What the judges said: “An excellent example of company commitment to reducing environmental impact … project is ahead of target and 88% recycling rate has been achieved.

And: “Significant is the education and training programme for staff which has produced high levels of motivation.”

About the project – Marks and Spencer, or M&S, the high street retailer has launched an ambitious waste management transformation project to greatly improve its environmental performance, as part of its Plan A commitments, required innovative systems, company-wide behavioural change and an extensive education programme. Key highlights include:

·Recycling stood at 41% in 2009 and reached 88% in March 2010
·New waste management processes introduced across 420 stores in 10 months
·62,500 tonnes of food, cardboard, plastics, metal, wood, paper and general mixed dry recyclate diverted from landfill in the last 12 months
·Waste management costs for M&S reduced by 20%
·Currently 16 months ahead of Plan A targets at store level – a direct contribution being the positive attitude of the staff, encouraged by the extensive company-wide internal communications programme.

As part of its Plan A commitments, M&S set specific sustainability objectives to divert all operational and food waste from landfill by January 1, 2012.

Severnside Recycling, a specialist retail recycling and waste management company with no landfill provision and its strategic partner, Shanks supported by Helistrat Management Services, were appointed to deliver innovative and sustainable processes.

A fundamental element to the success of the recycling transformation was buy-in, understanding, passion and enthusiasm from M&S staff to move forward and focus on minimising waste arisings.

Initially, Severnside worked to introduce waste management solutions that would enhance the working environment, such as ending the need to open and dye packaged food to prevent pilfering.

Detailed educational materials alongside 400 hours of training with staff at head office, regional and store levels, ensured everyone bought into the new process.

Time and emphasis has been placed on developing relationships with suppliers to enable M&S to reuse its own waste through its procurement processes.
Severnside is recycling packaging into new packaging used by M&S and also works with specialist reprocessors, such as Shanks, to convert food waste into renewable energy and plastics into new plastic bags, also used by M&S.

Severnside currently sorts the mixed dry recyclate at its nationwide netwok of recycling facilities. Meanwhile Shanks is currently building a network of anaerobic digestion facilities which will enable it to handle all M&S’ food waste, not only from stores but also its restaurants and cafes.

This approach will generate around 6,000,000 KWh of renewable energy by 2012, which will be sold back to the National Grid.

Dedicated to finding alternative disposal solutions for all waste streams, Severnside and Shanks will be providing further support to enable M&S to meet the waste hierarchy at all levels – reduce, reuse and recycle.

Shortlisted project in Waste and recycling (in no particular order)

BRC’s on pack recycling label

Worcester Bosch Group’s 100% recycled boilers scheme

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council’s procurement partnership

The national Magazine Company’s waste reduction and recycling programme

AWM’s landfill diversion infrastructure

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