News in brief | CIWM Commercial Partner Updates


News updates from CIWM’s commercial partners.

Derby waste handler becomes “first to process” washroom waste with innovative green tech

Derby-based Go 4 Greener said it will become the first to process washroom waste with waste management technology, thanks to a £1.25m investment from Wayne and Samantha Turton, owners of Go 4 Greener Waste Management.

The commercial waste management and recycling organisation specialises in providing complete, independent waste solutions to businesses throughout the East Midlands and the rest of the UK. 

Recently crowned East Midlands’ best commercial waste management company at the Environmental Sustainability Awards, Winners of Recycling Excellence and shortlisted for two other categories at MRW’s National Recycling Awards – Go4Greener is committed to recycling and disposing of waste in the most sustainable ways possible.

As part of this commitment, the company has signed an eight-year contract with biotechnology business Advetec to convert offensive washroom waste into Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), supporting its bid to send zero waste to landfill, transition to a circular economy and help customers with their ESG goals.

The contract follows a month-long trial to ensure the technology suits operations and supports their goals.

Each year, Go 4 Greener will process up to 4,000 tonnes of offensive washroom waste, which includes hand towels, nappies and sanitary products, with Advetec’s largest aerobic biodigester, the XO22. The X022 will operate on-site at Go 4 Greener’s facility in Derby.

Using the technology, Go 4 Greener will turn waste once destined for landfill or incineration into nearly 2,000 tonnes of high-quality Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) each year. SRF is a greener alternative to fossil fuels and replaces coal in energy-heavy industries, such as cement production.

The technology will enable Go 4 Greener to offer carbon reductions and greater cost certainty, as well as assist with Scope 3 carbon emissions reporting for customers in the hospitality, retail, commercial and education sectors.

Advetec’s biotechnology reduces the mass and volume of waste by 50% and 70%, respectively, offering a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to landfill and Energy from Waste (EfW). For every two tonnes of waste processed by the technology, 1.2 tonnes of CO2 will be saved (compared with landfill or low-level incineration).

The process digests the organic fraction of the waste using unique blends of naturally occurring bacteria and stabilises the waste. The floc that’s left will be used as a coal replacement product – each tonne of floc used as SRF will replace 0.5 tonnes of carbon-emitting coal.

Samantha Turton, managing director of Go 4 Greener, said: “Green is in our name, and we’re always looking for ways to accelerate our journey towards Net Zero and support our customers in doing the same. As our awards success demonstrates, we strive for excellence, and now the ability to turn waste into a commodity on-site will help us to add real value to our customers.

“Historically, the high moisture content of offensive washroom waste meant we had no choice but to dispose of this waste via landfill or EfW incineration. Advetec’s XO22 changes all that. It allows us to stabilise costs in the face of rising EfW gate fees, reduce our carbon emissions and crucially, support our mission to send zero waste to landfill.”

Speaking on behalf of the management team at Go 4 Greener – which consists of Conor Benton – operations manager, Tim Richardson – general manager and Ed Freeman – finance director – Conor said: “This new breakthrough of technology is going to be by far one of the biggest stories and revolutions to washroom waste that will be talked about for years to come. From start to finish, working around the clock providing and managing innovative solutions to our waste sector problems, we have finally got the results we need.”

Lee Knott, Advetec’s chief executive officer, said: “Go 4 Greener is building an impressive reputation as a business with a finger on the pulse of waste innovation and sustainability, as this industry-first proves. Their energy and focus on driving innovation and delivering more to their customers are infectious. Our technology is a natural fit for such a forward-facing organisation.

“The Advetec XO22 will allow Go 4 Greener to move towards a more circular ethos, diverting waste from landfill and supporting the decarbonisation of heavy industries by turning waste once deemed worthless into a valuable fuel alternative. I’ve no doubt the technology will contribute greatly to their continued success and will be well received by their customers nationwide.”

AMCS acquires FigBytes to reinforce its commitment to ESG Solutions for its customers globally

Net zero

AMCS, a global supplier of integrated cloud-based software and vehicle technology for the environmental, utilities, waste, recycling, and resource industries, announced today that it has acquired FigBytes, creators of the leading Sustainability Platform for impact-focused organisations, for an undisclosed amount.

This is the second strategic move for AMCS in the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) space, following the acquisition of Quentic in June 2022. These recent acquisitions highlight the company’s commitment to invest globally in the environmental services industry.

The strong market presence of FigBytes technology in North America is complementary to the presence AMCS has established in Europe. AMCS said this acquisition will enable it to better serve clients around the world with cloud-based SaaS solutions that help them reach their sustainability goals and manage increasingly complex regulatory reporting requirements.

“Our mission is to create an environmentally sustainable future for our clients and their families, and we are excited to have FigBytes join us in these efforts,” said Jimmy Martin, CEO of AMCS. “This acquisition underscores our mission to provide integrated, secure, and future-proof environmental software solutions that help clients across the globe accelerate their growth and sustainability.”

The FigBytes platform will further strengthen AMCS’ current offerings for ESG reporting and data management and complement the company’s existing capabilities. AMCS now has ESG expertise spanning Europe and North America and can offer global solutions for sustainability and compliance to customers, encompassing all the regulatory considerations of the different regions, it said.

For example, the new mandatory EU CSRD regulation will affect most companies at different times in the future. These companies must manage their ESG data and ensure auditable reporting through the ESRS reporting framework. For effective data management and accurate reporting and to fulfil requirements related to this regulation and others, FigBytes provides added value for AMCS customers.

“For nearly a decade, we have equipped sustainability leaders everywhere with robust tools, resources, and expertise in order to put their ESG and sustainability programs into action,” said Ted Dhillon, CEO and co-founder of FigBytes.

“The combination of FigBytes’ award-winning Sustainability Platform and the AMCS suite of Environmental Software Solutions provides organisations with a unique, compelling offering and one of the clearest digital pathways to a more sustainable future while enabling them to comply with ESG regulations around the world. I’m incredibly confident that our alignment with AMCS will unlock tremendous opportunities for organisations to make an even greater positive change for people and the planet.”

Opinion | Re-Gen – Investing today to meet the challenges of tomorrow

The UK is facing a raft of legislative changes that over the next 5 years, will see significant changes to the requirements for household waste recycling.

As well as target increases for packaging waste, the addition of plastic film and flexible plastics from 2027 will see a need to be able to manage these materials, a major challenge for many operators where the equipment is not designed for lightweight flexible materials.

Should the proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) ever be implemented will require the identification of labels for relevant materials left in the mixed recyclables. On top of this, the ever-increasing rate of landfill tax will continue to add pressure on local authorities to maximise recycling levels.

Comingled collection of household recyclable waste has long been recognised as the optimum way of achieving high public participation rates. Many Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs) operating today are using equipment that can be two decades old or more but the last 5 years have seen advances in technology that can now offer huge improvements to the quality and yield from mixed household recyclables.

This will require additional focus from 1 October this year when The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 come into force which will substantially increase the reporting and quality control requirements for badly invested MRFs (Material Recycling Facilities).

Whilst these do not directly apply to Northern Ireland from October, Re-Gen receives much of its waste from Councils in England and Wales and is prepared for this, operating one of the most advanced waste sorting processing facilities in the UK. This has been designed in-house with the flexibility that has enabled Re-Gen to incorporate the latest innovation to maximise recyclable output.

Much of this innovation is designed to better analyse and understand the nature of the waste being sorted to enable flows and processes to be optimised as well as to feed back to client authorities on the quality and composition of their waste. This helps Councils to identify issues and consider potential solutions such as targeted public communication.

AI has become a topic of widescale debate, especially with concerns over its potential misuse. But it is now making inroads into the waste industry and Re-Gen has implemented the Greyparrot system in a section of our MRF for a trial run.

This system utilises cameras that continuously monitor waste throughout the sorting process, enabling continuous quality assessment and control. Linked to automated sorting technology, this constantly refines the level of separation and quality output.

The sorting technology Re-Gen will soon trial incorporates robotic arms as part of its continuous analysis process. We believe AI and Robotic Arms could reduce dependency on manual sampling, a requirement that will become much more onerous under the extended producer responsibility (EPR) amendment from 1 October.

Linking all of this together through SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) provides a level of continuous monitoring and feedback that is constantly analysing operational efficiency and comparing input to output to maximise yield and quality.

Re-Gen’s vision is of continual improvement in recycling across the UK and Ireland. With our current success in achieving zero landfill through our MDR, we want to continuously collaborate with customers to sustain this achievement in domestic mixed dry recycling.

We do this through a programme of constant investment in technology in our state-of-the-art recycling plant in Newry, Northern Ireland that not only meets today’s expectations but will be well placed to meet the challenges that these aspirations along with new legislation and environmental pressures, will bring.

Opinion | Re-Gen – Responding to claims by British Glass that commingled collections and the PRN system disadvantages UK recycling

Re-Gen glass

British Glass and WRAP have expressed concerns about the collection of household glass in commingled recycling bins and suggests that glass recycling will be unable to achieve the desired recycling rate of 90% by 2030.

However, the recently released household waste statistics indicate that commingled collections achieve the highest rate of recycling, and Re-Gen, who operate one of the UK’s most advanced sorting facilities, believe that with the implementation of Simpler Recycling, 90% can only be achieved through commingled collection. Re-Gen currently achieves a 90%+ remelt rate with customers High5.

British Glass has also expressed concern over the amount of cullet that is being exported, depriving the UK container glass manufacturing industry of a much-needed raw material, but this is simply the laws of economics.

For local authorities, the key issues are cost and the recycling rate, which is a combination of participation and yield. The export of glass from commingled collections achieves a better yield for remelt than in the UK, where much of this material would be used for less environmental non-melt applications. There is also the fact that UK consumers consume (and make available for recycling and remelt) different colours of glass than that required for domestic glass production as shown below:

For households, participation is maximised through commingled system simplicity. Commingling reduces the number of bins and minimises the complexity for householders. It provides flexibility through its extra capacity to add materials or reduce the number of materials as will be required should DRS ever take place. The more the materials have to be separately stored and presented by households, the less the participation and the greater the problems of bin space, especially in tight urban areas.

The key to successful commingling is the quality of sorting to ensure a quality of output that can meet the raw material specifications of the reprocessing sector. Re-Gen’s investment in sorting technology enables it to achieve a high quality glass for which there is strong demand in Europe.

However, exports still account for a relatively small proportion of UK packaging glass recycling. British Glass compares the rise in 2022 exports from 2021, but as the graph below shows, exports have remained fairly consistent for some years, and the 2022 rise is the first year where a small rise in exports appears to have led to a dip in UK processing.

Source: Day Group Glass report Feb 2023

British Glass states that ‘the UK glass packaging industry is ‘reaching crisis point’ as the PRN system is encouraging the export of glass which could be used by UK industry’. Of the 1.9m tonnes collected for recycling, UK glass production only needs 1.7m tonnes, so at least 200kt will always go to export. As an example, UK consumers buy a lot of green glass bottles (wine), but the UK does not have a wine production industry of an equivalent size. Re-Gen believes that the problem does not lie with the PRN system but with UK reprocessors not being prepared to pass on the PRN value that is needed to invest in sorting technologies.

The PRN system is designed to help the UK meet recycling targets by providing increased value for packaging waste when the target demand exceeds supply. Because of the short-term nature of the system, prices can fluctuate in relation to the perception of the balance created by quarterly data and market assumptions. In 2022, this saw a leap in glass PRN prices in an expectation of a shortfall in the amount of recycling needed to meet targets, and as with all materials, suppliers will seek the best price available.

The graph clearly shows a link between PRN price and export volumes, and exports only rise if the exporters are able to get more of the benefit from the PRN than they get by supplying UK reprocessors.

The glass collection and processing sectors have not been seeing the benefit of the higher PRN prices being passed down the chain by the UK reprocessing sector. UK operators will only export if the economics are more favourable than supplying UK reprocessors. The cost base for overseas reprocessors is considered to be no higher than that for the UK. Questions must therefore be asked as to why the UK reprocessors are not prepared to pass the increased value of the PRN back down the chain to where the investment is needed to increase collection to meet current and future targets.

Re-Gen has invested millions in their state-of-the-art sorting facility, which is capable of creating high quality glass from household commingled recyclables. It has to see a return on that investment by obtaining the best price available for sorted materials. There are stringent quality controls applied by the regulators on the export of glass to ensure that exports cannot be used as a dumping ground for material unsuitable for UK reprocessors. And of course, all exported material is used in the manufacture of new bottles, much of which then ends up in the UK.

UK reprocessors would achieve significant energy benefits from the use of more cullet, but until there is an equitable and competitive sharing of the PRN value, UK post-consumer glass will continue to be exported for recycling. And while councils seek to achieve the highest recycling rates in the most cost-effective way, commingled collections are likely to remain the predominant collection method for all recyclables, including glass, especially as new sorting and AI technologies develop

Major Milestones… Record-Number of Container Floor Refurbishments at UKCM

UK Container Maintenance (part of the IEG EMEA Group) has noted a considerable surge in demand for its metal container floor replacement service.

Over the past 12 months, the company has refurbished 4,000 otherwise redundant containers and fitted them with a new base, securing significant savings for its customers in excess of £250,000. In addition to the vast cost-saving potential released when unlocking the capital tied up in damaged units by restoring them to full working order, major environmental gains have also been achieved.

Throughout the refurbishment process, the durability of the floor is enhanced with lead-free anti-corrosive paint. Corner enforcers can also be fitted within the container to strengthen the newly installed floor, ensuring the longevity of the asset.

Ben Connett, Director at UKCM commented: “It is always a pleasure to reflect on key milestones that our skilled team members have reached, and to celebrate the impact that they have made. The container refurbishment process opens up the opportunity to deliver various enhancements in areas such as safety and compliance, security and asset longevity, as well as fulfilling an ever-increasing commitment to reuse and recycling, therefore contributing to the circular economy.

“While a damaged lid is a more common repair, containers with damaged floors are often abandoned and therefore it’s encouraging to see such a significant number of containers coming into our factory for a second life.”

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 UK brands include Duraflex, Taylor,  Capital Compactors & Balers and UKCM.

Peter Dennis

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