How do businesses achieve zero waste? Find a partner that can guide them through the complexities of waste management, argues James Capel, managing director of Simply Waste Solutions
Simply Waste Solutions (SWS), a fast-growing specialist waste and recycling company, is on course to move its customers further up the waste hierarchy by helping them to recycle more as well as educating them to waste less.
This may seem counter-intuitive from a business that derives its revenue from waste collection.
But SWS believes that, as waste management becomes more complex, its customers need a partner to help them become smarter about the way they manage their waste, so they can cut operational costs and meet their environmental commitments.
As little as a decade ago, three-quarters of all UK waste was sent to landfill. The introduction of steep increases in landfill taxes from 2007 has no doubt been the key driver for change, as well as the need to create a more sustainable economy. Together, they have forced businesses to rethink the way they produce waste and has challenged waste companies to be more agile.
SWS is one of the front-runners among this new breed of waste and recycling companies, and is actively redefining its role. The company has its core operational routes in Greater London, and offers a national waste collection and recycling service to a growing customer list that includes the John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose and Debenhams.
To position it for growth, SWS has embarked on a million pound- plus investment that includes a fleet of new vehicles to serve large and small customers.
Back in 2010, SWS was a pioneer in moving away from landfill and into recovery. Its next goal is to move more of its waste away from refuse-derived fuel (RDF) to cleaner and more efficient energy-from-waste (EfW) processes.
While the company believes that RDF has an important role in the current EfW scenario, it is looking at emerging technologies such as pyrolysis and plasma arc gasification as the next evolution-ary step.
One area where SWS is delivering innovative customer value is in the provision of detailed management reports. These, together with an easy to read dashboard of key performance indicators, show precisely how much waste was collected and processed, and how much overall CO2 was diverted.
These reports also identify areas where recycling can be improved. Ashridge Business School in Hertfordshire, for example, has been using SWS’s Simply Intelligent Reporting to help it move from total landfill to recycling almost all waste, including food, glass, dry waste and cooking oil.
SWS is also working with its customers to help them waste less. For example, a range of posters and desk-drops encourage the employees of customers torecycle and reuse more. It has also printed QR codes on its waste bins that, when scanned, will help staff to dispose of waste more efficiently.
As the industry evolves, the company believes that its customers are not only looking to it to provide them with economical solutions to meet their waste needs, but also help them to think more intelligently about their overall waste strategies.
Collections and processing
Simply Waste Solutions began life in 2005 as a small company with just two collection vehicles. Based in Slough, Berkshire, it now has 20 vehicles and employs 40 people. It handles more than 20,000 collections a month and facilitates the processing of more than 50,000 tonnes of waste and recycling material a year.