Bywaters’ solution to paper coffee cup recycling

Bywaters, London’s largest undercover waste management company, is piloting a solution designed to overcome the difficulties of recycling paper coffee cups on UCL’s campus in London.

An estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year, creating around 25,000 tonnes of waste.  In March the Government’s Environmental Audit Committee launched an inquiry into the impact of cup waste.  This has prompted the need for a sustainable solution to their disposal and recycling.

The difficulties in recycling paper coffee cups are two-fold – in their composition and in any contaminants.   To make paper cups waterproof, card is fused with polyethylene, a material that is difficult to separate from the card.  In addition, some discarded coffee cups are used as mini litter bins and contaminated with discarded food.  For these reasons most disposable paper coffee cups are sent with other general waste to landfill or taken to local waste energy plants for conversion into refuse derived fuel (RDF) to generate electricity.

In an innovative new scheme involving a partnership between Bywaters, Facilities Management partners Sodexo and Tenon Groupand UCL, students at UCL are being given the opportunity to make a sustainable difference to the way in which used paper coffee cups are processed.

The scheme is a two month pilot which, it is hoped, will confirm the viability of rolling out a permanent paper coffee cup recycling service. Various factors are to be assessed including what mixture of cups are to be collected, weekly quantities, cost of logistics and how to remove contaminants.  The scheme is to include all paper coffee cups, paper soft drink cups, paper vending machine cups, and paper water fountain cups from UCL’s buildings in central London.

Bywaters is to provide the logistics and collection of paper coffee cups to be converted into high-end products such as shopping bags and perfume boxes.   Bywaters will collect the designated bins then bale up all paper coffee cups to a mill where they will be pulped and the polymer plastic liner separated so all the paper fibre can be recovered and recycled.  Paper cups tend to contain a very high grade of paper and this trial will allow recovery of the paper cups as high grade paper, which has a higher value than lower grades.

Hannah Biggs from UCL said: “Our sustainability team has worked with student communications to design posters and circulate key messages around UCL to encourage staff and students to use the designated paper coffee cup recycling bins located around UCL’s buildings.  We are proud to be working with Bywaters in spearheading a straightforward scheme like this which could have such a positive effect on London’s environment.”

Bywaters’ Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in East London is capable of processing up to 650,000 tonnes of material a year, recovering over 95% of collected materials including plastics and paper.  The company’s aim to help all clients achieve at least 80-90% of their recycling targets through continuous innovation.

John Glover, Managing Director of Bywaters, said: “This particular initiative of recycling UCL’s paper coffee cups is all about changing attitudes and behaviours to increase UCL’s recycling rates.  We have a specially-trained team of ”Green Gurus” who are embedded on client sites to help our clients and their staff to adopt new practices in sustainability, recycling and waste management.  The waste industry in general has a bad name and we want to change all that with our higher standards of professionalism through consultancy and training.”


Bywaters supports facilities managers by motivating staff to recycle

Bow, London 22 May 2017: Bywaters, the company operating London’s largest under cover materials recycling facility will be exhibiting at the 2017 Facilities show at Excel in London on 20-22 June. Members of the Bywaters team will demonstrate their ‘Green Guru’ educational service to promote recycling and reuse and demonstrating an innovative new waste audit app that delivers same-day reports.  Other cutting-edge recycling and waste management solutions and expert knowledge of the waste and recycling industry will be shared with visitors to Bywaters’ stand at Q1160.

Responsibility for recycling and waste in multi-tenanted buildings can mean FM’s managing multiple suppliers, each with different measurement standards, which makes performance benchmarking almost impossible.  Bywaters helps its clients, particularly in multi-tenanted buildings, by placing its “Green Gurus” (environmental experts) on client sites to educate, inspire, monitor and implement waste reduction programmes for banking, hotel, hospital, government and corporate clients, embedding best practice behaviour amongst staff.

Using just one waste management company to handle waste for a multi-tenanted building means one point of contact, one central report and one supplier to manage. Environmental performance can be tracked and evaluated in a more standardized, quicker and easier way.

Promoting best practice in sustainability, persuading staff to think and behave in a more environmentally-friendly way can be supported by Bywaters’ Green Gurus ongoing education and communication programmes to reinforce key messages.  Waste tracking and weighing systems can monitor and measure waste production and contamination with pin point accuracy using a combination of managed services with integrated Green Gurus, ‘bag and tag’ systems, branding and signage, bar coding, compactors and containers as well as legislative guidance and consultation.

Bywaters’ Green Gurus can intervene where necessary and improve recycling rates if they fall below target in any particular department or area of a building.  An advanced weigh-bridge system is also being developed which will act as a complete auditing tool, giving precise real-time data on waste activity so FM’s can measure their impact, cost and compliance.

Mark Harbard, Associate Director at Bywaters said: “Our specially-trained teams of ”Green Gurus” are embedded on client sites to help our clients and their staff to adopt new practices in sustainability, recycling and waste management. Education is a big part of what we do and the level of training Bywaters has provided for Guys’ and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is now seen as the benchmark for environmental education within the NHS – to the extent that Bywaters has been shortlisted for a prestigious NHS Sustainability Award.”

Facilities Managers can see for themselves how waste audits can be carried out accurately in the morning and final recommendations delivered later that same day using Bywaters new and innovative mobile app.

Bywaters  is an award-winning waste management company delivering bespoke recycling services for a range of public and private sector organisations in and around London and further afield. The company has won the Champion of Champions at the Green Apple Environmental best practice awards as well as three Green Champion awards, two gold and two silver prestigious Green Apple awards for their pioneering approach to the environment and their role in helping to improve London’s air quality.

The company brings a partnership working approach to every contract providing technical, legislative and value added support with a focus on continuous improvement. For example, at Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust, overall recycling rates were increased by 20% in just one year. Other customers include Land Securities, Houses of Parliament, BNP Paribas, Transport for London and University College London.

Facilities Show stand at Q1160.

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