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Continuously Improving Sustainability

March 18th, 2015 by

We consider environmental responsibility to be a cornerstone of good corporate citizenship. As an organisation we have consistently taken actions since our inception which have minimised our environmental impact. This is exemplified by our decision to only supply sustainable plastic roadway products. Throughout a contract we will continue to champion sustainable practices to all clients, alongside taking actions to minimise the impact of each event.
We have identified three key environmental impacts on each event, and have detailed below the actions we will take to achieve continual improvement in these areas:
Waste - The primary waste stream is damaged panels. Be it through miss-use or simply excess wear, individual panels will reach the end of their operative life and therefore need to be removed from use. We will control this waste stream using the following approach:
Reduce: Our first goal is to maximise the operative life of each panel, with our target of ten years of consistent performance for every panel. This will achieved by promoting best practice in their use. This means ensuring our team handle, install, and remove panels in a conscientious manner which does not lead to damage being incurred. It also means working with other delivery teams to ensure everyone on site adheres to proper usage practices for the products. We are currently achieving an average panel operative
life of seven years, and increasing this to ten years will have a significant impact on the amount of waste generated over the life of the contract.
Recycle: Our panels are all manufactured using secondary HMPE plastic. Once a panel is deemed unfit for further use it is stockpiled with other damaged panels at our depot. When a suitable volume has been compiled to allow for economic transport, the panels are shipped to our manufacturer in the Netherlands or to a UK based plastic recycling firm where they are broken down and introduced into the manufacturing process as a constituent material. In this way we have achieved ‘zero waste’ in our primary waste stream.
Water Usage – Given the nature of the sites these roadways are installed on, each panel can be subject to significant soiling during even short duration event. Each panel must be cleaned before it can be reissued to site to ensure performance, and this cleaning process can require a significant volume of water. Standard practice within the industry involves using industrial strength pressure washers to clean panels. These use a significant volume of water per panel and promote inefficiency and wastage.
Recognising the ecological impact of the volumes of water which were required to clean our panels, in 2009 we began investigating alternative solutions. We worked in collaboration with a local supplier of cleaning equipment to develop a bespoke automatic ground plate cleaning machine which operated using recycled rainwater. This £60,000 system was based upon existing ‘Rotawash’ technology, but was refined to suit the exact characteristics of our road plates.
The clean water supply is harnessed via a rainwater collector and the waste water is filtered through a series of filtration tanks. The filtered water is passed back into the system ready for the next batch of soiled ground protection plates. At full speed the system can clean up to one hundred 3-metre plates in just one hour.
Carbon Emissions – The large geographical area covered each contract may necessitate significant vehicle miles being travelled for each event. Combined with the weight and size of the individual products required on the project, this could lead to significant levels of harmful emissions being created in the mobilisation and removal of each event product package.
Management of the carbon footprint of the contract must therefore be a collaborative activity which encompasses every party to an event. We work in partnership with the event management team to ensure every hire package is delivered with the minimal carbon footprint.
This will mean not only considering the distance between our depot and the event site, but also the transport method used by that supplier. For example as our panels weigh only 18% of the average weight of a metal panel we are able to use smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles to transport our products; or transport a significantly larger number of panels on the same vehicles as other firms. This means our panels can travel significantly farther for the same level of carbon emissions, making their introduction into an event further afield a sustainably viable option.
Sustainability Strategy
We recognise that our business activities have an impact on the environment, and is committed to improving the environmental impact its operations and services have on the environment, and to minimise the potential harmful effects wherever possible.
We are also committed to comply with all current and future environmental legislation. We will focus on continual improvement in the following areas of action:
Procurement – Continue to procure products made using recycled materials, driving towards the goal of 100% recycled content. Working closely with all suppliers to minimise outer packaging and promoting the use of recyclable materials to reduce the burden on landfill.
Distribution – All deliveries will be allocated to suppliers/ vehicles based on minimising the emission of the delivery as a whole. Where applicable we will specify Euro V classification vehicles be used. We will work in partnership with our logistics supply chain partner to promote investment in fuel efficient, low carbon transportation.
Recycling – All damaged/ end-of-life road panels will be transported back to the manufacturer for reprocessing as constituent materials in future products. All outer case packaging on products is sorted into paper and plastic and stored on site and collected on a monthly basis for recycling, thereby reducing the burden on local landfill sites.
Energy Use – All fixed site will appoint an ‘energy champion’ to lead the efficient use of equipment and lighting.
Usage – Continue to use recycled water to clean panels using the Rotawash system. Work with supplier to improve system efficiency.
Ecological Impact – Work with individual landowner during design to assess the potential ecological impact of our products and operation, and design responsibly based upon these constraints.
Supply Chain – Have regular dialogue with our suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure that they are making attempts to replicate our own working practices.
Community Support – Where possible we will support local charities and community groups by offering products and services at cost, on loan, or free of charge at our discretion.

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