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Plastic Reduction

Bywaters’ Fight Against Plastic Pollution

As London’s leading recycling and waste management company, Bywaters is at the forefront of initiatives to reduce plastic use. Every year at our facility in Bow we process over 6,000 tonnes of plastic waste – including around 75 million plastic bottles and almost 184 million plastic bags. 100% of this plastic waste is sent to recycling service partners within the UK.

But in order to save our oceans, we must reduce our reliance on plastics, not just find effective solutions to recycling plastic waste. This is why we have committed to reducing our own use of plastic, and hold regular events and waste awareness days to educate our clients to do the same.

What we Do

With as broad an issue as plastic pollution, it’s not enough to focus your efforts in just one area. Our approach – spearheaded by our team of Green Gurus has been to combine investing in our facilities to divert as much plastic waste as possible for recycling, at the same time as reducing our own plastic use to ensure we’re part of the solution, not the problem.

Here’s a breakdown of the actions that Bywaters is taking in order to recover plastic from our clients’ waste, while reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in ours:

In order to ensure as much plastic waste as possible is recycled or reused, we have invested in industry-leading facilities to separate plastic waste from mixed recyclables, which can then be sent across the UK to be recycled into a wide variety of new products.

Additionally to the plastic waste generated by our clients, much of the plastic waste recycled by Bywaters is recovered from beaches and riverbanks across the UK during our regular beach cleans. Through these we help to stop more plastic ending up in the world’s oceans and raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution.

Sorting Plastic into 3 Different Streams at our MRF

The jewel in Bywaters’ crown is our solar powered Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Bow. Last year, this facility segregated nearly 6,500 tonnes of plastics for recycling, and we’re making constant improvements to raise its output.

One of the central problems with recycling plastic is the variety of different sorts of plastic there are. In order to be recycled efficiently, and prevent further plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, plastic waste must all be of the same type (e.g. milk bottles in one stream, drinks bottles in another).

This means that after plastics have been separated from mixed recycling waste, they must go through an additional process to separate them from each other. Using high-tech optical sorters, our MRF is able to sort plastic into three different streams:

  • PET

    PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, is a form of plastic used make most bottles for soft drinks, and is also used widely in the manufacturing of clothes. PET plastic can be recycled into new bottles and containers, as well as fibres that can be used to make new clothing.

  • HDPE

    HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is used in the manufacture of durable packaging, along with toys, chemical containers, and plastic pipes. Recycled HDPE can be used to make milk bottles, cereal box liners, plastic shopping bags, and shampoo bottles.

  • Mixed Plastics

    Our MRF bales all plastics that aren’t PET or HDPE together in order to transport them to specialised facilities for separating hard rigid plastics from each other. These plastics will then ultimately be recycled into a variety of items, including packaging, insulation, and t-shirts.

Making Plastic Recycling Possible

Our MRF carries out the first stage in the recycling process: sorting plastic waste into different streams. This enables more efficient recycling, and more durable end products, further down the supply chain and reduces the number of new plastic products being manufactured.

It would be wrong for us to work towards reducing our clients’ plastic pollution, and to fight against single-use plastics across the UK, without doing everything we can to cut plastic waste from our own operations and services. This is why we set about completely eliminating the need for single-use plastics for all of our staff.

Internal Removal of Single-use Plastics

We have partnered with KeepCup to provide reusable cups to all our employees, and now supply a free customised cup to every member of the Bywaters team, including all new starters. In addition to a KeepCup, our staff are also provided with a reusable branded water bottle – therefore ensuring that nobody at Bywaters has any need for single-use plastic.

The results of this initiative have been impressive – saving over 400kg of plastic from our company waste streams every year. This equates to a reduction in carbon emissions of 1.4 tonnes each year associated with the production and disposal of the cups and bottles that would have been used.

Additionally, our partnership with KeepCup goes beyond their provision of our customised cups. We process KeepCup’s waste at our facility in Bow, segregating materials that then become recycled packaging for future Bywaters KeepCups. This circular economy initiative keeps our cups as sustainable as possible.

Leading by Example

Bywaters always strives to be leading the field in sustainability, driven by a desire to inspire and drive positive change to the UK’s environment. Successfully eliminating the plastic waste produced by our staff through drinks bottles and coffee cups is just one example of our commitment to a more sustainable future.

Our Commitment to a Sustainable Future

All the effort that Bywaters puts into fighting against single-use plastic pollution is driven by our passion to build a more sustainable world for future generations. We cannot keep polluting the world and its oceans at our current rate, and a significant reduction in plastic use is both possible and achievable.

If you would like to find out how Bywaters can help your business reduce its plastic use, or simply how you can improve the sustainability of your waste management service, then get in touch today.

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