Waste firm addresses climate change

An Enfield-based firm has become the first waste management company in the UK to offset its emissions to become carbon neutral.

ACM teamed up with Climate Care, a company which sells carbon credits built up by funding renewable energy project, energy efficiency schemes and reforestation all over the globe, to calculate its carbon footprint then neutralise the impact.

The company plans to take its commitment to protecting the environment one step further by funding CO2 reductions over and above what it actually emits.

Many processes used by the waste industry create emissions of greenhouse gases, from the methane created by decomposing landfill waste of composting to the vehicles used to collect and dispose of waste.

ACM chairman, Barry Bolton, said: “We are deeply concerned about global warming and as a climate conscious company it was very important to us to neutralise our negative environmental impact, but that alone is not enough.

“With the potentially catastrophic effects of global climate change threatening not only our businesses but also the lives of millions of people around the world it is vital that we start to repair the damage to ensure the well being of our planet for our children and generations to come.

“I believe that we are the first waste management company to do this and we will be actively encouraging all other businesses to do the same.”

ACM is also working with Climate Care to investigate the possibility of making the waste management function of its customers climate neutral.

Mr Bolton said: “Good waste management practice is just one way that businesses can take positive steps to improve their environmental performance through recycling initiatives and the use of high-density compaction to reduce the number of waste collections and therefore the emissions from the associated vehicle movements.”

He acknowledged this would still generate carbon emissions, albeit it on a smaller scale, but said it could be part of a long term solution if it became standard practice in waste management.

Climate Care director, Tom Morton, said: “When we met ACM we were very impressed by senior management’s passion for dealing with the great unseen waste stream of our time – CO2 emissions.

“Not only is their core business reducing the amount of waste that their clients send to landfill, they are also accounting for the CO2 that their business generates.

“They have a strategy to reduce this and have committed to offsetting the remainder. We would encourage other companies in the sector to follow their lead.”

ACM has also organised a conference to look at the overlap between climate change and waste, which will be held at London Zoo on Thursday, April 27.

The conference will outline ways that more sustainable waste management can help to reduce carbon emissions with Aubrey Meyer, the man generally credited with laying down the principles of contraction and convergence, among the line-up of keynote speakers.

In a nutshell contraction and convergence sidesteps the dilemma that dogs the Kyoto Protocol – how to include countries in the developing world – by arguing that global carbon emissions as a whole must come down, and there should be a meeting in the middle as industrialised countries reduce their share and developing nations are given a chance for continued growth.

More information on the conference can be found on the ACM website.

by Sam Bond

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