By engaging with occupiers, Workspace has significantly improved recycling rates across its network of business centres. Alongside improvements to facilities, recycling roadshows have proven to be a great way of getting people’s attention. Workspace’s business centres have typically seen a 10% increase in recycling after roadshows.
ZERO WASTE DIRECT TO LANDFILL
66% OF ALL WASTE RECYCLED IN 2017/18
135 OCCUPIER RECYCLING SURVEY RESPONSES
12 RECYCLING ROADSHOWS ANNUALLY
Workspace owns and manages a network of 66 business centres in London, home to 4,000 companies. Workspace aims to reduce the environmental impact of both its own activities and those of its occupiers, through its ‘Doing the Right Thing’ strategy.
Workspace’s long-running occupier engagement programme on recycling is a team effort driven by Support Services engaging employees, from Facilities Management to cleaning operatives. The team recognised the opportunity for increased recycling to both keep service charge costs down for occupiers and reduce environmental impacts.
Workspace engaged with waste contractor Bywaters to identify opportunities to increase recycling. Firstly, Bywaters carried out a waste audit at multiple sites, looking at waste streams and quantities. Facilities teams provided input on issues and opportunities at a site level.
As a result, waste streams were simplified to:
Workspace's Support Services team developed:
Workspace and Bywaters engaged with facilities teams through meetings, emails and monthly updates, and provided them with:
In all centres, facilities teams:
On an ongoing basis, facilities teams and Centre Managers continue to:
12 centres held recycling roadshows in reception areas in 2017/18, giving occupiers the chance to:
Initiatives to gain insights for future activities included:
Targets for 2019 include:
Building on the success of the occupier engagement on recycling, Workspace is also exploring additional opportunities. In 2018, all Facilities Managers and Centre Managers took part in head office training sessions, where they discussed ideas for events, competitions and initiatives to encourage people to cycle to work, save energy and reduce, re-use and recycle waste. Workspace has developed posters around these messages and, informed by feedback from the training sessions, is developing a resource library of ‘Recipe Cards’ to make it easier for centre staff to organise events.
How to improve waste data accuracy?
Waste data is a challenge across the UK, often based on volumes or estimates rather than accurate weights. Workspace is working closely with Bywaters to improve data quality, checking how much has been accurately weighed during monthly meetings. Workspace set a target for Bywaters to measure 75% of waste by weight (rather than volume / estimated) by September 2017, which Bywaters achieved. They are now working towards 100% by July 2019. Bywaters is investing in a new fleet of vehicles with enhanced weighing equipment. Bywaters has also introduced a new online portal where Workspace, Facilities Managers and Centre Managers can easily review performance data for individual sites and groups of sites. This follows the principles set out in the Managing Agents Partnership Reporting Framework. The Bywaters portal is very visual, making it easier for Bywaters and Workspace to engage with site staff.
How to partner with waste contractors on recycling?
Workspace has incorporated performance indicators into the contract with Bywaters, with tiered incentive payments if they surpass recycling targets and penalties below 60% recycling. Monthly review meetings were key to driving progress in the first year. For instance, one business centre has a narrow access route and, if any cars are parked along it when the recycling van visits, the recycling cannot be collected. Initially this resulted in recycling being collected on an emergency basis, which meant it went in with general waste. However, after this was highlighted in monthly meetings, Bywaters’ collection teams made a concerted effort to collect recycling, including waiting beyond the standard time where possible. Bywaters is also reviewing which sites would be most suitable for waste compactors to reduce waste collection frequency.
How to create a better food future?
Around 20 of Workspace’s business centres have a café on site. 80% now recycle food waste in kitchens and occupier areas, with food waste going for anaerobic digestion. In 2018/19, Bywater will set up food waste collections for remaining suitable sites, identified in waste audits. Events with North London Waste Authority to encourage food waste recycling have also been held at three centres. In February 2018, Workspace sent all café managers a sustainability survey to gain insights into additional opportunities. 75% responded:
In 2018/19, Workspace will engage with café and catering partners on sustainability matters. This will build on the success of Workspace’s engagement on sustainability with Vacherin, the catering company that operates most of the cafés. Sustainability was factored into the tendering process. Vacherin has already introduced a plastic straw ban, serves wonky vegetables to reduce waste, runs red meat free Mondays and sources 90% of meat and dairy products from the UK.
Energy & Sustainability Manager
T: 020 7369 2258
Robbie MacVicar, Director at Overnight Site, Kennington Park
“We’re always looking for ways to make a positive difference and reduce our environmental impacts, so we were really pleased to engage with Workspace on recycling. This is something our colleagues care about – no one wants waste to go landfill or end up in our oceans. Workspace is making it easier for us to do the right thing every day.”