Recycling no waste of time for Sheffield Forgemasters

Sheffield Forgemasters waste reduction programme has diverted a monthly average of 850 tonnes of waste from landfill for the past year, boosting recover and recycling to over 93 per cent.

Engineering giant Sheffield Forgemasters has five operating businesses on its 64 acre site in Sheffield and a dedicated environmental management team works closely with the 800-strong workforce to set targets including cutting waste, energy and water - a strategy which has become fundamental to the group's operations.

The company reviewed its waste management systems in early 2010 along with its waste management contractor, Biffa, resulting in new streams of waste materials being captured for recycling and better segregation of existing recycled materials.

The company is now working towards a group-wide target of zero process wastes going direct to landfill by 2016.

Group environment director Victoria Hinchcliffe said: "Over fifty different waste streams have been identified at Sheffield Forgemasters and we also spotted the revenue-earning potential of different recyclables.

"We have rolled out a wide range of collection areas and receptacles, as well as trained our employees on the importance of waste segregation in order to fully integrate this process in to our day to day operations."

Raised awareness and understanding of waste management and segregation has meant that bin contamination non-conformances reduced from 11.25 per cent to 1.7 per cent this year.

In 2013, 10,235 tonnes of recyclables were diverted from landfill, while residual waste totalled just 732 tonnes, an average recycling rate of 93%.

The recycling rate prior to the project implementation was around 85%, but no income was earned from recyclable sales. New systems have avoided over £50,000 per annum in landfill disposal costs, while an average of £40,000 per annum is now rebated back to Forgemasters from the sale of recyclable materials.

The current fixed waste management operating costs are around 50% lower than the previous supplier, saving Sheffield Forgemasters over £200,000 per annum.

Victoria added: “Diverting waste from landfill is very important to us as part of our efforts to reduce our environmental impact. By doing this, we have made significant progress that will help us work towards our goal of being a leader in our sector. Our goal now is to get everyone to work towards the day when nothing we produce or use goes to waste."

Over the last year, Sheffield Forgemasters has been working closely on various projects with multiple agencies and organisations including the Environment Agency, BIFFA and Sheffield City Council.

It has undertaken successful reciprocal work placements with the Environment Agency; as well as continuing to work with Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses on the flood protection and district heating projects in the Lower Don Valley, while retaining British standards in environmental policies and procedures.

The company is continually identifying and implementing improvement projects across the company including a project to reduce the amount of nitrogen being used in the cryogenics tanks in the Work Rolls department resulted in a 13 per cent cut, while oil recycling units in the Forge have meant an 80 per cent reduction in the purchase of new oil from 131,529 to 26,105 litres.

Despite being an intensive energy user, Sheffield Forgemasters produce components for equipment to enable the low carbon economy of the future to generate electricity through low CO2 methods.

Its emissions are dwarfed by the tens of millions of tonnes saved when its components are incorporated into wind, hydro and nuclear generation plants. However, Sheffield Forgemasters does not ignore the need to reduce its own carbon footprint.

Over 90% of CO2 emitted comes from the multi-million pound energy levels used each year, in the process of creating large scale engineered products so for SFIL, cutting carbon means improving energy efficiency.

Sheffield Forgemasters has participated in a Low Carbon Supply Chains project led by The Centre for Low Carbon Futures.

It operates better factory planning to avoid using energy on unnecessary activities, uses its world leading research department to redesign products to use less energy and materials during manufacture to deliver immediate energy and CO2 savings, and researches new process technologies to deliver proven savings.