This Monday a group of King’s College Staff visited Veolia, our waste contractor who services all of Southwark. We got to see the processes our recyclables and general waste all go through (about 20,000KG each week) as well as all the sustainability work Veolia does.
If all the recyclables and general waste Veolia received went to landfill that would be the equivalent to 15,000 tonnes of CO2 each year but one of their main accomplishments is their lack of landfill waste. All general waste they receive are transferred to the SELCHPs (South-East London Combined Heat and Power) incinerator and produce heat and power (saving up to 8,000 tonnes of CO2 each year). Similarly other waste this yields has been used to produce steel and limestone to fill mine shafts.
To support local biodiversity Veolia has several schemes for wildlife. Birds, bats and beetles are all accommodated for with roosting boxes while on the flora end over 100 trees and 10,000 shrubs have been planted. Serum mats also provide an artificial, green roof habitat over the building’s rooftop.
The Southwark Integrated Waste Management Facility was built with sustainability in mind. 25% of the materials in its construction came were from recycled sources and its rooftop solar panels provide 20% of the buildings energy requirements. Meanwhile grey water is used for car washing and toilets in the resource centre while smart taps limit any fresh water use.
The Veolia plant also does plenty to educate local members of community. They hold regular site tours to those interested but they put notable effort in appealing to primary schools to engage with young children about the importance of recycling properly.
While we can always improve our waste management systems (only a third of what Veolia receives is put in recycling bins) it is good to see our partners at Veolia attempting to improve the sustainability on their end.