people and to provide facilities to encourage recycling.

As of 2022, all our waste streams are 97% recycled – massively reducing the amount of waste produced ending up in landfills. Our reports also show that we’ve recycled over 1,100 tons of waste in 2022 and we’ve seen year-on-year reduction in direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions since 2020. 

As one of Britain’s most agile and innovative utilities network construction, metering and data and adoption businesses, we see it as our responsibility to do what is both morally and ethically right for our customers, colleagues and the planet. We also hope to lead by example, especially when it comes to our efforts to reduce any negative environmental impacts and promote more environmentally friendly processes and procedures.

*What is Anaerobic Digestion and Advanced Thermal Treatments?

Anaerobic Digestion is a process where food waste is contained and heated in an oxygen free tank for 30 days. This resulting biogas feeds a combined heat and power turbine to generate power that can be exported to the grid. Any residue is converted into fertilizer.

Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT) is a process where residual waste is incinerated, creating heat to turn water into steam and drive a high-pressure turbine to generate electricity.

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