The question is how can you improve waste management to make it – well – less wasteful?
It’s a problem we set out to solve at 25 Copthall Avenue, in the heart of the City of London, where the recycling of waste at the 170,000 sq ft property was at a very low figure of approximately 50% (and often below). Our goal was to increase the levels of recycling and, in turn, reduce the general waste.
At Helix, while we believe that everybody is responsible for the environment, we also appreciate that occupiers are sometimes reluctant to embrace change, perhaps wanting to avoid what they may perceive as additional work.
Our solution to this problem was to introduce the topic of waste at our regular occupier meetings, educate the tenants on the subject of sustainability, and to encourage everyone to share their ideas and concerns. This meant that all the occupiers could work together to solve the waste problem.
The first step of our “improving of the building recycling” project involved a review of existing waste management in line with the monthly figures as provided by the incumbent site waste disposal contractor. Waste contamination was noted to be an issue on a daily basis and a decision was taken to turn 50% of the site’s general waste bins into recycling bins and to change black bags to clear bags to help avoid waste contamination. We have also locked all bins allowing Helix security and cleaning teams to check bags before disposal takes place.
It was important that this new regime was well communicated to the occupiers to ensure the success of the scheme. Therefore, training sessions for all occupiers and their cleaning operatives – and also Helix’s own onsite staff – were held to talk through the changes that were being implemented. These included sessions starting at 5am for the out of hours cleaning operatives!
Now, at 25 Copthall Avenue, recycling figures have improved dramatically, standing at approximately 75% per month. And, as an added bonus, the costs of the annual waste management contract has also reduced significantly!
Such has been the success of the scheme that it has been awarded with a Green Apple Award 2015 for Environmental Best Practice. On the presentation evening, to be held on 16th November, we will find out if we have won a golden, silver or bronze award. Wish us luck!