Sustainable partnership creates true recycling heroes

Within the first 12 months of a partnership between Lyreco, Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP), and DPD, the logistics business had already boosted its recycling rate by 48% at six key sites. This significant milestone on DPD’s vision of becoming the ‘the greenest delivery service on the planet’ comes as the business analyses environmental gains against a roll-out of RCP’s Slim Jim Recycling Stations across its 84 depot locations.

To date, 20 facilities have benefited from the introduction of RCP’s effective and space-efficient recycling system, as part of a staged installation process, which will continue through 2022.

Every month, at each site it’s installed, the recycling system diverts 0.5 tonnes away from general waste disposal. On completion of the roll-out across all DPD sites, over 500 tonnes of waste every year will be diverted to the circular economy rather than going to general waste disposal.

The path to these significant improvements in recycling efficiency is thanks to a true Love Recycling Hero, Elissa Underhill, National Account Manager at international distributor Lyreco. Understanding DPD’s fierce commitment to the issue, Elissa was on the lookout for opportunities to support and partner with her client on its recycling efficiency goals. Identifying where the logistics business may not yet have been reaching its full potential, Elissa worked closely with the experts at RCP, a leading international manufacturer of waste and recycling solutions, to uncover impactful changes for DPD.

Using RCP’s free digital environmental audit tool, the team quickly highlighted the environmental and business savings that could be made. Together, DPD, RCP and Lyreco identified the most troublesome sites in terms of recycling and waste, where lack of consistent compliance with DPD’s best practice recycling procedure was causing an issue. Visits to these sites confirmed that switching to more effective recycling stations would have a big impact.

With a pilot scheme rapidly green-lit, and six tonnes of waste diverted from general waste disposal within the first months of Slim Jim Recycling Stations being introduced to the pilot sites, proof of concept was clear.

Olly Craughan, Head of Sustainability for DPD, commented: ‘’Taking a fresh look at our recycling systems with Lyreco and RCP’s support is just one example of our commitment to reducing DPD’s impact on the environment by continually reviewing our processes. Introducing Slim Jim Recycling Stations has made a tangible difference with residual waste reduced by a third on the sites where the bins have been installed and individual sites achieving recycling rates over 90% against our achieved business target of 70%.

‘’What’s more, it’s a move that makes clear financial sense. In addition to environmental savings, we’re seeing 27% cost savings of not sending waste to general waste disposal, which means we will recoup our investment within a year.’’

Ben Clibbery, End User Development at RCP, said: ”Not only is RCP helping our customer partners take control of the growing complexity they face every day in their waste management and recycling needs, but we’re incredibly proud that our innovative products are taking them one step closer to meeting their ambitious sustainability goals.

‘’This has been a great example of partnership working, with Elissa at Lyreco leading the charge to make a real difference. As a result of her tireless dedication to recycling and sustainability, we were proud to see her crowned a Glass Hero in the recent Love Recycling Heroes Awards.’’

The Love Recycling Heroes Awards celebrate the individuals championing commercial recycling and pioneering sustainable practices and processes in the workplace.  During its inaugural awards this year, the initiative received an impressive number of nominations from countless industries across Europe.

On winning Hero status, Elissa said: “Committing to sustainability is all about creating a better, safer planet and environment for everyone. Whether it’s our customers, our suppliers or our employees, together we can all make a difference to protect the planet and make it a better, safer place for future generations.

“Being recognised for this commitment is to us vitally important as collaboration and sharing these innovations with our customers, such as DPD, is integral to supporting those businesses and the market sectors in which they operate.”

As part of the Love Recycling Heroes Award, Lyreco UK won £500 to donate to its charity of choice: Leicester Children’s Hospital. DPD generously matched the donation, enabling the hospital to purchase a new feeding chair for children with congenital heart defects.

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