Peter Matthews, General Manager - Castlepoint Shopping Park, Bournemouth
Castlepoint Shopping Park in Bournemouth, one of the many clients that have accurate bin weight figures provided by Eco Food Recycling
Castlepoint Shopping Park in Bournemouth opened in 2003 and with 645,000 sq ft of retail space is the largest shopping park in the UK covering 41 acres. Peter Matthews, General Manager, arrived in 2005 and soon had recycling on his agenda.
Before 2006 the centre had no recycling policy and disposing of waste was a major expense and was growing annually, even something as basic as cardboard was being collected at a cost to Castlepoint. The success of the recycling project undertaken by Peter Matthews and his team has been quite staggering in the following years. From 100% waste to landfill in 2005 Castlepoint have reached the heady heights of 61% recycled last year and are looking to have over 70% of the Shopping Parks waste recycled by the end of this year.
Food waste was a stream that had always been sent to landfill however this all changed following an introduction to Simon Heaps from Eco Food Recycling at the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade’s Green Knowledge Network Forum. There followed several consultations as to how potential savings could be made if a zero waste to landfill policy was implemented for the food waste generated at the Park.
Initially the two principle restaurants , Nando’s and Frankie & Bennys, were selected for trial and supplied with three 240L wheelie bins each, bio-degradable bags and instructions on what could be disposed . The trial and weighing of the food waste began in August 2010, during the first four weeks 1.8 tonnes of food waste was collected by Eco Food Recycling . This convinced Peter and his team that diversion of the food waste stream would work and make a massive impact on their recycling figures. The second phase was rolled out in October when the three coffee shops, Costa Coffee, Cafe Nero and Thorntons, were introduced into the collection rota increasing the monthly tonnage to over 3 tonnes. For example nearly 100 kgs of coffee grounds are collected from each outlet weekly. That equates to over 15 tonnes annually.
The vision of Peter Matthews and his team then extended to the staff rooms at all of the retail stores within the Park. Eco Food Recycling were asked to provide kitchen caddies and bio-degradeable bags so that fruit, sandwiches and any waste food produced by staff could also be collected and recycled.
The introduction of this latest initiative within Castlepoint Shopping Park has resulted in over 6 tonnes of food waste being collected during April alone and in excess of 42 tonnes since Eco Food Recycling commenced collections in August 2010. With a “zero waste to landfill” policy being used these figures meant a total landfill diversion solution for the Park for its food waste.
The food waste recycling scheme was implemented by Eco Food Recycling by placing eleven 240 ltr food waste wheelie bins in strategic places around the confines of the Park convenient for the tenants to place their food waste bags into when full. The retailers were each supplied with bio-degradeable bags and 23 ltr kitchen caddies.
To make the initiative work it was vital to have the co-operation of all tenants and their staff. This was obtained after co-directors Simon Heaps and Andy Jones visited each unit on site before food waste collections commenced. Simon and Andy explained the reasons and benefits behind the scheme to each units staff and what was required from them to make it successful. With any such scheme it’s vital to communicate with every employee of each unit and fully explain how and more importantly why a scheme is being introduced.
“ Simon and Andy were instrumental in setting up our trial, speaking to the restaurants concerned and providing the necessary training to make the exercise a resounding success. We are very pleased that their hard work is starting to reap benefits for them, as much as it is for ourselves, in making the Centre greener. We are extremely focussed on our Centre footprint and will continue to support this initiative whilst encouraging other Shopping Centres to adopt the principles of this very worthwhile scheme” said Bill Riddle Operation Manager – Castlepoint Shopping Park.
He added “Staff soon became familiar with the process but were right behind the trial and wanted to play their part to make Castlepoint “greener”.
“Since the start of the trial in August last year , when we sent 1.8 tonnes of food waste to be recycled, we have generated 42 tonnes of food waste. This directly equates to the same reduction in tonnages sent to landfill without the additional costs. “
“ We asked Eco Food Recycling to give us exact landfill diversion figures which they did by using their own unique method of weighing each bin. With lightweight industrial scales that can be calibrated to the nearest 10 grams they provide monthly management reports showing bin lifts and weights collected. It is good to see a young vibrant waste company being set a target and delivering.”
Simon Heaps and Andy Jones, the joint Directors of Eco Food Recycling, looked long and hard at the best way to provide accurate bin weights for their clients, including Castlepoint Shopping Park, at the outset and were fully aware of the technology that is available as regards bin chips and on board weighing systems. However the industry is fully aware of the pitfalls and expense of installing and implementing such systems for small companies so another alternative was sought.
By using portable and weatherproof industrial scales on their vehicles they are able to accurately report to their clients the weights that have been lifted and subsequently diverted from landfill. Clients are charged on a bin lift pricing module and not by weight.
By offering these landfill diversion figures which can also be used for a carbon footprint reduction analysis they are able to offer something that is unique within the food waste collection industry.
Local media coverage has highlighted Castlepoint for their “green initiatives” along with enhancing the growing reputation of Eco Food Recycling as a leading independant food waste collection and recycling company in the South of England.
Simon Heaps said “ When we first spoke to Peter Matthews we found somebody who was fully focused on increasing the Parks recycling percentages but needed to find a sustainable solution without increased costs. We found the assistance of the tenants was certainly helped because of the strong recycling ethos at Castlepoint and the fact that they were already segregating and recycling other waste streams within the Park so the introduction of food waste collections and recycling was easy to implement.”
“Nowadays with so many local authorities collecting food waste and mixed recyclables residentially it came as no surprise to the tenants staff that they were being asked to adopt commercial recycling within the Park. Without their support and assistance this would have been a lot harder.” he added.
Eco Food Recycling who operate a food waste collection and recycling service covering Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Sussex dispose of their food waste at a local IVC ( in vessel composting ) facility near Bournemouth Airport run by Trelawney Dampney and his Eco Sustainable Solutions team where the food waste is turned into compost. During the early part of 2012 Trewlawney will be opening an AD plant nearby, and the Castlepoint food waste will be destined for renewable energy.
For any Shopping Centres or Parks that are thinking of introducing food waste collections the benefits are clear to see :
- Landfill diversion – helping the environment and making your operation “ greener “
- Increased recycling figures – Using media coverage to your advantage.
- Cost neutral benefits from day one which can result in decreased ongoing costs going forward as landfill tax increases year on year
- Interaction with tenants and their staff
Peter Matthews had the final word. “ We asked Eco Food Recycling to increase our recycling figures ,which they did. We have had over 42 tonnes of food waste diverted from landfill to date and our costs have not increased. I see this as an easy to implement blueprint for other shopping centres around the UK to follow and would encourage others to follow suit.”