At your disposal

On September 28, new waste regulations come into play… Stand Out looks at waste management policies and how best you can manage waste…

When it comes to recycling waste at events the UK is behind Ireland. In Ireland, organisers must recycle the waste generated on-site. It’s law. So says Pat Ryan, managing director, Ryan’s Cleaning.

“The old philosophy of let’s hump it and dump it has gone to the wayside,” he tells Stand Out. “The UK is a bit behind the Irish set up. We’re being proactive rather than reactive.”

That said, Ryan’s has had an incredible year, increasing business substantially – 200 per cent up on 2010. And it’s because UK event organisers are realising the need to recycle more and more. This year, Ryan’s Cleaning has for the first time worked with Relentless Boardmasters, High Voltage, Wilderness and Hop Farm. Its Recycling Rocks event recycling arm had great success when trialled at Download. At V Festival Staffordshire it helped the organisers to achieve a 47 per cent recycling rate. This is compared to an average 35-40 per cent recycling rate achieved at the beginning of the festival season. 2011 has seen an increase in cardboard and food recycling with V Staffordshire alone producing 8.5 tonnes of food waste.

Ryan’s Cleaning has recently opened an office in Birmingham to service UK operations, and it will be managed by Alex Leake. As well as this news, as I chat to Ryan, I learn that he is en route to Clapham Common to provide services at Sainsbury’s Super Saturday, which is being produced by Live Nation.

How you choose to dispose of waste is a mind field. But despite the headaches they must be dealt with all the same, forming part of a comprehensive waste management plan.

From September 28, The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 will come into force. For businesses this means that those handling waste must comply with a waste hierarchy – prevention, prepare for re-use, recycling, recovery, disposal – unless it can be proved on technical or environmental grounds that this is not appropriate. Waste transfer notes will require confirmation that the waste hierarchy has been applied and as of January 1, 2015, any business collecting waste must have measures in place to collect paper, glass, metal and plastic separately. If you use a waste management company then it must offer a separate collection of these materials. So, organisers, if you do not separate waste already then you may as well start, as soon it will be law.

Pick and mix

CLA Game Fair appointed Smiths Waste Management as its event waste management partner for the event at Blenheim Palace in July. Event recycling is a growth area for the company, yet it provided a fully managed service to the fair, allowing it to increase the percentage of recycled products through a number of waste streams. Earlier in the year, it worked with the Kelmarsh Country Fair and achieved over a 60 per cent recycling rate. All traders were issued with clear bags for their recyclable waste. Similarly M J Church offers organisers the option of daily trade cardboard collections to increase the amount recycled. It has recently serviced the Royal County of Berkshire Show, and for the second year running it has worked with the Paralympic GB team at its training event at Bath University.

Tackling the problem

The Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP) in conjunction LOCOG has launched a free online app for the events industry that will help event organisers to create action plans for managing and reducing waste. The Event Resource Management Plan (RMP) tool, which has been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark, is designed to help event organisers, venues and suppliers in their pre-event procurement and  waste reduction activities, in-event waste recycling and post event materials re-use and recycling. Organisations seeking BS 8901 certification can also use the tool to demonstrate compliance with elements of the standard.

Figures show that while some of the sector has achieved as much as a 50 per cent recycling rate in events, many are averaging at just 15 per cent, but the sector is demonstrating a motivation to adopt more sustainable practices as many are now adopting the British Standard.

The tool has been subject to a number of stringent user acceptance trials by key industry partners, including LOCOG, but also by a number of other event organisers which include Live Nation, Manchester City Council and Coca Cola GB whose experiences of working with the tool are available to download: sustainableevents.

David Stubbs, head of sustainability, LOCOG, believes that factoring in aspects of sustainability is a real challenge for event organisers, particularly where there is a large supply chain involved.

Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) is one such event, and a large supply chain is one way of describing an operation that requires an extensive build and breakdown.

Jonathan Smith, head of operational development at FIA, says that in 2008 the show produced 2,000 tonnes of waste. In 2010, this figure was reduced by 500 tonnes. Next year, the FIA team is looking to reduce wastage even further with a view to being a non-landfill event in 2014.

For the 2012 event, branded bins will be in place for unwanted papers, newsletters and literature. Smith is currently liaising with all exhibitors – “creators of the problem” – to reduce the amount of paper. He is also talking to sponsors regarding the use of bio-degradable carrier bags and Melville is supplying 100 per cent recyclable carpet. With regards to toilets, the operations team is looking at toilets that use less water and water-less urinals too.

This is a popular option, adds Robert Limbrick, sales and marketing manager, Andyloos, which recently supplied toilets to BBC Proms in the Park, London. Its Poly-Vac system uses less water than conventional toilets and is a popular option amongst organisers. This year, 25 per cent of the toilets supplied to the Proms were eco-friendly. Andyloos is adding to the fleet and more will be in the market next year.

Smith continues: “We have a two-year cycle so we can look at measures and there’s time to implement them. At the moment, we have a top five priority list – the bulk of waste comes from contractors during the build and break down.”

That is Smith’s key focus, but food waste is also on his list of problems to tackle. He is talking to Compass about food packaging, as he recognises that there is a significant problem with food waste on public days of the show. During the trade days, food is cooked to order and so the waste coming out of the chalets is not that bad, he adds. Half eaten burgers and sandwiches that contaminate waste bins are though and so it needs to be tackled.

Smith concludes: “There’s no reason why we can’t eliminate landfill. Next year, by the time the show opens, we will be BS 8901 certified. We can’t deal with what’s flying about in the sky but we can control the exhibition halls, and so when we come to tender for 2014 and 2016 contractors should not be surprised if the standard is on the list.”