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Our 2023: A Year of Significant Change Towards a Greener Future

19/12/2023

By recognising the inevitability of waste, we continue year after year to be fully committed to processing it efficiently and sustainably. Delighted to share our significant strides of 2023, we are progressing toward our goal of carbon neutrality while inspiring others to join us on this crucial mission. 

Solar panel installation

One of the first breakthroughs in our journey toward increased sustainability this year began with a simple question posed by our company directors: How can we expand our recycling and waste management operations without increasing carbon emissions? The obvious answer was to reduce them. Implementing our plan, we installed 798 solar panels, covering every inch of our plant’s roof. 

This strategic move has proven immensely successful for us, with our solar panels now generating approximately 1000 Kilowatts per day. Achieving self-sufficiency through solar energy, these panels power all our fixed plants on-site, including our workshop, office space, electric car charging points and newly acquired shredder. In our first month of solar power, we generated 30,000 Kilowatts of energy, equivalent to powering over 100 homes for an entire month. Beyond the economic benefits, this environmentally friendly approach has already offset 118 tons of carbon emissions and is equivalent to planting over 65 trees.

psh solar panels

The first solar-powered Untha shredder in the world

The introduction of the Untha shredder, powered entirely by electricity, marked a significant step in our commitment to reducing carbon emissions. The XR3000, chosen for its high-quality engineering, is tailored to our needs, with specific screen basket sizes (90mm chip breakers and 130mm waste basket) crucial for efficient wood waste processing. The shredded wood, classified as grade C, is sent directly to a local biomass plant, contributing to energy creation with lower carbon emissions.  This strategic move not only minimises energy consumption and fossil fuel use associated with transportation but also allows us to process our wood more efficiently.

In an additional groundbreaking move, we explored the possibility of running our Untha shredder entirely on solar power. Our calculations, coupled with the impressive yield from the solar panels, demonstrate the efficiency of this approach. Proudly, we can claim to be the world’s first to power a shredder of this scale entirely through solar energy, showcasing our commitment to innovative and environmentally friendly practices in waste management.

Untha Shredder

‘Clean Up to Green Up’ initiative at Foxley Wood

Our commitment to our local environment is evident with our involvement in the ‘Clean up to Green up’ campaign. The three-year collaboration with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust was initiated in February 2022 and aims to revert arable farmland back to ancient woodland, ensuring it remains a cherished habitat for generations to come.

Our strategy this year for restoring the woodland has involved careful structural preparations under the expert guidance of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust professionals who oversee the project. These included the removal of land drains and the installation of culverts, as well as the implementation of protective measures like fencing to shield new plantings from deer. 

Combining this with our hands-on approach to seed gathering from the existing ancient woodland and distributing them strategically, we have seen a vibrant tapestry of life unveiling across the landscape. Young oak trees, blackthorn, baythorne, and, of course, the iconic bluebells are flourishing, promising a vibrant future for this rejuvenated space.  

None of this outstanding work at Foxley Wood this year would have been possible without the generous support of our valued customers, who collectively raised over £14,000 through skip hires. Will Russell, Lead Officer for Norfolk Wildlife Trust, has praised the impact of us and our customers in bringing back the land into the woodland after centuries of cultivation. 

As we eagerly anticipate the continued development of Foxley Wood next year, we invite you to witness firsthand the transformative power of your contributions and the success of our collective environmental endeavours by visiting Foxley yourself.

Full waste recycling with 0% to landfill

Our main objective from the last few years, diverting 100% of the waste we receive away from landfills and recycling the waste instead, has been made possible for another year. This initiative is at the very heart of our business as we process up to 150,000 tonnes of waste every year, recycling or recovering every last piece. 

Items which cannot be recycled ordinarily are instead recovered to generate heat and electricity, and any wood that is collected is shredded and sent to UK biomass plants to create renewable electricity and heating. 

We pride ourselves on our meticulous processes, ensuring every step is as efficient as possible. We’re always looking into innovative ways to streamline our services and increase our recycling productivity.

Headquarters sustainability

In conjunction with our environmental advancements and ongoing site expansions, we also encountered the need to address our surface water drainage. Recognising this as an opportunity to integrate biodiversity into our site plans, we came up with the idea of constructing a lagoon. This innovative addition not only serves as a sustainable solution to our drainage issue but also offers a habitat for a diverse range of animals and wildfowl.

The lagoon’s construction spanned several months and involved the installation of a 1.8m x 3.6m interceptor to ensure that only clean surface water enters the lagoon. The incorporation of native aquatic plants is already contributing to oxygenating the water, creating an environment now home to various fish species.

Onto 2024

As our successful year of 2023 rolls to an end and we reflect on the strides made, we would like to take this time to thank all of our customers who chose us for skip hire and helped us in our journey to recycle 100% of Norfolk’s waste.

We’re eagerly anticipating the exciting environmental initiatives already planned for 2024 and any more which pop up along the way. From the ongoing transformations at Foxley Wood to our commitment to sustainability, the coming year promises further positive impacts. With the energy from our team and support from valued customers, we look forward to advancing our mission for a greener future.

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