News in brief | CIWM Commercial Partner Updates


News updates from CIWM’s commercial partners.

Advetec names Lee Knott as new CEO  

Business meeting

Biotechnology business Advetec, which turns unrecyclable waste into Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), has appointed Lee Knott as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Knott joined the business in 2021 as Chief Commercial Officer and succeeds CEO Jim Lovett, who will continue in an advisory role as an investor.

Lovett was at the helm of the company for four years, during which time he grew the business from an emerging tech start-up into an established and commercially astute business with growing markets in the UK and US, Advetec says.

Lee Knott, Advetec’s new Chief Executive Officer, said: “Jim has laid excellent technical and commercial foundations for the business, especially with the company’s commitment and investment in R&D and market insight.

Lee Knott, Advetec’s new Chief Executive Officer.

“This year, we’ll build on that legacy and focus on helping waste handlers urgently protect their bottom line as they navigate changing legislation and the pending introduction of energy from waste (EfW) into the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2028.

“Waste operators need to know that innovation can help them comply with new regulations, reduce the reliance on landfill and EfW, optimise performance, save money and reduce carbon – all with minimal risk. Waste innovation is accessible and affordable for all; it’s not only reserved for the largest waste businesses.

“Over the next 12 months, we have a strong pipeline of waste handlers set to come on board, and we’re ready to switch on J Witt Waste Recycling’s first biotechnology unit in the Spring. This is part of an eight-year contract to use our largest aerobic biodigester at full capacity, turning up to 10 tonnes of unrecyclable waste into SRF on-site daily.”

Investing in research and development has proven to be “hugely successful” for the company’s growth and will continue to be central to be its future, Advetec says. In December 2023, Advetec announced the successful completion of a trial to convert offensive washroom waste into Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) using biotechnology. Over the next 12 months, the business says it will continue the execution of turning black bag waste into SRF and scale its customer base.

Knott added: “Trials like these demonstrate our confidence in the technology and the possibility of processing other complex waste streams, particularly those where historically there’s been no choice but to send it to landfill or EfW. 

“Trial data creates new use cases and markets and gives waste creators and handlers a proven solution when they need it most. We’re confident we’ll see new waste streams processed with our biotechnology this year.”

Greyparrot Named to the Cleantech Group’s 2024 Global Cleantech 100

AI waste analytics platform Greyparrot announces that it has been named to Cleantech Group’s 2024 Global Cleantech 100.

The annual list, now in its 15th year, serves as a guide to the top private companies making significant contributions to sustainable innovation.

Greyparrot says the list showcases the innovators with outstanding technologies, original business models, and bold plans that can enable us to act on the ever-increasing climate and environmental crisis.

Greyparrot says its AI waste analytics platform, Analyzer, is addressing the global waste crisis by helping materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and packaging companies recover and recycle more resources, extracting the value of materials that historically end up in landfills, oceans, or incinerators.

It powers recovery and sorting solutions with AI-led continuous monitoring that is accurate at scale, covering 100% of recovered material with far less time and money, the company says.

Greyparrot says the platform currently analyzes over 75 billion waste objects annually and has helped customers direct nearly 70K tonnes of waste back into the circular economy.

“We’re thrilled that Greyparrot was selected for the 2024 Global Cleantech 100 list,” said Ambarish Mitra, co-founder of Greyparrot.

“The recognition from Cleantech Group reflects the real impact that our technology has on sustainability: by putting waste intelligence in the hands of the people recovering, redesigning, and regulating waste, we’re diverting reusable materials away from landfills to shape a more resilient and circular future.”

“These innovative companies are driving positive change and are at the forefront of enabling the global transition to a more sustainable future,” said Richard Youngman, CEO, Cleantech Group.

“The Global Cleantech 100 is a recognition of the market’s positive view on their progress to date and their potential impact in building a cleaner, decarbonized world.”

The 2024 Global Cleantech 100 will be recognized at the upcoming Cleantech Forum North America on January 22-24 in San Diego, CA. 

UK cleantech CEO calls for greater cooperation and investment from governments and business to solve global plastic pollution crisis

plastic bottles

As UN delegates meet to negotiate a global plastic pollution treaty, ISB Global head warns that recycling alone is not enough for the world to kick its harmful addiction to plastic

Late last year in Nairobi, Kenya, delegates from 172 countries met in the latest in a series of meetings convened by the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (UN INCPP) to negotiate a multilateral treaty to tackle the worldwide plastic pollution crisis. To date, ISB Global says progress has been held up by countries with large petrochemical sectors and also by lobbying from the plastic industry itself.

According to Chris Williams, founder and CEO of ISB Global, the UK-based provider of software to the global waste management sector, solving the world’s plastic waste problem needs a coordinated effort by governments at both a national and international level that includes investment and R&D into developing new biodegradable plastic alternatives.

“Plastic is convenient,” said Williams. “It’s cheap to produce, widely available and its properties and versatility mean it’s widely used for a range of purposes. But plastic is also a problem – how we produce it, how much we use, and especially how we dispose of it afterwards.”

“Plastic takes significant natural resources to make and takes hundreds of years to break down. In so doing, it leaches harmful chemicals into the air, soil, and water supplies. Plastic waste has even found its way into food chains, so that particles are now routinely found in both wildlife and humans.”

Williams went on, “We like to think recycling the plastic that we use solves the problem of plastic waste, but this isn’t the case. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), only 9% of plastic waste was recycled globally in 2019. This is currently projected to increase to 17% in 2060.

A 2021 paper by Professor Christos Tsinopoulos, Dr Riccardo Mogre and Onur Ağca at Durham University Business School found that only 6% of the nine billion plastic items produced since the 1950s have been recycled. More than half of these items have gone to landfill as waste.

Williams continued, “Kicking our addiction to plastic isn’t going to be easy. In Europe and elsewhere, plastic recycling is widely accepted. Years of work by governments and environmental groups have changed our throwaway habits so that many people now habitually ‘recycle’ their plastic waste.

“The problem with recycling begins after we put our unwanted plastics in the recycling bin. In the UK currently, the recycling ecosystem is so complex that the rules on what can and cannot be recycled vary depending on the street, town or region where you live.

“In addition, each year thousands of tonnes of supposedly ‘recycled’ plastic either ends up being incinerated or is shipped to other countries where we lose track of what happens to it. This plastic might still end up in landfill or being burned.”

“Don’t assume that recycling plastic makes a significant difference,” explained Williams. “Many plastics are not suitable for continual recycling and can only be recycled two or three times at most before they become unusable and need to be disposed of in another way. And all the while, we’re still manufacturing vast amounts of new plastic.

“The other major issue is the significant proportion of plastic waste that ends up in the world’s oceans. It’s well documented how plastic harms marine wildlife and pollutes undersea ecosystems. UNEP estimates that the world’s oceans currently contain anywhere from 75 to 199 million tonnes of plastic. It predicts the amount of plastic waste entering aquatic ecosystems could nearly triple from 9-14 million tonnes per year in 2016 to a projected 23-37 million tonnes per year by 2040.

“To solve the global plastic pollution crisis, we need a systemic transformation in the way we make, use, and then dispose of plastic. For consumers, this means the following:

  • Significantly reduce single-use plastics wherever possible
  • Reuse existing plastics wherever possible, to extend their lifespan
  • Be smart about recycling – that is, know what plastic types can and can’t be recycled

“For businesses, this means the following:

  • A shift to alternative packaging that is sustainable, compostable, biodegradable or
  • Review and assess both supply and sales chains for more sustainable approaches
  • Encourage customers to choose plastic-free options
  • Measure plastic use to benchmark progress in reducing its use
  • Encourage plastic-free habits in the workplace

“And for governments, it means:

  • Exploring better ways to manage plastic waste, including clean, low-emission waste-to-energy plants
  • Legislation on plastic issues – including banning single-use plastics such as cutlery and plastic bags: and mandating better packaging and single-use plastics among business
  • Lead on using recycled and recyclable materials in public infrastructure and other projects
  • Impose levies and fines to encourage plastic reduction
  • Work with business and academia to provide investment for the development of bio-based plastic substitutes
  • Work collaboratively with other countries to promote more coordinated production, reuse and safe disposal of plastic products

“For the world to kick its plastic addiction, governments and business must work together at a national and international level to, firstly, clean up existing plastic production and disposal processes: and second, invest in, develop, and adopting at scale biodegradable alternatives to plastic.

“Solving the plastic pollution problem is an essential part of the wider movement to a healthier, more sustainable, low-waste circular economy and way of life.”

Nuclear research academics share learning at NWS conference

Nuclear power plant

Nearly 200 nuclear waste experts, students and academics attended the Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) Research Support Office (RSO) annual conference in Sheffield from 11 to 12 January. 

The two-day conference saw talks, industry speakers and panels discuss cutting edge research on geological disposal, showcasing early-stage research into the topic, funded and supported by NWS.

Nuclear bodies in attendance included the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Office for Nuclear Regulation, British Geological Survey, National Nuclear Laboratory and the Environment Agency.

The event’s keynote speaker, Neil Hyatt Chief Scientific Advisor at NWS, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for true knowledge exchange between academia and industry, demonstrating the vibrant and diverse community we have built, and showcasing the hard work of the next generation of geological disposal researchers – it makes me feel proud and excited for the future.  

“We are the peak of innovation right now in our field, it’s such an exciting time to be working in nuclear. It was excellent to celebrate the work of our students, who will be our future workforce driving forward key research for fundamental programme, such as the GDF programme.”

Peter Keech, Nuclear Waste Management Organization, Canada, added: “The Research Support Office is an exemplar industry and academia interaction, and I’ve enjoyed the conference. It’s fantastic to see the UK and Canadian GDF programmes complementing each other, particularly as NWMO is looking for more international partners for academic research.  

“The learning I’m taking back to NWMO for academic engagement is to really encourage and enable interdisciplinary thinking across our academic community.”

The Nuclear Waste Services Research Support Office (RSO) is a collaboration between The University of Manchester and The University of Bristol that aims to harness UK university capabilities to help support radioactive waste management solutions.

Work begins to permanently secure low level nuclear waste vaults

The Repository, which is part of Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) and manages disposal of the UK’s low level radioactive waste, has started key work on the final capping of historic trenches and vaults which are now full and ready for permanent closure.

Disposal of low level radioactive waste began in 1959 with waste being tipped into lined trenches at the Repository site near Drigg, Cumbria. Disposal techniques evolved during the late 1980s and early 1990s through the construction of highly engineered concrete vaults.

This resulted in a modern approach to the treatment and safe disposal of low level nuclear waste in specially designed metal containers, which was placed in engineered vaults at the Repository site.

A long-term programme is now underway to permanently close the existing vaults and adjacent trenches – and initial work on the ground has now begun. This work is key to Nuclear Waste Service’s mission to make nuclear waste permanently safe, sooner, which is vitally important to the UK and future generations.

The project (Capping Operations) is a significant scope of work both in terms of scale and complexity.  The initial work of the Capping Operations is now progressing, and will take five years. This first phase, Southern Trench Cap Interim Membrane (STIM) project, will see a replacement membrane put in place over some of the trenches to continue to protect the waste and will remain in place for up to 100 years.

NWS says it has been engaging with the local community with drop-in sessions and site tours to share more details about what residents will see and hear over the next six to twelve months of operations.

Plans are in place to mitigate and minimise any associated noise, dust, traffic, ecological and visual impacts. For example, through the installation of noise barriers and visual screening bunds, regular noise monitoring of activities and a commitment to bring the majority of aggregate and materials to the site via rail. NWS will continue its commitment to proactively engage the local community.

NWS says it is also currently engaging with the supply chain to select the contractor for the next phase of the project, which is planned to be phased over four years and expected to commence late in 2024.

Sustainability expert Juliet Sotnick joins NWS board

NWS announces the arrival of Juliet Sotnick who joins the NWS board as non-executive director (NED).

NWS says Sotnick brings both sustainability and commercial expertise from a range of corporate management roles, most recently working at IHS Towers, one of the largest independent communications infrastructure companies.

Previous roles include Chief Sustainability Officer at Babcock International Group, where she designed and implemented a corporate sustainability strategy.

Sotnick has operated across a range of industries from telecommunications, aerospace and defence, civil nuclear, broadcast media and financial services bringing a wealth of experience to NWS.

Juliet Sotnick commented: “I am delighted to join the Nuclear Waste Services Board and to contribute to NWS’ objective to make nuclear waste permanently safe, sooner.

“NWS has an ambitious strategy, underpinned by sustainability in operational activities and in its objective to ensure and secure a future for domestic clean energy security. I very much look forward to contributing to NWS’ essential mission.”

UKCM unveils latest fleet investment

UKCM new fleet investment

UK Container Maintenance (UKCM), container repair and refurbishment specialist, has bolstered its distribution fleet with the addition of two new vehicles showcasing updated livery.

The Winsford-based firm has invested in a duo of state-of-the-art DAF trucks, introducing the first of the new fleet design since UKCM joined the Impact Environmental Group (IEG).

The re-energised livery, which incorporates the branding of the wider group and its UK-based companies, was designed by UKCM’s Finance and Operations Director Liz Wolstenholme, who is also the CPC holder for the firm’s operator’s license, and Liz Roth, Global Director of Marketing & Brand Integration at IEG.

The high-specification DAF XG480 vehicles, supplied by Rowleys of Northwich, offer optimal efficiency, safety and comfort; each is equipped with a 12-speed automated gearbox, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and forward collision warning systems, and are a Euro 6 emissions level, UKCM says.

Additionally, UKCM says the vehicles boast air management for ultimate aerodynamics, an air-suspended driver’s seat, and a luxurious XG new generation high roof sleeper cab, amongst other amenities.

Liz Wolstenholme, Finance and Operations Director of UKCM, commented: “This recent substantial investment, introducing to the business more enhanced and efficient vehicles, represents a significant move for UKCM as we embark upon the next chapter as part of the IEG group.

“The new additions, with their fresh look and nationwide distribution, will strongly cement our brand presence and wider offering across the length and breadth of the country.”

Liz Roth, Global Director of Marketing & Brand Integration at IEG added: “These state-of-the-art vehicles represent cutting-edge transportation technology and mark a significant milestone in introducing IEG’s family of brands together. With our updated branding, each vehicle stands as a testament to our commitment to excellence and our vision for a future where quality and sustainability go hand in hand. This fleet is more than just a means of transportation; it’s a symbol of our journey towards reshaping the industry and delivering unparalleled value to our customers.”

Peter Dennis

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