Case Study

Bywaters: Ten years of transformative change with Planet Mark certification

Decisive. Inspiring. Ambitious. Bywaters are spearheading an industry-wide sustainability transformation and drastically cutting carbon emissions year after year. After ten years of Planet Mark certification, the business is just getting started. Our latest case study goes deep into the fundamental changes Bywaters has made thanks to Planet Mark’s instrumental assistance, including the introduction of solar energy, building a state-of-the-art facility and recycling non-recyclable waste.

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Bywaters Ten years of transformative change with Planet Mark certification waste management facilities
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Waste management: a solution to the net zero puzzle

Waste. It’s not the most straightforward puzzle to solve in the race for net zero.

In the past century, as the world’s population has grown and become more urban, waste generation has increased rapidly.  In fact, research suggests that 2.12 billion tons of waste are disposed of worldwide every year, and that number seems to be going up. Unfortunately, the amount of recycled waste is nowhere near high enough.

Disposing of waste in an environmentally conscious manner is imperative if we’re going to make progress on the journey to net zero. It’s no secret we all face a huge challenge.

That’s why Bywaters, a waste management company with a keen focus on sustainability, has decided to take firmer, more radical action.

Key statistics

  • Over 50% – the carbon emissions reduction since joining Planet Mark.
  • 4,000 – the number of solar panels installed on the recycling facility’s roof.
  • 100% – the percentage of plastic Bywaters has committed to recycling.
  • Over 100,000 – the number of tons of recycling conducted.

One man and his cart to recycling giant

In 1918, a farmer named John Glover left his home in Lincolnshire in search of work, going on to collect waste in Highbury, North London, as a sole trader. Over a hundred years later, the seeds sown all those years ago have bloomed into a successful, family-owned business that is now one of London’s most trusted and well-established waste management companies.

Throughout its remarkable history, Bywaters has always had an eye set firmly on the future. The company plays an integral role in London’s circular economy by processing recyclable materials, which are then transformed into new products used across various sectors in the UK. These efficient practices benefit their clients and the environment – a win-win.

Bywaters has seen first-hand the vast impact that consistent, sustainable recycling can have. With a proud history of sustainability, the company has consistently helped businesses elevate their recycling rates. As part of their ongoing commitments, they overhauled their fleet in 2011 to meet Euro 5 emission standards.

Despite this progress, Bywaters wasn’t satisfied. Seeking further evolution and growth, the company decided to embark on a significant carbon-cutting journey, marking a new chapter in its long and proud history.

The goal? Significantly lower their carbon footprint while teaming up with an external sustainability consultancy to verify progress, supply professional advice and provide authoritative certification.

It’s safe to say that Planet Mark fit the bill.

Working with Planet Mark

Over the past ten years, Planet Mark has helped Bywaters achieve the highest standard of sustainable action in a variety of ways. These include meticulously measuring the company’s carbon footprint through Scopes 1, 2 and 3, consulting on areas that required immediate improvements and setting ambitious, yet realistic, targets. Our team has also helped to engage staff through sustainability workshops, elevating employee awareness and instilling the clear advantages of net zero throughout the organisation.

What’s really good about Planet Mark is it doesn’t just follow our carbon reduction journey, it also records our wider ESG goals and targets we’re trying to achieve.Rory Capper, Head of Sustainability and Innovation

Bywaters has frequently referenced Planet Mark’s assistance in supporting and advising new innovations, such as improving the energy efficiency of their facilities, upgrading their vehicle fleet or measuring social value.

Bywaters’s bold actions

With our help, Bywaters has become London’s leading sustainable waste management company, providing its customers with the opportunity to drastically increase their recycling rates. Bold, decisive and admirably ambitious action was vital. Here are just a few of the highlights from ten extraordinary years of sustainable change.

Building one of London’s largest recycling material recovery facility

Bywaters has built one of London’s biggest Material Recovery Facility by the river Lea in East London, reprocessing over 100,000 tons of the city’s mix recycling every year. Those numbers are staggering, especially when considering that that waste would have otherwise been incinerated or, even worse, sent to a landfill.

Implementing solar energy

This new facility also takes advantage of the 4,000 solar panels installed on the roof. The company gets around 25% of its total energy requirements from the roof in a single year. As such, we think Bywater’s recycling facility may now be the most sustainable in the world.

Water recycling

Solar energy isn’t the only use Bywaters is getting from its huge four-acre facility roof. Thanks to its size, the roof is brilliant at capturing rainwater. In 2022 alone, the business was able to use 88,000 litres of grey water to wash vehicles and bins, as well as other maintenance areas of operations. As water plays such a big part in waste management, utilising this grey water has had a significant impact on cutting freshwater usage.

Recycling non-recyclable waste

Not all waste is recyclable. Despite firm commitments to sustainability across the industry, many companies are forced to dispose of this excess waste by incinerator or landfill. Thanks in part to Planet Mark’s analysis and consultation, Bywaters identified that this excess waste could be used to generate sustainable energy for the waste facility. Today, there is zero waste to landfill from the site, with all excess waste transported to an energy from waste facility by barge.

The Sustainability team

Bywaters is committed to improving its own and its clients’ sustainability standards. That’s why it now has a dedicated sustainability team dedicated to working closely with their clients. Organisations using this service receive assistance in progressing their own sustainability practices and a tailored solution suited to their operations.

Levelling up the fleet

Bywaters is enhancing its vehicle fleet to be more sustainable. After achieving Planet Mark certification, the company has met Euro 6 emission standards and is now increasing the number of electric vehicles in its fleet. They currently have an electric Dustcart and plan to expand the number of electric vehicles to a fully electric fleet.

The future

The best part of all this change? Bywaters are only just getting started.

Along with other Planet Mark members, the business is rightly determined to keep the momentum going. One key goal is an entirely electric fleet that will help heighten London’s air quality and keep fossil fuel use to an absolute minimum. Another is to upgrade recycling machinery in order to achieve higher percentages of recycling and improve efficiency. This is part of a wider plan for integrated recycling systems with customers, with the aim of pushing recycling rates higher and higher.

Most ambitious of all is the business’ Waste by Water scheme, in which barges will be used along the Thames to pick up customer waste and deliver it back to the recycling facility. Throughout all of this, Planet Mark will be on hand to provide the assistance, advice and authority the company requires to succeed.

From one man and his cart to spearheading sustainability in the waste management sector 100 years later, Bywaters has been on a dizzyingly impressive journey. With Planet Mark certification, we can’t wait to see what they achieve next.

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