Commercial Partner Updates | March


Updates from CIWM’s commercial partners.

CRJ Services Ltd | Is Britain’s waste problem moving in the right direction?

Waste crime

The UK is battling lacklustre recycling rates and increasing amounts of waste sent to landfills or incineration. It’s a setback that mustn’t go unaddressed candinavia is a waste management utopia with some of the highest recycling rates in the world.

Its success can be traced back to 1902 when Norway set up a bottle deposit return scheme that rewarded its citizens for returning refillable glass containers. By the 1970s, automatic reverse vending machines were installed across the country, and they remain in place to this day. Norway’s deposit return schemes have expanded to include single-use plastic bottles as well as cans.

Citizens pay a nominal deposit for containers, which is incorporated into the item’s price and reimbursed upon return. In 2021, an impressive 92.3% of containers were returned. Along with practical schemes, citizens have been offered incentives to make more sustainable choices, even being given the opportunity to enter a lottery for cash prizes ranging from 50 to one million kroner (£82,500).

Deposit return schemes have been implemented in 40 countries worldwide, but not in the UK, where a similar system won’t be rolled out until at least October 2025. With this lack of urgency, recycling rates across the nation have begun to lag. A new report from CRJ Services, one of the largest waste management and recycling equipment suppliers in the UK and Ireland, analysed seven years of waste collection data across dry recycling, organic, food and residual waste.

It found that of the 10 largest local councils by population in the UK, six have recorded a reduction in dry recycling since 2020, and seven have recorded increases in waste to landfill or incineration despite efforts to improve household recycling. The report delivers disquieting news, underscoring the National Infrastructure Commission’s recent calls for the government to implement legislation in pursuit of a 65% recycling rate by 2035. So, what’s going wrong?

“There isn’t a standardised approach from the central government across all councils to improve recycling and inform spending and saving,” says CRJ’s senior key account manager, Michael Griffin. “Education is another issue. People often don’t know what they can recycle, and the rules are different in different areas. Of course, there are also no real incentives for people to recycle, compared to the programmes we see in Scandinavia.”

Cost is another major barrier. Collecting, sorting, baling, marketing, and shipping recyclables requires a great deal more effort and investment than the relatively straightforward task of collecting and disposing of waste in a landfill or incinerator. Following budget cuts and funding restrictions, many local authorities have resorted to implementing fees for recycling collection services – a departure from the cash incentives on offer in Norway. Not unexpectedly, CRJ’s analysis suggests that implementing charges for households tends to decrease the overall amount collected.

Griffin notes that households that are most actively recycling garden waste are generally exempt from charges for collections. Among the 10 councils CRJ ana[1]lysed, Manchester and Leeds led in the collection of garden waste, where there are free services for residents. Sheffield, by contrast, records the lowest garden waste collection rate, with only 8% of eligible households opting for the service.

The difference? Sheffield imposes a yearly charge of £61.10 per household. Amid the ongoing cost-of-living squeeze, charging for what some may perceive as a non-essential service could effectively discourage recycling efforts and compound landfill waste in certain regions. This all leaves councils in a challenging position as they independently grapple to meet recycling targets.

“It doesn’t make sense that one council can process and charge whatever they want, and the neighbouring council will do something completely different,” says CRJ director Andrew Clarkson. “We need the central government to deliver a unified step-by-step plan for every authority, with strategic targets to hit by specific dates. If you just say we’re going to comply by 2035, everyone will do their own thing, and we won’t get there collectively.”

Lancashire Renewables, a division of Lancashire County Council that helps councils across the North West, has embarked on a partnership with CRJ, spanning several years. The aim is to lower the expenses associated with sending non-recyclable materials to off-takers while simultaneously boosting recycling rates. CRJ’s involvement encompasses strategic support, guidance, and practical solutions.

The firm recently supplied three innovative types of machinery, each designed to extract recyclable waste from the 200 tonnes of rejected material processed by Lancashire Renewables weekly, reducing waste and costs. But solving a problem in one place can make way for another elsewhere. The push for increased recycling means more machinery and, potentially, higher emissions — something that both councils and businesses are tasked with minimising. CRJ is helping them to achieve both goals.

“We work in partnership with companies to find solutions to their problems, and we’ve moved quickly to develop new equipment beyond traditional diesel-powered emission-generating equipment,” says Clarkson. The firm’s new hybrid slow-speed shredder combines a small diesel engine with an electric motor, curtailing exhaust emissions to bring companies a step closer to sustainable operations.

Compliance is another challenge facing local authorities. On 1st January, new legislation from the Environment Agency took effect, changing the rules for the storage and disposal of waste sofas and household furniture containing Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Largely invisible and highly toxic, POPs can have serious impacts on human health and the health of the planet, and incineration is deemed the only way to avoid contamination with other recyclables. CRJ’s response has been to develop a dousing system to reduce the release of POPs emissions into the atmosphere as materials are processed.

Clarkson points out that compliance doesn’t stem from legislation. Britain’s recycling rates will continue to suffer without public support and adherence to recycling rules. But it’s not as though the desire isn’t there, he notes. A study of 12,000 consumers across the UK, US, Germany, China, Brazil and Australia by manufacturing firm Amcor found that 76% of the population want to recycle more. Education on the issue is not a ‘nice to have’. It’s a must-have. Everyone knows the scourge of polystyrene on the environment.

“We need recycling firms and councils to go into primary schools and teach them about recycling,” says Clarkson. End-to-end collaboration is also key. “Manufacturers must think about how their products and packaging will be recycled and reused at the very beginning of the manufacturing process,” he adds. “It’s not just education of people, it’s education of businesses. If we combine that with a strategic approach from central government, we’ll be in a much better place.”

Nuclear Waste Services | The Strategy Series: Disposing of waste safely, permanently and sooner

Nuclear Power Plant

We’ve reached the last instalment of our Strategy Series! Over the course of the last few months, we’ve dissected our corporate strategy with some of our best experts, and as we step into 2024, we’ve got some exciting plans.

Our Corporate Strategy will help us to move forward in new, innovative ways with a refreshed focus on value and safety. With a newly integrated approach, we are in an even better position to make radioactive waste permanently safe, sooner.

To finish off, we’re speaking to Martin Walkingshaw, Chief Operating Officer, about the final stage of the waste management lifecycle – disposal!

Why do we have radioactive waste to dispose of?

We have a fascinating nuclear history in the UK; Nuclear physicists John Cockroft and Ernest Newton (working under Ernest Rutherford) split the atom in 1932 at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory, and kickstarted the UK’s journey to pioneer the use of radioactive materials and develop a whole new industry for the ‘nuclear age’.

Ever since then we’ve employed our nuclear technology for a range of purposes; In 1956 Calder Hall began operating as a full-scale nuclear power station and the UK has possessed an independent nuclear deterrent for over 60 years. It’s worth reflecting that every Government elected since WW2 has maintained the nuclear elements of our energy and defence policies and supported the development of nuclear medicine, as well as the use of radioactive materials in a wide range of industries.

I’d suggest that as a society, we’ve really benefited from nuclear advances. But that history, and our continued use of radioactive materials, means we have a growing legacy of waste which we now must make permanently safe. That’s where my role comes in – to close the loop and make sure people are protected now and long into the future.

How does radioactive waste disposal work?

The UK Radioactive Waste Inventory identifies 4,560,000 m3 of radioactive waste. And all of it requires careful management.

But first, we need to understand what we are dealing with. For example, what type of radioactivity is the waste generating and how intense is that radiation? We gain this knowledge from understanding the elements (or ‘radionuclides’) that are present in the waste and their proportion. From this information we can determine how long the waste will stay harmfully radioactive, (remember- radioactivity gradually decays over time) but we also need to understand the other physical and chemical properties of each waste form – e.g. liquid/sludge or solid – and what treatment processes have been used.

The non-radioactive (but still hazardous) properties of the waste need to be considered too. Once we understand (or ‘characterise’) the waste fully, we can treat it, appropriately, package it and transport it to be recycled, reused or disposed.

Once characterised and confirmed suitable for disposal, that’s when the waste comes to me! We bring all those factors together to understand the full inventory and find the most suitable disposal route. There are a range of solutions available including our Low Level Waste Repository site and our future Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

How do we manage our capacity for waste?

The Repository site has been the national disposal facility since 1959, ensuring that the UK’s low level waste is safely and permanently disposed of in a way that protects people and the environment. In other words, we know what we’re doing, and we’ve been doing it for a very long time.

That includes planning for the future. We’re always looking at treatment or other alternatives to disposal for waste that doesn’t need the protection of an engineered facility like ours. We’ve also started work on installation of the final closure engineering (capping) of historical disposal areas, and we’re planning the construction of future vaults to accommodate the waste that will arise over the next century.

Our future GDF deals with higher activity waste, and we are currently engaging with potential host communities to establish where it should be built. A key consideration for the GDF’s design is that it must have the capacity to deal with the ‘inventory for disposal’ that has been identified. Although the higher activity waste category is much smaller in volume than the waste we deal with at the Repository, it requires the additional protection provided by deep disposal in a suitable geology, and a portion of the waste is heat generating so we need to take that into account.

Managing radioactive waste safely is an effort that continues over multiple generations; We are the current custodians of these facilities, with a moral obligation to leave our sites better than we found them so our successors can take what we have done and improve it again. That way, we can create a chain of continuous improvement on our journey to dispose of our radioactive waste in the safest way possible.

What does ‘capping’ at the Repository site involve?

We’ve currently got close to a million cubic metres of low level waste permanently disposed of at the site. Whilst it is already safe, putting an engineered ‘cap’ over the top of it is an essential component of our Environmental Safety Case, it enables us to demonstrate that we meet all the requirements placed on us by our regulators, and that the site will be safe long after we’re gone. The cap will be made of multiple layers of strong impermeable materials to form the final barrier to protect the waste, while its radioactive content gradually reduces through the process of radioactive decay. The land above the cap will look like a natural feature in the landscape.

What is a Geological Disposal Facility?

The concept of using multiple layers or barriers also forms key part of the science behind geological disposal. A GDF is made up of a series of highly engineered vaults and tunnels between 200 and 1,000 metres below ground in a suitable rock formation. Combined with engineered barriers, this multi-barrier approach will protect the environment by keeping the waste isolated from the surface while the radioactivity naturally reduces to safe levels.

It’s a complex programme that will certainly take time to find the right location, build the facility and get it running. The findings from our site evaluation work will inform our decisions, for approval by UK Government, about the site or sites to be taken forward into the phase known as ‘site characterisation’.

This involves understanding the properties of the geology with detailed investigations such as the drilling of deep boreholes. We also have to consider logistics and transport, and potential local and environmental impacts. This isn’t something we can rush. Our next major milestone for the programme is to start deep sub-surface borehole investigations. You can learn more about GDFs here.

How do you make sure disposal is safe?

We also have a responsibility to demonstrate our disposal facilities are safe, not just to the public and the Government who fund the work but to the independent safety, security and environmental regulators, who we work with closely. The research we do internationally and in the UK is vital to support the evidence backed safety cases for all the disciplines of work across NWS.

At our Repository site we conduct extensive environmental surveys on, around and underneath the site, sampling the groundwater, soil, plants, vegetation and local produce. We also monitor radiation exposure to our workforce and take long term dose readings at the site boundary.

For the GDF and the Repository, the regulators need to be sure our proposals are safe in order for us to hold the licences and permits we need to build and operate them. We also need to create and maintain the Environmental, Nuclear and Operational Safety Cases that set out our models, all the pathways of possible exposure and the environmental impact of all our projects.

Once closed, our disposal facilities are designed to contain and isolate radioactivity underground by combining the use of engineered and natural geological barriers to prevent radioactivity from reaching the surface. This is known as passive safety and removes the need for human intervention while the radioactivity decays, keeping future generations safe.

Advetec | Know your waste and act now to avoid onerous penalties 

Energy from waste

Industry experts have urged independent waste operators to interrogate their waste streams and plan early to avoid onerous financial penalties when Energy from Waste (EfW) becomes part of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2028.

The warning was delivered during biotechnology business Advetec’s latest webinar, which was hosted earlier this month.

The 90-minute webinar explained how the inclusion of EfW in the ETS will impact independent waste operators, support a move towards more circular thinking and motivate the economy to find new, future-proofed solutions. It also addressed how these legislative changes will impact the wider waste landscape and encourage greater decarbonisation of industry and why independent waste operators must use the next four years wisely. 

The webinar revealed the complexity of the forthcoming changes thanks to an illustrious panel of speakers, which comprised Colin Church, CEO of IOM3, Samantha Riggs, Specialist Environmental and Regulatory Defence Barrister at 25 Bedford Row, Advetec’s Chief Strategic Development Officer, Dr Stephen Wise, and Emma Beal, Managing Director of West London Waste Authority.

The speakers’ key takeaways were:

  1. Beware of the financial ramifications of failing to comply with new regulations

Regulators have far-reaching powers to issue information notices if they require data from an operator or enforcement notice to enter a premises and conduct inspections. Refusal to provide information or the provision of misleading information could result in a civil penalty of up to £50,000, and operating without a permit can result in a fine of up to £20,000. As civil action doesn’t impact the court system, these penalties will be much easier to administer.

  1. Know your waste

Operators must understand their waste—exactly what they bring in and take out. Without a clear understanding of this, they’ll be at a massive disadvantage when regulatory changes occur. There are potentially hefty fines for those who fail to record data accurately, so it pays to be clued up.

  1. Act now

While 2028 may feel a long way off, the reality is that it doesn’t leave much time to innovate to navigate the sector’s significant changes. In 2026, fees will likely rise to subsidise necessary technological changes, so the sooner operators can begin to evolve, the better chance they have of transitioning without any issues.

Compounding the issue

Described as the most significant regulatory intervention to the UK waste industry in a generation, bringing EfW under the ETS will require independent operators to find alternative waste disposal methods if they are to protect their profit margins and prices. England’s Landfill Tax increase, cited in the Spring Budget, adds even greater pressure to this changing waste landscape.

Advetec’s Chief Executive Officer Lee Knott said, “Independent waste operators are caught in the middle of a rapidly changing legislative landscape, and the 20%+ hike on Landfill Tax is just the latest example.

“While we support the decision to increase Landfill Tax as it’s a crucial lever to move towards more circular thinking, it makes the operating conditions for independent waste operators incredibly difficult. They have to run their day-to-day business while implementing the changes required to comply with changing regulations and keep their pricing competitive. This is no easy feat.

“Waste operators who can balance cost efficiency with customer satisfaction and embrace a forward-thinking approach will be ready for legislative change and the rising cost of traditional offtake methods. One way they can do this is through greater use of innovation, especially of technologies that open other cost-effective offtake routes and the possibility of greater on-site segregation without requiring significant capex or passing costs to customers.

“Against a backdrop of legislative change – which includes EfW becoming part of the ETS, an increase to Landfill Tax and the decision to halve waste sent to landfill by 2042 – it’s clear that waste operators have no choice but to examine their long-term strategy, decide on the direction of their business, and look for alternative offtake methods. Few independent waste operators will be able to absorb these additional costs.

“Change is the new constant, so operators must educate themselves about all available offtake routes and call on the right partners for support.”

To see how Advetec could support your waste operation by turning unrecyclable waste into SRF instead of sending it to landfill or EfW, visit:

To watch Advetec’s webinar with MRW visit:

ISB Global | ISB Global achieves 43 percent revenue growth in 2023


ISB Global, the UK-based provider of software to the global waste management sector achieved 43 percent revenue growth in 2023 compared to the previous year, the company announced today. This growth was driven largely by ISB Global’s customer base of small and medium waste management operators in the UK, in which the company continues to invest resources and expert knowledge.

ISB Global is aiming for further revenue growth in 2024 with the US launch of its flagship product Waste and Recycling One (WR1) later this year. The launch will support ISB Global’s plans to expand its core client base in the UK, and to also expand its footprint in the US where the waste management sector is undergoing rapid digitalisation.

Commenting on the news, ISB Global’s Chief Digital and Transformation Officer George Slade said, “Across our company, we boast decades of technology and waste, recycling and environmental industry knowledge. Our products and solutions are specifically built to address the particular challenges facing waste management operators.

“Our commitment to small and medium-sized waste management operators was a key driver of our success in 2023, and we’re doubling down on this segment over the next 12 months. We constantly review the service we provide for our SME clients to ensure that our solutions continue to meet their requirements in a complex and ever-changing sector.

“Our products are nothing without the experienced and knowledgeable personnel behind them,” added Slade. “And as we see regulatory changes to initiatives such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) take effect, our unique positioning of waste management experts will prove to be vital. We need to keep innovating to ensure our market-leading WR1 solution continues to meet our customers’ needs – and anticipates their future ones as well.

“Introducing WR1 to the North American market will expand our client base and provide forward-thinking waste and recycling operators with much greater visibility and granularity across all of their operations.”

Slade’s appointment as ISB Global Chief Digital and Transformation Officer in May strengthened ISB Global’s leadership team by adding more than 25 years’ experience in technology and digital strategy.

Pritesh Pattni, CCO at ISB Global said, “George is well known in waste management and has a proven track record across Europe. His depth of knowledge of the waste management space and the technology that supports it, makes him a true visionary in the sector. Since joining ISB Global in May 2023, George has led our digital strategy, technology, and technical teams globally and enhanced the technological capabilities of ISB Global’s products.”

Pattni concluded, “The year ahead won’t be without its challenges. We expect legacy systems and changing EPR regulations to have a significant impact on the industry in the coming months. However, by offering waste management operators the means to gather, process and analyse their operational data in a more accurate and transparent way, we’re confident that we’ll continue on the strong performance and positive results that ISB achieved in 2023.”

WRA | WRA welcomes extension of RPS 249

WRA fence posts and decking testing

Following discussions with the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA), the Environment Agency has extended its regulatory position statement (RPS) governing waste wooden fence posts and decking from households.

RPS 249 – which allows household waste recycling centres (HWRCS) to move and process these potentially hazardous items as non-hazardous* – was due to expire at the end of March and has been extended until the end of September 2024.

The move was requested by the WRA to provide more time for the waste wood industry to sample and test this material to confirm what earlier tests have shown, that its hazardous content is diminishing and will no longer be there in future, as these items fall out of the waste stream.

More time is required because fence posts and decking are very hard to find over the Autumn and Winter and are expected to be more abundant over the Spring and Summer.

Under its Waste Wood Classification Project, the WRA has already narrowed down the list of potentially hazardous waste wood items from households to just two and has paid for the testing of hundreds of samples of fence posts and decking from around 40 WRA member sites who receive wood from HWRCs.

However, the association requires a further 2-300 samples from its members or members’ customers to ensure it has a robust evidence base.

Vicki Hughes, Technical Lead on the WRA Board, said: “We welcome the extension of this RPS which we requested to allow more time to identify, sample and test fence posts and decking. These items make up a very small part of the waste stream so it can be challenging to find them, especially in the colder months.

“However, it is imperative that our members who receive wood from HWRCs now take part in identifying, sampling and testing these items, using the WRA01 testing suite. This will give us the evidence we need to draw final conclusions before the RPS is withdrawn at the end of September, allowing us to keep these items in the waste stream rather than having to segregate them as hazardous.”

While the Environment Agency’s extension only applies to England, a similar position has been adopted by regulators in Wales.

There is no change to RPS 291, which governs potentially hazardous waste wood items from construction and demolition.

UK Container Maintenance | Strengthening heavy steel offering

Leading container repair and refurbishment specialist UK Container Maintenance, part of the IEG EMEA group, is bolstering its operations with the addition of a 1.5-acre storage facility, enhancing the firm’s capacity for the refurbishment of heavy steel containers.

The investment in the new facility, made by UKCM’s parent company Impact Environmental Group (IEG), will free up valuable space at UKCM’s main location for the repair and refurbishment of FELs (front-end loaders), RELs (rear-end loaders), skips, roll-on roll-off (RORO) containers, recycling banks and stillages. Significantly enhancing its factory output by almost 100%, the additional space will enable UKCM to refurbish over 100 heavy steel units per month.

The assets are refurbished at UKCM’s 80,00sq ft factory in Winsford, Cheshire which houses wash, shot blast, spray, fabrication and repair and modification booths, plus a comprehensive container testing facility. This move will allow customers to benefit from an enhanced refurbishment turnaround time, with the highly-skilled team targeting less than 14 days from receiving the container to dispatching it back to the client, once fully refurbished.

To back up this infrastructure investment, UKCM has employed additional welders, continuing its commitment to supporting the local economy.

Ben Connett, Director at UKCM, comments: “This latest investment represents a notable development. In addition to improving our customer service offering, we are significantly enhancing our capability and capacity in the refurbishment of heavy steel containers with the freeing up of space at our main site to allow for these larger units. We have had very positive feedback already from customers across the board who can see the immediate benefits it will bring.”  

Pete Dickson, Commercial Director at IEG, adds: “UKCM is the UK market leader for 4-wheel metal container refurbishment and this planned expansion is necessary for us to offer our first-class refurbishment services to our customers for their heavy steel containers too.

“We are very pleased to announce this landmark initiative, which reflects the group’s environmental ethos. The move reaffirms IEG’s commitment to investing in the future and sustainable waste management, thereby supporting the move towards a circular economy.”

UKCM is dedicated to refurbishing all types of waste and recycling containers, and works across the country offering waste companies and local authorities mobile repairs, as well as factory-based services at its head office located, in Winsford, Cheshire. 

The process brings old, and often unwanted, bins back to life instead of them going to scrap. Over the last 26 years, UKCM has saved its customers a massive £271 million with the repair & refurbishment of a notable 1.8 million waste and recycling containers.

UKCM is part of the Impact Environmental Group (IEG), a global environmental products and services business, providing a comprehensive suite of new and replacement products for waste and recycling containers, collection and compaction equipment, and waste transportation equipment. IEG EMEA’s brands include Duraflex™, Taylor, Capital Compactors and Balers and UKCM.

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