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SUEZ recycling and recovery UK

SUEZ House, Grenfell Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1ES
0800 542 3548

Sustainability is the only business case

Food service businesses across the South West are facing a growing threat of wasted food that’s harming their profits and the planet. SUEZ recycling and recovery UK decided to sponsor the Sustainability Awards 2024 as we are pleased to see local businesses focusing on more than just profit. Here at SUEZ, we follow a ‘triple bottom line’ approach, and it is great to see more businesses discovering how they can benefit people and the planet, whilst also looking at profit. Enthused to see this positive trend, we want to ensure that, as a local business community, we reinforce that sustainability is truly the only business case.

The triple bottom line is a more comprehensive way of measuring and managing any organisation’s performance. A business that seeks to balance people, planet and profit will make better-informed decisions about social, environmental and economic matters – the three dimensions of sustainability.

People are increasingly concerned about the climate crisis, and the impacts of what they buy, and who from. Not only consumers, but business clients too want to be sustainable and deal with responsible suppliers. What’s good for the community and the environment, is proving to be good for these businesses as well.

Independent regional food groups, like Taste of the West, promote and support fantastic food and drink from the local suppliers. By incentivising and recognising best practice through this network and the awards, is crucial to us at SUEZ. Surprising, we are a waste management company that strives to live in a world with no more waste!

When we minimise or eliminate waste from the start, we avoid the need for expensive recycling and treatment solutions. This translates directly to cost savings for our customers.

Employees also prefer working with an employer who wants to do the right thing. Knowing the company is helping the environment and the community is good for morale, gives people a greater sense of purpose, and provides opportunities to get involved in worthwhile local initiatives. It becomes easier to attract and retain good people and boosting productivity.

At a time when people are more aware than ever of ‘greenwashing’, it’s important to ‘walk the walk’ on sustainability. SUEZ does this by promoting waste prevention and re-use, helping companies recycle as much as possible, and by recovering value from their waste.

Managing our customers’ material resources, SUEZ safeguards the environment while reducing their carbon footprint. Many other activities also contribute to our triple bottom line, such as: promoting employees’ wellbeing, working with social enterprises and schools, staff volunteering in the community, and charity fundraising.

In Bristol, SUEZ has been using the city’s first waste-powered electric truck for collecting our customers waste since April 2022. Not only is this electric refuse collection vehicle (eRCV) much quieter than normal trucks, it is an exemplar of the circular economy in action. After around eight hours of emptying 200 bins and travelling around 85km, the truck delivers its load to the Severnside Energy Recovery Centre managed by SUEZ. The waste is used to generate electricity and the eRCV is recharged overnight, ready for the next day’s round.

Over a year, the truck is saving around 45 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of six households consuming fossil-powered electricity. It also helps local customers move toward its net zero target and reduces air pollution in line with the objectives of the Bristol Clean Air Zone, introduced in November 2022. 

Our nearby materials recycling facility in Avonmouth provides another carbon-saving example. A thousand solar panels were fitted to the roof in May 2023 as part of the company’s commitment to decarbonising our facilities and supporting the UK’s net zero goal.

SUEZ measure all activities that impact people and planet through a tool called, Loop, formerly known as Social Value Profit calculator. This is a process that gives these impacts a monetary value and we estimate our total contribution is over £2 billion a year.

In Devon, SUEZ delivers fun workshops teaching primary school children about the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ waste hierarchy. The aim, shared with East Devon District Council, is to encourage the next generation to be environmentally responsible.

Cornwall is a key region in the UK’s drive for carbon net zero by 2050. From floating wind turbines and biofuels to its lithium-rich granite, the county has an important role to play in the transition to clean energy. SUEZ too is reducing reliance on fossil fuels by generating electricity from Cornwall’s residual waste at the energy recovery centre in St Dennis. Enough electricity is created to power 21,000 homes each year.

Local schools also use the centre as an educational resource. Pupils investigate sustainability, harnessing energy, and resource management topics during teaching sessions, while local businesses and residents also join regular tours of the facility.

The company’s recent initiative in Cornwall for reusing materials means that old wetsuits are now accepted at recycling centres across the county. Launched in August 2023, the collaboration with Cornwall County Council and The Wave Project will see the wetsuits cleaned and repaired where necessary, and then sold at affordable prices. The revenue will help fund The Wave Project’s surf therapy sessions for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

An estimated 380 tonnes of neoprene wetsuits end up in UK landfill sites each year. The aim is to extend the trial across Cornwall’s recycling centres, before advising other areas how to follow suit. So far 785 wetsuits have been reused and directly created funding for up to 30 children to access their surf therapy intervention.

In Somerset, SUEZ supports local people and visitors volunteering to pick litter on beaches, streets and parks. We are providing litter picking kits as part of the #2minutelitterpick initiative. Notice boards around the county encourage passers-by to spend a couple of minutes clearing up nearby litter.

We want to celebrate the achievements and advancement in sustainable practices in the region, while extending our help to South West businesses. From waste prevention, and compliance with changing legislation to sustainable procurement.

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