Quality is the watchword in environmental management
Waste management operations, including landfill sites, are increasingly being subjected to quality assurance and environmental audits. LAWE reports on the ISO14001 programme being developed by Waste Recycling Group
Quality is a term that is increasing in importance across the waste
management field, and, more particularly, in landfill operations.
The Doncaster-based group has achieved accreditation to BS EN ISO 14001:1966
for its sites at Buckden, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire; Gowy, near
Chester, and Welbeck, near Wakefield.
The international standard seeks to ensure consistency and high quality in
the management of environmental processes and examines rigorously a
company’s approach to issues such the environmental monitoring of sites.
Andy Harris, Safety, Health and Environmental Manager for WRG, commented:
“WRG set itself a target of registering three of its sites to ISO14001 by
the end of 1999, and we succeeded. It is now part of the group’s formal
environmental objectives that we go on to register the remaining 33
operational landfill sites by the end of 2000.”
ISO14001 requires a number of key elements to be in place before
registration can be achieved, including:
- an environmental policy
- compliance with legislation
- setting objectives and targets
- formation of an environmental management programme to achieve objectives
- internal audit process and management review
- demonstrating continual improvement within an organisation.
In detail,WRG’s extensive waste management facilities extend to 37
operational landfill sites, 18 transfer stations, three liquid treatment
plants, one compost site and one energy from waste operation.
The group set itself the target of gaining Environmental Management
Accreditation at its waste management facilities over a three-year period:
pilot landfill sites (achieved by December 1999 as reported above),
remaining landfills (end of 2000), and other principal waste facilities (end
Pilot landfill sites
Buckden’s facilities cover landfill, transfer station, CA site and leachate
treatment plant. Waste types are inert, municipal and special waste, with an
annual input of 140,000 tonnes per annum and a life expectancy of 20 years.
The site was chosen because of the range of waste management activities
Gowy is a medium-sized site with a high input and composting facility, deals
with 450,000 tonnes of municipal waste per annum, and has a six year life
Welbeck is a new large landfill with a compost facility. Some 650,000 tonnes
of municipal waste are handled each year. The site has a life expectancy of
WRG chose the ISO Management System the ISO14001 for the following reasons:
- to improve environmental performance
- to integrate new companies 3C Waste, Global into WRG
- to standardise WRG’s approach to environmental management.
- to improve the financial position. ie through risk management.
The first step in April 99 was to develop a comprehensive Safety, Health and
Environmental (SHE) system for the group. The three pilot sites were chosen,
one in each of the principal operating companies. To test the system, the
sites selected were sufficiently different to provide a fair trial.
The aim was to develop an integrated system that was an integral part of the
day-to-day management of each site. If, at the end of the process the result
is just form filling then the initiative will have failed, says WRG. If it
has led to an increase in SHE performance and awareness of individuals then
it will have succeeded, the group states.
The system is in both electronic and hard copy. The site manager is
responsible for the implementation of the system.
The system works through certain key elements identification of
environmental issues and potential impacts; monitoring of these issues and
reporting results; setting a management programme with objectives and
targets; with communication and feedback, plus auditing.
The group sees communication as the key to success. Reporting on the
development of the management system was built into routine “operations
meetings”. All corrective actions, non-conformances and any other problems
were recorded, enabling progress towards achieving the accreditation to be
At the centre, WRG’s Group SHE Manager monitored the overall performance and
development of the system through attendance at operations meetings.
In another aspect of WRG’s wide-ranging activities, in waste handling and
landfill operations, the group has expanded its equipment fleet with the
purchase of a range of nine Caterpillar machines, including the UK’s first
three 963C WHA track type loaders, a 953C track type loader, three 826G
landfill compactors, an 816F landfill compactor and a 962G wheeled loader.
The new 963Cs feature Caterpillar’s full waste handling arrangement.