VIDEO: Met Police targets waste prevention as recycling rockets

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has reported a 77% recycling and recovery rate across its operations in London, significantly beating its 60% target for 2010-11.

The figure, which covers both criminal and non-criminal waste, has been achieved through a number of initiatives MPS has implemented over the past year including better source-segregation across its estate, staff awareness campaigns and reuse programmes.

In 2010-11, MPS generated just over 23,000 tonnes of waste across its 900 buildings in the capital and Greater London. Of this, criminal waste such as seized items, weapons and drugs accounted for nearly 11,500 tonnes, while office waste made up around 8,300 tonnes.

Speaking exclusively to edieWaste, MPS recycling officer Anna Gledhill said by working alongside its two main contractors – Interserve in partnership with Veolia, and Balfour Beatty Workplace in partnership with McGrath – waste reduction targets were set which were instrumental in delivering results.

“We’ve got most influence over our internal non-criminal waste so that is where our main focus is – on reducing waste arisings. We’ve built waste reduction targets into those contracts and we work with our contractors to achieve them, and continually monitor their performance,” she said.

She added that the contractors also have to develop an action plan for sustainable waste management and that this has opened up some creative reuse opportunities.

“One of our contractors identified a reuse opportunity for our used cell blankets. These get laundered, anything that is too badly contaminated gets sent for disposal, but blankets that come back in fine condition but slightly ripped – well these could be dangerous for the prisoners, so now they get bulked up and given to a homeless charity.”

Damaged riot shields and helmets are also refurbished now where possible instead of being recycled, and MPS has set up an online furniture and stationery reuse exchange scheme, where departments can swap items between offices.

One initiative that has been highly successful is better source-segregation – MPS is currently rolling out mixed recycling bins across its sites and food waste pilots are now underway in its canteen kitchens. A staff awareness scheme involving 80 volunteer ‘environmental champions’ has also made a key difference.

Going forward, while MPS hasn’t set a target for zero waste, Gledhill says the focus will be on waste prevention and more sustainable procurement. “We have to make massive cost savings so we’re very much looking at the lifecycle of products now and what we are buying.”

A more in-depth article on what MPS is doing to tackle its waste, including criminal waste, can be read here

Maxine Perella

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