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Fast turnaround

This year’s National Recycling Award winner for Recycling and Waste Management Business of the Year (large) went to DS Smith Recycling. Andrea Lockerbie looks at why

DS Smith Recycling has embraced the philosophy that waste is a resource, adopted a zero waste ethos, and has no investment in landfill.

It is Europe’s largest paper recycler, collecting 5.4 million tonnes of paper and cardboard each year, and is part of the DS Smith Group, which is the largest integrated paper and packaging group in the UK and second largest in Europe. This means the company can collect paper and packaging and recycle it into new paper and cardboard at its own mills, putting packaging back on the shelves in just 14 days.

Having committed to helping customers achieve zero waste, over the last couple of years it has built up a network of over 500 specialist reprocessors to recycle the other materials it collects such as plastics, metals and WEEE. It has even incorporated construction and demolition waste into its offering after working with Marks & Spencer on construction and refurbishment projects.

The judges praised the company for “doing its best to apply good practice” and its “comprehensive approach”. They said: “It is a good business and is tackling waste to landfill on a large scale.”

Its customers span the retail, print, manufacturing and SME sectors. Key to helping them improve their recycling rates are its comprehensive audits, which identify what is generated and where. Cost savings and environmental benefits are then promoted alongside practical waste segregation systems. The company strives to identify the most carbon efficient waste management option that minimises road miles and the carbon impact of the end process. It has also prioritised source separation, as part of its commitment to achieving quality recyclate. In addition, it has invested in state-of-the-art vehicles with segregated bodies, which minimise vehicle movements while collecting three different materials streams at once.

DS Smith Recycling has implemented innovative schemes with customers to boost recycling, such as a recycling league table across Dunelm Mill’s 135 stores which involves regular inspection of bins by store managers and visits from DS Smith Recycling. This has identified issues and encouraged recycling participation. Similarly, after completing a waste audit across Arcadia’s 470 sites, it worked with management to put in place a sustainable waste management service which now sees each site limited to one general waste collection sack per week. This has improved recycling rates and cut waste, putting the group on course to achieving zero waste to landfill.

It has a comprehensive education programme that includes a variety of training materials, leaflets, posters, DVDs, store briefings and monthly conferences with regional teams. In addition, it has created a series of white papers for customers and sends monthly email updates with advice to ensure they are compliant with legislation now and ready for the future.

The DS Smith group itself has an environmental target to reduce CO2 emissions across all operations by 20% within the next 10 years.

Jim Malone, sales and purchasing director, DS Smith Recycling

“I think it is recognition of all the hard work and all the effort that the team have put in. We do a lot of good work with retailers, with small and large companies, we look at innovative recycling schemes, a lot of different initiatives.”

Category Finalists:

  • Associated Waste Management
  • Raymond Brown Minerals and Recycling
  • SCC
  • Taylor

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