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Zero waste at RWM 2012

11 September 2012

As a projected 700 exhibitors and 14,000 visitors gather in Birmingham this week at RWM 2012 - the resource and waste management exhibition - the show’s NEC home has announced that it has achieved ‘zero waste to landfill’ two years ahead of schedule.

Kathryn James, Managing Director, the NEC, said; “We are thrilled to have achieved our zero waste to landfill goal ahead of schedule affirming our greener venue credentials. It is testament to the work undertaken by ‘Team NEC’ to significantly reduce and recycle our waste as well as choose suppliers who share our vision.

“It is fitting to announce this achievement at the Recycling and Waste Management exhibition, one of many shows with a green and sustainable focus which the NEC is set to host over the next 12 months. We’re committed to making a difference environmentally through waste management and reducing carbon emissions, and achieving zero waste to landfill demonstrates our efforts.”

“We are delighted that the NEC has set such a great example,” said Alison Jackson, Managing Director of the RWM in partnership with CIWM event. “For the UK’s largest event venue, the amount and diversity of the waste created is a challenge and we applaud the focus and effort that has gone into achieving the ‘zero waste to landfill’ target in such a short time.”

The NEC has reached its ‘zero waste to landfill’ goal in just three years. In 2009, an on-site Waste Pre-Treatment Centre was opened with a target to be recycling 50% 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 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.

“As a result of these efforts, we were recycling just over 40% of our waste by the end of 2011 and so we set a new target of becoming a zero landfill venue by 2014,” explained Steve Cartmell, Cleaning and Waste Manager, the NEC. “We were in the process of tendering a new Soft services Facilities Management contract during this period, and once the successful bidder had been chosen, we quickly started working with them to achieve the target.”

The result is that a minimum of 50% 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 our centre is sent for further sorting to a local Materials Recycling Facility. The facility recycles between 70% and 90% of the waste it receives, with residues going to the local energy-from waste plant.

The NEC is also attracting an increasing number of trade shows with a green and sustainability agenda, with three such events - Recycling & Waste Management, The Energy Event and a new show, The Renewables Event – happening in September alone.

“This announcement underlines the growing importance of waste and resource management, and the contribution that this dynamic and growing sector can make to helping UK plc to realise the environmental and economic benefits of adopting more sustainable practices,” said Steve Lee, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, who are partners in event alongside the Environmental Services Association.

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