Our Facilities and Project Manager Marika Dekker shares some of her top tips for event venues to save waste and cash
Over the last few years we’ve worked hard to reduce our environmental impact across our Central London and Canary Wharf training, conference and meeting venues. In fact, we’re passionate about it because we want to be the most environmentally friendly event venue provider in London.
And in recent years we’ve managed to achieve a phenomenal 81% recycling/reuse rate across all our Canary Wharf and Central London conference, meeting and training venues.
Recently our efforts were rewarded by winning the Chairman’s Cup at the prestigious Clean City Awards at a ceremony in the City of London for our efforts across all our meeting, training and conference venues.
The Clean City Awards scheme was founded in 1994 and aims to raise the profile of responsible waste management and recognising and rewarding good environmental practices. Read more by visiting their website at: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/environment-and-planning/waste-and-recycling/commercial-waste-and-recycling/clean-city-awards/Pages/about-the-scheme.aspx
Here are some of the creative things we’ve recently done to cut waste and save money at the same time.
A new future for old furniture
We’ve all heard how you can reuse and recycle plastic, cardboard and other waste – and of course that’s a big part of our waste reduction policy. But we’ve been taking it to the next level by recycling furniture.
When we decided to upgrade some of our Central London and Canary Wharf event space in 2016, throwing out the old furniture just didn’t feel right. So we decided to recycle or refurbish it.
We ended up re-upholstering over 500 chairs across the entire business and gave the material to tree surgeons to be used in environmental projects – we loved the fact that some of it was used to wrap around tree saplings to protect them as they grow. We then donated our restaurant furniture to a local homeless and rehabilitation charity and recycled more than 2,000sqm of carpet - that’s almost three tonnes.
And although this took a lot more organisation than just picking out new chairs from the furniture catalogue, we managed to save ourselves a hefty bill while helping local charities and not contributing to landfill.
Focusing on Food
A big issue for many training, conference and meeting space providers is the problem of food waste. And food prices are currently on the increase, making this a priority problem. Over the last year our Canary Wharf and Central London conference and training venues have been recycling food into the renewable energy source biogas. This happens through the use of a company called Paper Round and the process of anaerobic digestion converting the waste in biofertiliser. You can read more about the process by visiting their website at: https://www.paper-round.co.uk/service/food-recycling
This has seen our food wastage fall from 7% in 2015 to a tiny 2% in 2016. That’s a lot of money and resources saved when you think about the thousands of meals we provide to delegates across our five London event venues.
Delicious snacks at our Central London Barbican venue.
Avoiding creating a paper mountain
Almost as important to our delegates as the food are the bathroom facilities. Our approach has been to do away with wasteful paper towels and embrace the wonders of the 21st century with high-speed, energy efficient hand dryers.
Energy efficient hand driers involve an initial outlay of expense, but of course save the on-going cost of paper towels while slashing the waste they create. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve saved more than 0.8 tonnes of paper towel waste across our meeting, training and conference venues in London.
A collective responsibility
We believe all our staff are responsible for the environment and that businesses have to take the lead in cutting waste.
We also hope to see more businesses and individuals undertaking greener initiatives and taking responsibility for minimising waste .
The City of London Organisation provide initiatives and top tips to help you individually or as a company become more eco-friendly and save money through simple effective methods. You can visit their website at: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Pages/default.aspx.
Marika Dekker is our Facilities and Project Manager and our champion of environmental issues. Check back in the future for more from Marika on how facilities management can be more environmentally responsible.
“We believe all our staff are responsible for the environment and the steps the business has to take in cutting waste”