The winners of the National Recycling Awards 2005 were announced on 25 October in Sheffield by TV presenter and columnist Paul Ross. The recycling stars included two high street retailers, a prison, a company who developed animal bedding from paper mill waste and a foundry, as well as a number of local authorities, community and charitable organisations who have succeeded in helping the UK to recycle more and reduce its dependence on landfill.
Commenting on the entries, Jane Rayner, Materials Recycling Week group editor and chairman of the judging panel said: “There has been considerable investment over the past few years that has been provided to help develop kerbside programmes, upgrade CA sites, and improve communications.
“The use of this funding was clearly demonstrated throughout the entries this year. We’re seeing local authorities reaching up to 50% recycling in some areas. And the awareness of recycling and waste reduction has increased through national and regional TV and press campaigns.
“This year we saw examples of real innovation targeting the needs of the local community and engaging at grass roots level. This was particularly true for local authority initiatives that in many cases are tailoring needs to transient populations and are recognising the importance of cultural change.
“We had community projects that are overcoming the barriers to participation, collecting materials in the way the market wants them and producing great results at the same time.
“Within our new categories introduced this year we’ve seen well-targeted programmes for health and safety policies that set a real example to the rest of the industry to follow. And retail recycling initiatives provided excellent examples of leading from the front with consistent messages.”
Snap Shot of the Winners:
Somerset Waste Partnership won Best Local Authority Initiative for the Sort It! programme operated by Somerset County Council in Mendip, South Somerset and Taunton Dean. The services include a weekly collection of recycling and food waste, fortnightly refuse collections and optional charged garden waste collections using wheeled bins or compostable sacks. Overall recycling rates have more than trebled in collection areas from 14-18% to 50% and the amount of refuse collected for disposal has halved.
Balfour Beatty Rail Track Systems Ltd won Best Industry Recycling Initiative for the recycling initiatives introduced at its foundry. Balfour Beatty
Rail Track Systems Ltd that supplies railway castings to Network Rail and other railway projects worldwide sourced organisations willing to incorporate the company’s waste into their products or take it for further processing and recycling. Process waste is now used in concrete blocks, cement manufacture, Tarmacadam production and hardcore, while other materials such as cardboard and wood are segregated for recycling. As a result the volume of waste disposed at landfill has been reduced from 2,750 tonnes per annum before the project started to just 25 tonnes per annum.
Comet, Wincanton and Remploy won Best Partnership Project for Recycling for their “reverse supply chain solution” for waste electrical electronic equipment such as used televisions and toasters. Comet worked with its logistics partner Wincanton to develop a collection service and establish sorting centres, and approached social enterprise organisation Remploy to refurbish the better quality white goods for onward use in the community. Following successful trials in 37 stores last year, Comet has announced a national roll out of the scheme and anticipates receiving up to 500,000 used electrical items for recycling or refurbishment each year.
Nicola Buck, waste strategy manager at the London Borough of Barnet was named Recycling Officer of the Year. Nicola manages a variety of recycling services for Barnet including 51 bring banks, civic amenity and recycling centres, a home composting service and a recycling service for flats. She initiated the rollout of a borough-wide green waste scheme and the judges agreed that her hard work had helped to boost recycling rates in Barnet from 15.66% in January 2004 to 26.73% in May 2005.
Leeds City Council won the category for Recycling Target Success for the provision of excellent kerbside recycling services and drop-off sites that has seen its recycling rate of 14.54% in 2003/4 (when it was the highest performing metropolitan authority in the country) further increase to 19.57% in 2004/5. Residents in Leeds have access to 340 drop-off sites to recycle newspapers, cans and glass and 88% of the population has access to a kerbside collection of recyclable materials, including many multi-storey properties where communal recycling bins have been introduced with the help of Defra funding. Judges said it was “a good example of urban areas achieving, despite the large tonnages they have to deal with.”
EnviroSystems (UK) won Recycled Product of the Year and Best Innovation in Market Development for the animal bedding material it has developed using recycled by-product from paper mills. Envirobed, which took two years to develop, is soft, cost-effective and offers benefits over traditional bedding materials such as straw which can suffer from fluctuating supply and risk of disease. It is already being used for 50,000 dairy cows across the UK and judges said, “it’s good lateral thinking… and opens up avenues for paper that otherwise seems to have reached the end of its life.”
HMYOI Wetherby won Waste Minimisation Project of the Year for its forward-thinking waste management plan which included the creation of 16 trainee jobs and the provision of a fully accredited educational course in waste management for staff. HMYOI Wetherby is now considered one of the leading prisons in the country in terms of waste minimisation and, to date, 26 prisons in England and Scotland have visited to observe its waste minimisation and educational package.
Kirklees Metropolitan Council won Best Information and Communication Campaign for its efforts to encourage participation in recycling with what judges described as “a strong, positive message with easy to understand material.” As well as regular communications to residents through leaflets, postcards and box stickers (which has seen participation in its kerbside glass collection scheme rise to 70%), Kirklees Metropolitan Council works with schools and community groups and runs a range of workshops for children.
Newport Wastesavers won Best Community Project for Recycling for its wide range of community initiatives which include a kerbside recycling service, a furniture reuse project, a repaint scheme which benefits people of low income and community groups, commercial recycling and its educational work including a rehabilitation project for prisoners. Costs are kept to a minimum to ensure the service compares favourably with landfill disposal. For 2004/5, 7,245 tonnes of material was diverted from landfill through the kerbside scheme, with a further 100 tonnes diverted through the furniture scheme which in turn helped 640 families of low income.
Lancashire County Council and Lancashire CRN won Best Local Authority and Community Sector Partnership for the Community Solutions partnership network between SWAP (Save Waste And Prosper), Community Recycling Services, the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside and the Lancashire Community Recycling Network (CRN). As well as helping to increase recycling rates, Community Solutions has encouraged the development of a domestic electrical appliance reuse facility and a plastics reprocessing facility. “It is the level of complexity and the scale of the partnerships that is so impressive,” said the judges.
Closed Loop London and Marks & Spencer won Best Retail Recycling Initiative for their achievements in the food and drink plastic packaging area. Packaging for the M&S Good to Go and produce ranges now has a recycled content of between 30 and 50%. M&S has also removed all plastic sandwich trays from its stores, saving a total of 200 tonnes of plastic a year. Judges praised the holistic approach, saying: “The best way of dealing with this issue is looking at what is coming in through the door, not just what is going out of it. This really does close the loop.”
Verdant Group won Best Commitment to Health and Safety Practices for its comprehensive health and safety policies and processes that have reduced the number of accidents at its sites. The policies, which won praise from the Health and Safety Executive, include a full health and safety induction process for all new employees, safe systems of work and regular audits and risk assessments, together with clear site rules and a hard-hitting poster campaign.
People are the lifeblood of the recycling industry and the Lifetime Achievement Award was launched this year to recognise those people whose hard work and dedication makes a visible difference to the recycling industry. Winners in 2005 were Melvyn Lilley, Wolverhampton City Council; Garth Ward, Salvation Army Trading Scheme; and Robert Williams, Welsh Assembly.
Established seven years ago by Materials Recycling Week (MRW), the National Recycling Awards are designed to recognise innovation and excellence in recycling on a national scale over the previous 18 months. They are open to any organisation, community group or company that is affected by recycling, plays an active part in the recycling process or is involved in the production chain of recycled products.
The awards were sponsored by Bankit and Redfearn, Cleanaway, Defra, Evolve, Grosvenor, LARAC, MRW, Onyx, RWM 06, Valpak, Vehicles & Plant Technology, www.mrw.co.uk and Wyvern Waste.
For more information about the winners please see www.nationalrecyclingawards.com