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Power company surges ahead with recycling initiatives

Recycling rates at UK Power Networks show staff are generating less waste and recycling more rubbish as Britain marks Recycle Week.

From Press releases - 19 June 2014 12:00 AM

Recycling rates at UK Power Networks show staff are generating less waste and recycling more rubbish as Britain marks Recycle Week.

The company, which keeps the lights on across London, the South East and East of England, has installed a new printing system, which has saved 340,000 sheets of paper since it started in October, equivalent to saving 13 trees, two million litres of water and 2.5tonnes of CO2.

The total amount of waste produced by offices and depots fell by 259 tonnes, a 7% decrease.

Jennifer Backstrom, sustainability manager, said: “We have thoroughly looked at the waste hierarchy within our business as part of our commitment to continuous improvement. Preventing waste being produced in the first place makes both environmental and economic sense. Initiatives like introducing ‘follow-me printing’ have been a successful part of this.”

No under desk bins means staff sort their rubbish into general waste, paper, newspaper, cardboard, plastic bottles and cans. In all, 72% office and depot waste was diverted from landfill last year (up 2%), diverting nearly 2,500 tonnes of rubbish from landfill and saving 495 tonnes of carbon.

The company also recycles waste metal from items such as electricity transformers and switchgear as it renews electricity distribution equipment in London, the South East and East Anglia. These items can be refurbished and reused, raising £385,000 last year.

The company recycles 98% of waste from roadworks. Anything dug out of the ground is sorted and put back in the excavations in compliance with national specifications. The company reduced the amount of streetworks waste it sends to landfill from 80per cent in 2006 to below three per cent in 2010 and has maintained these low levels ever since. This initiative is leading the industry in terms of best practice around the management of streetworks waste.

Last year 409 old or faulty mobile phones were collected and recycled through a specialist firm which aims to reuse some of the handsets in the developing world. The company also recycles about 1,200 laptops and desktops per year and around 1,000 monitors.

Trees which need to be trimmed or felled as part of the company’s £24.4million programme around power lines in East Anglia and the South East are chipped, mulched, left in habitat piles and used for biomass fuel or timber, depending on the customer’s requirements.

For more information on Recycle Week (June 16-22) visit the website.