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Bunzl recycles more than 80% of single-use plastic cups at Lord’s

Bunzl Catering Supplies has announced the results of phase two of its recycling initiative with Lord’s Cricket Ground, in conjunction with Simply Waste Solutions (SWS) and Closed Loop Environmental Services (CLES).

Phase two of the recycling initiative found that more than 80% of Bunzl’s single-use plastic cups were collected for recycling by positive picking. The positive pick involved volunteers – from Lord’s, Simply Cups and Simply Waste – collecting and segregating single-use plastic cups from the stands, while engaging with spectators regarding the recycling initiative.

This follows phase one of the recycling experiment, which set out to observe the effect of newly designed recycling bins. The result demonstrated the general public’s willingness to participate in recycling and proved that spectators would correctly recycle plastic cups if given the opportunity to do so in an easily accessible and understandable way, thus standing the partnership in good stead for phase two.

The first stage of the phase two trial involved a positive pick following the T20 Blast match between Middlesex and Somerset in the 2016 season, where the partnership implemented positive picking of plastic cups from the lower Grand Stand and Compton Stand.

The second part of the trial took place during the lunch and tea intervals on day one of the England versus Pakistan Test Match and saw active picking of plastic cups in the lower Grand Stand.

Collection of cups at breaks during the games reduced rubbish build-up, reducing the cleaning burden post-match. It also provoked a positive reaction from the spectators, who were pleased to see Lord’s and its suppliers proactively tackling recycling. In fact, several assisted with the effort, collecting all plastic cups within their vicinity.

Russell Seymour, sustainability manager for Marylebone Cricket Club, says, “Waste management and recycling has to be a key concern for sports venues. We all want to minimize the amount of waste that we generate but sometimes single-use disposables are still the best option, but you then have to take control of that waste stream to ensure effective capture and recycling of the material. Our work with our supply chain partners shows that the majority of our single use plastic cups can be captured by a combination of public involvement and active management creating a functional closed-loop system. The challenge now is to scale-up this trial to the whole venue in a cost-effective way.”

Joanna Gilroy, head of sustainability for Bunzl Catering Supplies, adds, “I am really proud of what we achieved at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Effective recycling of any material or product requires collaboration from multiple stakeholders. We constructed a team consisting of our own colleagues, staff from Simply Waste Solutions and Closed Loop Environmental Services, and volunteers from Lord’s, to work together with a common goal – to get the spectators at Lord’s to think about the consequences of where and how they throw things away. We were not sure how the spectators would react to our presence in the stands, but it was wonderful to witness the positivity from everyone we engaged with, actively helping us collect the cups and contributing to us smashing our recycling target.”

The recycling experiment follows Bunzl’s work with Lord’s in 2015 to re-imagine and re-design the way cardboard waste is dealt with, by creating a cost-effective solution to segregate out cardboard waste as a clean stream with closed-loop potential. The initial six-week trial generated significant results for the venue – an 18% saving on waste collection costs, as well as complete visibility over how much material was collected from site and where the material was sent for recycling.


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