Resource Use

Royal Mail reduces waste by 2,000 tonnes a year with reusable trolley sleeves

Worker pushing Royal Mail warehouse trolley incorporating new reusable sleevesRoyal Mail says it has a significant milestone in its waste reduction efforts by saving an estimated 2,000 tonnes of waste last year. The company replaced single-use cardboard trolley sleeves with reusable, recyclable versions designed and manufactured by its in-house engineering team. The new sleeves, known internally as 'Yorks', have a lifespan of up to four years and can be used up to 3,000 times.

The switch to the new sleeves has enabled Royal Mail to exceed its target of reducing waste by 25 per cent in 2023/24, compared to its 2020/21 base year. In total, the company reduced its waste by 27 per cent and recycled, reused, or diverted 98 per cent of its remaining waste.

The reusable trolley sleeves are made from fully recyclable corrugated plastic, including 30 per cent recycled material, exempting them from the Plastic Packaging Tax. As well as reducing wasting, Royal Mail says the sleeves have improved efficiency by increasing the capacity of each trolley and are more compatible with automated machinery.

Waste management is a key component of Royal Mail's Steps to Zero strategy, which aims to achieve Net-Zero emissions by 2040, with a 50 per cent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030. The company has also introduced other reuse initiatives across its network, such as a reuse programme for pallets and the substitution of single-use plastic cable ties with reusable 'hook and loop' straps for mail bags.

Zebrina Hanly, Royal Mail's Head of Environment, said: "We have not only met our waste reduction target, but have done so seven years ahead of schedule. This wouldn't have been possible without the innovation from our engineering team as well as the hard work of our posties and wider operational staff. Our mission isn't over, however, and we're continuing to work hard to maintain our position as the UK's greenest delivery option."