Zero waste to landfill plan saves SCAG £29k a year

Never have we been more aware of the impact that we are having on our planet.

Thanks to nationwide TV programmes such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, initiatives like Sky Ocean Rescue, and brave students challenging governments, climate change, the state of our oceans and other environmental stories are finally in the spotlight and getting the prominence in the media they deserve.

Away from the spotlights, one organisation has committed itself to achieve zero waste to landfill to reduce its environmental impact. This organisation supports more than 110,000 staff and students across multiple facilities, each with a wide variety of waste and recycling requirements, so diverting 100% of its waste from landfill is a mammoth task.

The South Coast Affinity Group (SCAG) was formed in 2008 to increase the purchasing power of individual institutions. The eight higher education partners located across the south-east coast are united in their aims: to divert waste from landfill, increase recycling rates, and to streamline waste management contracts at each institution.

In 2016, SCAG appointed SUEZ recycling and recovery UK as its waste management partner to deliver zero waste to landfill solutions for all institutions and multiple waste streams. General waste, dry mixed recycling, food and garden wastes, bulky wastes, WEEE, chemical, clinical and confidential waste services are all offered to each of the eight universities, under one contract.

SUEZ services over 130 locations and more than 825 recycling and general waste containers – handling 7,000 tonnes per annum at their processing facilities. Through the dedicated account manager and a local helpdesk, each institution receives the support they need, for their individual requirements.

Engaging a waste and recycling partner whose goals are so closely aligned to their own has enabled SCAG to see fantastic results. SUEZ aims to help create a circular economy, in which nearly all waste materials are given a second life and reused, recycled or recovered for their energy content – a key principle of which is zero waste going to landfill. SUEZ has taken on a number of initiatives during the first two years of their contract with SCAG, delivering savings of £29,000 per year.

Examples of these initiatives include:
● Supporting events such as Planet Day and Green Week
● Training provided to halls of residence assistants, cleaning, catering, and caretaking staff
● Producing a communications pack, featuring all communication tools to allow SCAG members to ‘pick and mix’ what materials or topics they would like to focus on when promoting waste awareness across all locations
● Introduction of pay-by-weight pricing model and bin weight data reviews to reduce vehicle movements and maximise efficiencies
● Waste audits to review dry mixed recycling quality and general waste composition with the results feeding into roadshow events and communications campaigns
● Legislation updates communicated via email and in face-to-face meetings

Going forward, SUEZ and SCAG will be reviewing the institution supply chains to establish if there can be any further reductions in the volumes of wastes generated through procurement. SUEZ also continues to explore new recycling opportunities for key waste streams that the SCAG locations produce.

Commenting on the waste management partnership with SUEZ, Dave Lifford, head of procurement at Bournemouth University, said: “We’re pleased to be partnered with a company that shares our goal and actively supports us on our waste reduction journey. To have reduced our costs whilst achieving our goal of zero waste to landfill at our eight institutions is a testament to our partnership. We’re looking forward to working on future improvement projects with SUEZ.”

If you would like to find out more about SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and their offer for the complex needs of the higher education sector, please visit www.suez.co.uk.