NEC freezes waste management charges for 2013

NECThe NEC has frozen its waste management charges to organisers – the decision has been taken following the venue’s announcement that it has achieved its zero waste to landfill targets two years ahead of schedule.

“This is a great achievement for the venue,” says Steve Cartmell, cleaning and waste manager, NEC. “We’re committed to making a difference environmentally through waste management, and achieving zero waste to landfill was testament to our efforts. Now we’re starting to reap the benefits.

“Previously, we’ve seen a rise in cost annually due to inflation and a simultaneous increase in landfill tax. Now, because we’re no longer sending waste to landfill, we’re not taxed, so there’s no requirement to pass that cost on to clients.”

In 2009, an on-site Waste Pre-Treatment Centre was opened at the NEC with a target of recycling 50 per cent of the venue’s waste by the end of 2013.

In January 2011, aware that focusing on large items such as cardboard and metal was not going to be enough, a further initiative was introduced. The resultant in-house Take the Waste Out campaign has seen the facilities management team working closely with the catering department to segregate all catering waste at source into cardboard, glass, food, dry mixed recycling and general waste.

The result is that a minimum of 50 per cent of total site waste is recycled through the on-site Waste Pre-Treatment Centre and baled or sorted for collection by a network of local suppliers. Food waste is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant where it helps generate electricity for homes in Staffordshire and any waste that isn’t dealt with through the NEC centre is sent for further sorting to a local Materials Recycling Facility. The facility recycles between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of the waste it receives, with residues going to the local energy-from waste plant.

The NEC reached its “zero waste to landfill” in just three years, and from September to December 2012, recorded an average recycling rate of 87 per cent which included 108 tonnes of cardboard, 127 tonnes of wood and 43 tonnes of paper.

“Each exhibition is given a waste allowance but once that is exceeded, the organiser is charged a tonnage rate,” explains Janine Smith, senior account director, Venue Sales, NEC.

“Thanks to the progress we’ve made over the last three years, we’re now in a position where we can freeze our waste management charges for this year and the money can be re-invested into equipment and processes which will contribute to increased efficiency.

“We’re happy because we’re hitting our targets and more importantly, our clients are happy because their rates are frozen.”