From pens and paper to audiovisual output and internet access, etc Venues knows how to organise meetings and events.
It provides conference, training and meeting facilities in five locations across London including The Hatton, Park Street in Mayfair, Bonhill House and Avonmouth House. The company also manages the CBI Conference Centre and Business House in Brussels on behalf of the Confederation of British Industries.
The company provides the rooms, organises the facilities and is often required to organise catering. All of these services create waste and the company was becoming increasingly aware that this was a problem that needed a proactive approach. So it commissioned a recycling audit covering its four capital-based properties, involving environmental consultancy 3Re.
As a business we oversee four central London venues, so have an obligation to ensure we are looking after local communities and their environments, sales and marketing director Mary Fowell says.
The etc Venues facilities manager had been trying to implement a usable recycling scheme for the past year but, due to time constraints, had been unable to allocate sufficient resources to the project, explained Carl Brooks, environmental consultant for 3Re. Only paper recycling had already been addressed, he says, and this was limited to white office paper and was far from effective.
3Re was given the responsibility of identifying exactly what could be recycled and providing the energy and impetus to launch waste management schemes simultaneously at all four venues. We have also been commissioned to monitor the scheme for the first 12 months, to set targets and ensure continuous improvement, says Brooks.
The nature of etc Venues business means that large volumes of paper products are used on a daily basis in the form of notebooks, handouts and flip charts. Before the audit the vast majority of these were ending up in the general waste stream.
Similarly, as a hospitality provider with catering facilities at each venue, large volumes of cardboard, glass and other recyclable materials were being thrown away. These un-targeted waste streams cumulatively provide a large volume of waste that was being needlessly landfilled, says Brooks.
The audit showed that etc Venues was recycling around 5% of its waste. The new waste management and recycling programme which is due to launch this month aims to achieve a recycling rate of at least 50% during the first year.
In addition to the recycling schemes, 3Re Group is working with etc Venues to green their procurement policies and to change the way they think about waste by trying to phase out disposable items in favour of reusable ones glasses instead of plastic cups, on-site water bottling instead of bought in water.
3Re managing director Colin Crooks says: London consumes the resources equivalent of a land the size of Spain, annually. As a result we are running out of landfill sites for our waste, while continuing to create rubbish at an unsustainable rate. Its great to work with businesses that take responsibility for tackling this growing problem.
3Re undertook an audit of current waste production, which included an analysis of the types of waste materials generated, and the potential for diverting as much from landfill as possible. This involved assessing whether waste could be recycled and designing tailor-made schemes for each property, enabling staff to separate recyclable materials for collection. Recycling performance is monitored for 12 months, with targets set each quarter for continued improvement.
By implementing these recommendations, etc Venues is confident of achieving a 10-fold increase in its current recycling rate. Facilities manager Marika Dekker says: Weve identified the waste streams, developed collection methods and are confident that we will achieve our goal. u