At West 12 Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush, London, education in waste management practice has become part of the daily routine – which is probably why the Centre is achieving such impressively high recycling rates.
The Centre, which first opened in 1967, was significantly redeveloped in the 1990s and now boasts a 12 screen, 2,500 seat multiplex cinema, and health and fitness facilities, in addition to over 40 retail outlets. It is a neighbourhood shopping, leisure and entertainment complex, open from early morning until late in the evening, so it goes without saying that it produces a lot of waste.
Championing the waste management strategy at West 12 is Operations Manager, Cyrus Annan, who works alongside Grundon Waste Management, which has secured the Centre’s recycling and waste management contract for the next three years.
Last year, up to September 2013, the Centre was producing 290 tonnes of waste, of which it recycled just 19%.
Cyrus Annan says: “We recognised it was time for a change and with Grundon’s expertise, towards the end of 2013, we put together a new waste strategy in an effort to increase our recycling rates. We knew that any new system would have to be robust and decided on some radical changes in our practice. It was therefore critical that we got our tenants on board and not just the managers, but all the staff as well.”
The comprehensive education process began by holding a Waste Forum. Cyrus explains: “It is one thing talking about waste, but quite another understanding about it. We organised an educational forum, to explain where all the waste went to and what happened to it when it left the Centre, as well as explain ways to minimise waste contamination.”
A waste management handbook was compiled for the staff, setting a target of increasing the level of recycling to 60% by the end of April 2014. This target was broken in record time, in just two months, as Steve Hill from Grundon confirms: “As at April 2014, the Centre is now achieving a recycling rate of 82%, saving them more than £3,000 each month on waste management disposal costs.”
This dramatic change started back in November 2013, with the implementation of a colour coded bin system recommended by Grundon: brown for food; blue for glass; black for general waste, including non-recyclable plastics and polythene; green for mixed recycling, including cardboard, paper, aluminium and steel cans, plastic bottles, newspapers and magazines.
Clear bags are used for glass and mixed recycling, which goes into two compactors sited in two waste yards. Black bags are used for general waste and biodegradable bags for food waste. The coloured waste bins are located at the back of the retail outlets, each relating to their specific waste requirements.
Grundon produced posters depicting the colour coded system and these were placed at eye level in every retail outlet in a further effort to make life as easy as possible for everyone to comply with the new system.
Customer generated waste was also addressed at the concept stage of the waste management strategy. It was decided that, unlike staff, it is extremely difficult to educate the public to use different waste bins and the decision was made to provide slim bins for all types of waste, which is subsequently sorted behind the scenes.
The Centre doesn’t just want to do a good job at recycling, it wants to do an excellent job. This is undoubtedly driven by Cyrus’s infectious passion for the new recycling and waste management system, which he drives into every member of staff. His plan is to reduce general waste collections down to two days a week, then one day, with the ultimate aim of zero general waste.
Cyrus and the Centre Duty Manager run a daily Waste Management Tour, visiting all the staff in each retail outlet. As different staff work on different days of the week, then different staff at the weekends, out of necessity the process is ongoing. And it is working well, with managers and staff coming up with new ideas and suggestions and any issues of concern being quickly addressed and dealt with.
Steve Hill says: “The system has worked really smoothly from the outset, with no contamination issues. Often when you change a service so completely you would expect that, but the Centre’s robust educational system is clearly working very effectively. ”
West 12 Shopping Centre is owned and managed by Land Securities, the largest commercial property company in the UK.