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Firms show exciting waste management initiatives in the Sunday Times' 60 best green companies

The Sunday Times 60 best green companies 2009 showed businesses demonstrating huge innovation across many sectors to reduce their waste and recycle more.

Revealed on 24 May, the survey showed that 45 companies achieved at least a 10 per cent increase in recycling or 10 per cent decrease in waste production in 2008 compared with the previous year.

Sustainable power generation company Infinis, reached the number five spot achieving a green score of 78 per cent due to its development of energy-from-waste systems. By capturing methane from UK landfill to create energy the company has reduced the nations greenhouse gas emissions by more than nine million CO2 tonnes per year. The firm has also spent £35m over the last two years on landfill gas power stations, biomass plants and wind farms.

A number of construction firms were high in the list. Construction company Carillion successfully produced zero net waste at its Bridgend Asda project by recycling more material than was wasted saving £276,000. It is currently trialling used cooking oil in one of its vans in North Yorkshire. Leading construction firm Skanska came fourth and received a green score of 81 per cent by training staff about ways to help the environment.

Glass manufacturers Saint-Gobain Glass UK managed to reuse 34,000 tonnes of waste glass in addition to its own glass in 2008 through a customer take-back scheme. Other initiatives have reduced the amount of waste going to landfill by 78 per cent since 2001 and it hopes to recycle 40 per cent of all site waste soon.

At 36 was manufacturer and supplier of interior surfaces Altro. It has invested £75,000 over the past two years into what is claimed to be the worlds first in-house safety flooring recycling system. The firm reduces PVC chip into smaller granules which can be turned into new flooring, reducing factory waste PVC going to landfill by almost 500 tonnes. Future ideas on how to incorporate off-cuts and waste flooring into this are being investigated.

The ExCel centre came in at 44 with the UKs largest commercial wormery, which is used to recycle kitchen food waste. Fed to 300,000 earthworms, the pulped food is converted into nutrient-rich soil. Last year the centre achieved a 78 per cent recycling rate, focusing on encouraging event organisers to use recyclable carpets and any used carpets no longer needed are donated to Newham council for those in need of them.

Sign manufacturers the Allsignsgroup has cut its £30,000 landfill waste by 65 per cent in the past year after a recycle and reuse scheme to achieve ISO 14001 certification for environmental management. Before, materials in the sign-making process like PVC foam and aluminium composite were very difficult to responsibly dispose of but the firm found specialist waste carriers by working with suppliers. The firm also offer a customer take-back scheme for old signage and schools can help themselves to any waste needed for projects. Some offcuts are even being used to help protect trains and carriages being set aside for restoration in the Electric Railway Museum.

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