Gloucester Quays Shopping Centre, owned and managed by The Peel Group, is located in the Cotswolds and is one of the largest mixed use waterside regeneration developments in the UK. It covers 60 acres, providing over 150,000 square metres of floor space to over 70 retail outlets.
Carbon emissions and climate change
Over the past few years carbon emissions and climate change have risen up the agenda for retailers, and Gloucester Quays Waste Strategy is testament to the centre’s commitment to reduce its waste and improve its recycling rates. Facilities Manager Nick Poole acknowledges that since partnering with Grundon Waste Management in 2011, they have seen a significant acceleration in waste management and recycling practice.
“Grundon is more proactive than other suppliers I have used. They respond immediately to a situation as it arises, which has undoubtedly helped with the many challenges faced by a development of our size and in particular with the segregation of waste,”” he said.
Segregation – the key to recycling
Previously there was no segregation of waste streams and all the centre’s waste was compacted on site before being sent to landfill. After conducting a waste audit, the Grundon team recommended a number of key changes:
- due to the sheer size of the site, two separate waste station areas have been introduced, each with bins for three types of waste; general black bag waste, glass, and mixed recyclables, consisting of paper, card, plastic bottles, aluminium and steel cans
- installation of two new compactors for general waste alongside the mixed waste bins. All the waste is now collected and transported to their Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Bishop’s Cleeve just 10 miles away
- compacted waste is sorted for any stray recyclable materials before it goes for disposal
- remaining mixed waste and glass is separated and sent for recycling.
Minimising exposure to Landfill Tax
The reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill has meant that Gloucester Quay’s investment in the waste and recycling programme has been offset against the cost it would have had to pay in landfill tax, which has recently increased to £72 a tonne. “We would have had to pay around £47,000 more in landfill tax without the recycling,” said Poole.
Gloucester Quay’s staff collect the waste from the back of each retailer’s premises, where they have their own recycling and waste bins. Figures show that last year the centre recycled 525 tonnes of waste and disposed of 152 tonnes as non-recyclable waste, making an overall recycling rate of 77%.
The importance of Education
Tenant education in sustainable practice is crucial, in fact without it, says Poole, you will not achieve your waste management and recycling goals. Poole and his team provide an on-going education programme. “Tenants understand the importance of recycling and waste management and we encourage ‘buy-in’ by making sure they fully understand our Waste Strategy through regular updates regarding waste costs, recycling rates and money saved through recycling.
“They are usually happy to conform to our Waste Strategy, and indeed failure to comply would mean a tenant having to make their own waste removal arrangements,” he says.
An important part of the centre’s Waste Strategy includes understanding where recyclable materials end up and how they are used, to ensure they are making the right environmental decision. Grundon is able to satisfy this by providing a comprehensive waste audit.
Regular monthly meetings are held with the Grundon team in an effort to continually review reducing costs and impacts on climate change as well as to discuss policy and progress. “Gloucester Quays is working towards a 90% recycling rate, and in order to achieve this it is important that we work closely with Nick Poole to make sure the centre can achieve the maximum benefit from their waste implementation programme,” says Grove.
When the centre’s new £60 million leisure quarter opens in the Autumn/Winter of 2013, to include a 10 screen cinema and 11 new restaurants, the waste management challenge is going to escalate and change direction. Poole explains: “We have had minimal food waste to deal with up to now, as the majority of units are designer, home and leisure outlets. So now we are looking at a comprehensive food recycling programme to be ready in time for when the new facilities open.”
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