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ELWA - Greening our Performance

11 October 2021

Greening our performance

How ELWA is delivering on Renewi’s purpose

Despite increasing awareness and concerns over environmental issues, London continues to be an extremely challenging environment in which to drive sustained environmental improvements.  The East London Waste Authority contract supports four London Boroughs, three of which are amongst the poorest performing household recyclers in the city.  To green our performance, we have three priorities: increasing recycling rates; minimising use of landfill; boosting our contribution to the circular economy.   

Increasing recycling rate:

Our focus is to support waste reduction and re-use programmes, whilst increasing the proportion of household waste that is recycled. Over the past financial year (to end March 2021) we boosted our recycling performance by +3%, taking it up from 28.5 to 31.5%. Our target for the current financial year is 34%.  By delivering on this ambition, we will significantly reduce the environmental impact of waste in East London.     

Minimising use of landfill:

Two to three years ago on an annual basis the East London contract sent approximately 10% of waste to landfill.  By working with new suppliers and adopting a zero-to-landfill approach we have reduced this to less than 0.5%. While taking initial actions to make this change was straightforward, making it stick has taken real focus from every member of the team. 

Boosting our contribution to the circular economy:

Renewi’s vision and purpose - to play a pivotal part in the circular economy - is a key motivation for our team at ELWA to find ways to grow our recycling rate.  Our commitment to further accelerate our environmental performance has given our team an opportunity to make a real contribution to this vision whilst also helping to improve financial performance.      

We are committed to continuing this evolution and further enhancing our environmental performance across all four Boroughs. However the Newham Borough, the second lowest performing recycling borough in the UK, is a key area of focus over the short term. We have established a plan at our Jenkins Lane MBT facility to replace obsolete equipment with that which will allow the sorting of bulky waste into recyclable material streams. Our target is three-fold: increase our recycling performance by an estimated 2 - 4% whilst reducing the volume of material being used as fuel; cut our carbon footprint by lowering miles driven per year by Council vehicles on site by 16,744; and positively impact our financials by lowering our disposal costs and increasing recyclate sales revenue. This project has the potential to be a real game changer for the Jenkins Lane site and has generated excitement and enthusiasm from site staff before the project has even commenced.  

“I am hugely enthusiastic about the actions being undertaken by our team at ELWA,” says Kevin Bell, Contract Director. “Our collective approach is to work to deliver on Renewi’s purpose. Together we are playing our part in helping to deliver on Renewi’s purpose – to protect our world by giving new life to used materials. Not only are we doing our bit to preserve the world’s limited resources by enhancing levels of recycling, but we are supporting our Boroughs by helping them to meet their evolving sustainability goals.”