Business in brief 24/04/2015

Protesters stake out DECC and Drax AGM

Protestors give Ed Davey 'Grimm Reaper of Forests' anti-biomass letter
The stunt at DECC saw a cardboard cutout of Energy Minister Ed Davey 'Grimm Reaper of Forests' handed an anti-biomass letter

Environmental campaigners protesting against the increasing use of biomass for energy, staged a day of action at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) and the annual general meeting (AGM) of power company Drax Plc earlier this week.

On Wednesday (22 April) several people demonstrated outside DECC in protest of its subsidies to the Drax power station in Yorkshire (which is also said to be the largest biomass station in the world), arguing that biomass is a polluting fuel that ‘can be dirtier than coal’.

A letter calling on DECC to end this practice, and require it to phase out its coal units, was signed by a group of NGOs – including the Coal Action Network, Dogwood Alliance, and London Mining Network – and presented to a cardboard-cutout of Energy Minister Ed Davey, dressed as the ‘Grimm [sic] Reaper of Forests’.

Biofuelwatch Co-Director and Campaigner with the Coal Action Network Oliver Munnion commented: “If the UK is serious about bringing down carbon emissions, and cares at all about the communities being dug up by coal mines and the forests being chopped down for biomass, then the UK's biggest polluter has to go. It really is time to axe Drax.”

A second protest was held at the AGM of Drax, where biomass campaigners disrupted the meeting by reading out all of the species of birds and other wildlife that are thought to be impacted by Drax’s biomass sourcing in the southern US.

Find out more about the concerns regarding biomass.

Viridor Trigon landfill fire

Viridor Trigon landfill fire

The Trigon landfill site in Wareham, Dorset, run by waste management company Viridor, has caught alight for the second time in a year.

Firefighters from Dorset Fire & Rescue Service were called to the landfill just before 7pm on Tuesday (21 April) after receiving reports of a ‘column of smoke’ emanating from the waste disposal site, which is in the process of being restored to lowland heath and a conservation habitat, on Bere Lane.

Eight firefighting appliances as well as mechanical diggers were sent to the scene to deal with the ‘large surface fire’, which has now been extinguished following several days of dampening down.

The Trigon landfill had been closed for the majority of the week to deal with the fire.

Dorset Fire Service Group Manager Andy Fox said: “Our tactical plan for dealing with the landfill fire was very successful. Firefighters used aggressive tactics including the use of water bowsers and high-volume pumps that, combined with site staff using heavy machinery to smother the fire, has worked really well.”

Ian Morrish, Landfill Energy Director at Viridor, thanked the emergency services and Viridor’s employees for their efforts, adding that a “full investigation into the cause of this incident is underway”.

A similar fire broke out at the landfill site in September 2014.

Jayplas appoints John Haddow as Group Compliance Manager

John Haddow, Jayplas's new Group Compliance Manager

Plastic recycling company Jayplas has announced the appointment of John Haddow in the newly-created role of Group Compliance Manager.

Haddow previously served as Compliance and Energy Manager at British Polythene Industries, and will now be responsible for ensuring that safety standards, production quality and corporate responsibility ‘extend consistently across the rapidly-expanding Jayplas recycling network’. He will also be responsible for introducing an integrated quality and environmental management programme across the whole group.

Commenting on the appointment, Jayplas Director Jason Young said: “John is the perfect choice for us. Of course he has the knowledge and experience, but he also has the enthusiasm and acumen to help us deliver our commitment to bring higher levels of sustainability to the UK’s commercial sectors.”

Haddow added: “This is a great opportunity to really set the benchmark for sustainability and quality in the plastics reprocessing business. Jayplas already has the right approach to quality and environmental practices, [but] it’s now about building on what exists.”

Find out more about Jayplas.

Cromwell Polythene secures biodegradable bag contract with Caerphilly County Borough Council

Libanus Primary School in Blackwood is one of the schools using Cromwell Polythene's compostable kitchen liners
Libanus Primary School in Blackwood is one of the schools using Cromwell Polythene's compostable kitchen liners

Plastic manufacturer Cromwell Polythene has secured a contract to supply compostable kitchen caddy liners to Caerphilly County Borough Council’s 97 schools.

The contract requires the Leeds-based plastic bags supplier to deliver 1,000 25-litre liners – made from Ecopond® biodegradable resin – to each school in Caerphilly, where they will be used as part of the council’s food waste recycling scheme.

Marcia Lewis, Caerphilly’s Principal Catering Officer, said: “By raising awareness in schools we provide an education for children who can do their bit for the environment, at school and take these habits home to share with their families and continue for the rest of their lives.

“The Cromwell caddy liners have played a key role in Caerphilly’s food waste recycling programme, helping us recover food that would otherwise go to landfill.”

Find out more about Ecopond® biodegradable resin.

Biffa collects 400 tonnes of household WEEE

Biffa collects 400 tonnes of household WEEE
Biffa's WEEE collection service operation in Woking

Municipal services contractor Biffa has announced that it has collected over 400 tonnes of small household waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) since launching its kerbside WEEE service three years ago.

First launched in Woking in December 2011, the service allows residents to put small WEEE (such as hairdryers, toasters and MP3 players) out for recycling alongside their usual recycling and waste containers.

Bagged WEEE is collected by Biffa crews as part of their normal rounds, and placed in underbody cages fitted to Biffa’s collection vehicles. The cages are then emptied into larger holding containers at Biffa’s depots and transported to authorised WEEE reprocessors through Biffa’s compliance scheme, Transform.

The service now runs across 14 councils in the UK and has reportedly seen 404.33 tonnes of e-waste collected from householders (data covers December 2011 and February 2015).

Pete Dickson, Biffa Municipal’s Commercial Director, said: “Small WEEE collections at the kerbside are seen by local authorities as an easy win for them, for Biffa, and for residents.

“The service has high value as it’s an easy, intuitive way for residents to capture and recycle a difficult waste stream, and they respond accordingly.”

Read more about Biffa’s WEEE kerbside collection service.