Devon Contract Waste Inaugural Staff Awards

The Almond family deliver a speech at the Devon Contract Waste Staff Awards

On Saturday 18 November, the Devon Contract Waste team came together to celebrate our first ever annual awards ceremony. Hosted at the elegant Mercure Rougemont Hotel in Exeter, colleagues donned their glad rags to enjoy a sumptuous meal, emotional awards presentations, and entertainment from singer-songwriter, Josh Kumra.

We created our staff awards scheme to recognise and reward the commitment, loyalty, resilience and tenacity of our superb colleagues. Each award category was voted for by Devon Contract Waste employees, ensuring that the winners were chosen by their peers.

As we approach the end of our most challenging year to date, it felt entirely fitting to gather together team members from across the business to celebrate our achievements and look ahead to a bright future for Devon Contract Waste.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all our colleagues for their support and seemingly endless positivity.

Devon Contract Waste Staff Awards 2017 Winners:

Best Kept Vehicle
Steve Whapples

Best Customer Service
Andrew Willcocks

Best Customer Service
Jamie Skinner

Best Crew Member
Chris Simmons

Best Recycling Operative
Paul Cornish

Best Customer Service Assistant
Matthew Burwood

Best Sales Person
Kate Nickell

Best HGV Driver
Phil Butter

Best Non-HGV Driver
James Urquhart

Best Newcomer
Vicki Trunkfield

Going The Extra Mile
Nathan Tuckey

Exceptional Contribution
Emily Almond

5 Years’ Valued Service
Steve Whapples
Mark Hartley-Norton
Donna Cook
Trevor O’Malley
Richard Smith
Lee Beales

10 Years’ Valued Service
Karl Nill
John Tucker
Trevor Lamacraft
John Eadie
Andy Prouse

15 Years’ Valued Service
Martin Tucker

20 Years’ Valued Service
Brian Bamsey

BLOG – GDPR and secure data destruction: how to protect your business

Devon Contract Waste's secure data destruction collection vehicle with driver

Did you know that, according to a recent report from Ponemon Institute, 28% of data breaches are caused by employee error?

This might involve something as simple as leaving information on printers, not keeping data in locked cabinets, or hanging onto old hard drives.

This type of statistic should be particularly concerning as we come closer to the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): a new EU legal framework that will come into effect on 25 May 2018. Many years in the making, the GDPR will be the first major step change in UK data protection legislation since 1998. The new regulation is an evolution of existing law, taking into account our digitised world and creating several new rights for individuals in relation to their personal data. The GDPR will also toughen up penalties for data breaches which could now reach up to €20 million or 4% of a firm’s global turnover, whichever is greater.

Secure data destruction is a critical element of every data protection strategy. We take a look at how managing your confidential waste can protect your organisation from the financial, legal and reputational risk of a data breach.

Data security

Article 5 of the GDPR states that information must be “processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures”.

In simple terms, this means you must take steps to ensure that the personal data your company holds can’t be accessed by anyone who shouldn’t have access, that it is kept safe, and that it is destroyed in such a way that it can’t be put back together.

This reflects the Seventh Principle of the Data Protection Act 1998 so is not a great surprise. But in terms of data destruction, there are two key differences under the GDPR:

  • Individuals now have a ‘right to be forgotten’ – except in certain exempt cases, people can ask an organisation to delete or destroy all information it holds about them;
  • Information may only be held for as long as necessary to deliver the purpose for which it was originally processed.

With potentially crippling penalties on the horizon, now is the time to take steps to ensure your data destruction process is fit for purpose.

What to do next

A good starting point is to carry out an audit of the types of personal data you process and how they are stored. Personal data is any “information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person” and could include invoices, quotes, emails, medical records, training documents, notebooks, post-its and more. Record how this information is held – is it on paper, electronic or cloud-based?

Consider whether your organisation would benefit from a data cleanse before GDPR comes into effect. If you have archived data waiting to be shredded, now is the time to tackle the backlog.

Work with your senior team to update your data destruction policy and train all staff to follow it. If you have a clear desk policy, ensure employees understand it fully. If you decide to take a ‘shred all’ approach to paperwork, ensure you have enough secure receptacles in convenient positions to encourage compliance.

Bringing in help

Internally shredding documents can be time-consuming and, of course, doesn’t take care of your electronic data such as hard drives, CD-ROMs and even the odd floppy discs you might still have. A third party provider can ease the headache of secure data destruction, but there are a few key questions to ask to ensure your organisation is protected from risk:

  • Does the provider have a waste carrier license?
  • What steps does the provider take to secure the data when it is removed from your premises?
  • Does the provider issue a certificate of destruction for your records?
  • Are the providers’ employees vetted and do they sign a confidentiality agreement?
  • Is the provider compliant with relevant standards such as EN15713?

Devon Contract Waste is licensed by the Environmental Agency and offers secure data destruction under EN15713 (Secure Destruction). Our DBS-checked employees and secure vehicles ensure your data remains confidential until it is destroyed, when a certificate of destruction is issued.

When the GDPR comes into effect on 25 May 2018, organisations will be expected to be fully compliant immediately. For help ensuring that your data destruction is secure and compliant, contact us for a no obligation quote today.

BLOG – Recycling: it’s worth it

Graphic of numerous products being placed in recycling containers

Recycling is the process of turning materials into new items. Recycling is part of the waste management hierarchy which provides a structure for minimising how much waste ends up in landfill sites.

Recycling often involves collecting used items and processing them to clean and separate the component materials. The separate materials can then be used for a whole range of purposes: plastic bottles can come back to life as clothing; aluminium cans turn up in aeroplane parts; paper yoghurt pots can transform into toothbrushes.

This National Recycling Week (25 September – 1 October), we want to tell you why we believe passionately that recycling is worth it.

Save energy

Manufacturing new items uses a large amount of energy. Recycling requires much less. For example, forming new aluminium from bauxite ore needs much more energy than creating items from aluminium that has already been made. Every tonne of aluminium that we recycle saves 210kWh of electricity and 2.5 million BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy. Some recycled materials, such as paper, are even more energy efficient. For every tonne of paper we recycle, we save 1845kWh hours of electricity and 24 million BTUs of energy.

Producing energy creates pollutants that usually end up in our atmosphere in the form of CO2 and other – sometimes more toxic – gases that contribute to global warming. Because recycling uses less energy than making new materials, it also means less pollution is produced. For example, by recycling one tonne of paper instead of making new paper, we prevent 12kg of pollutants entering the atmosphere.

Protect our environment

Recycling materials reduces the likelihood that they will end up in our environment where they cause harm. There are 9 billion tonnes of plastic in the world and more than 8 million tonnes of it ends up in our oceans every year. Plastic litter not only looks unsightly, but it can harm – and even kill – wildlife when it is swallowed or creatures become trapped. Items such as bottles, fishing nets and even the micro beads in your face wash can all end up in the sea.

By collecting our waste for recycling, we can help to ensure that is it handled responsibly and not allowed to make its way into our environment.

Prolong scarce resources

Many of the materials we use in manufacturing are from natural sources and so are in limited supply. Raw materials such as oil and metal ores will not last forever. One day they will run out because nature cannot form them as fast as we use them.

Recycling makes use of materials that have already been manufactured, which greatly reduces our reliance on these precious resources. For example, every tonne of recycled plastic saves 4 barrels of oil compared to manufacturing new plastics. Oil and other fossil fuels are also used to produce energy. Since recycling uses less energy than making new materials, it saves even more natural resources.

Preserve our planet

All of the benefits that recycling offers are crucial to help preserve our environment. By prolonging the availability of natural resources, reducing pollution and protecting wildlife, we can preserve our planet for future generations.

If we all do our little bit to recycle the things we use, we can make a big collective difference. We hope you agree that recycling is the right thing to do – and it’s worth it.

BLOG – Waste to Energy: how it compares to recycling

Waste to Energy (WtE) has seen a surge in popularity in the UK and internationally in recent years as a way of bridging the gap between recycling and landfill. Once materials that can be recycled have been removed from the waste stream, WtE provides a further way to process the remaining waste instead of directing it straight to landfill. While Devon Contract Waste supports any initiative that reduces the amount of waste reaching landfill, we believe it’s important to look at the total impact of WtE and how it compares to recycling.

Where WtE comes in

Under the EU Waste Framework Directive the UK must apply the waste hierarchy:

  • Reduce – cut down on the amount of waste we produce
  • Re-use – use items more than once whenever possible
  • Recycle – process waste items into re-useable materials
  • Recover – waste contains energy that can be unlocked and used
  • Dispose – final remaining waste is usually sent to landfill

Devon Contract Waste operates at the Recycle stage – sorting and processing waste materials into separate streams that can be re-used. WtE is part of the Recovery stage of the hierarchy. WtE plants use waste as fuel, instead of fossil fuels, to heat water that produces steam, which drives turbines to generate electricity.

WtE is the final stage of our own Zero to Landfill process. Once all recyclables have been sorted for onward processing, around 42% of our collected waste is sent for incineration to generate energy. WtE plays an important role in waste management but we believe strongly that it should be our last resort in the management of waste and we should always aim to recycle more to reduce the amount of waste that will be burned.

High cost / low volume

WtE plants are complex facilities that are expensive to build compared to a recycling centre – or materials recovery facility (MRF). Exeter’s WtE plant was built to process 65,000 tonnes of waste per year at a cost of £45 million. A typical materials recovery facility (MRF) with a processing capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year would cost around £11 million and would generally recover around 58% of materials for recycling, before the remainder was processed for WtE. In terms of the capability of each process to divert waste from landfill, recycling materials is more economical, and more efficient.

Energy efficiency

The energy produced by WtE plants most commonly generates electricity for homes but cogeneration plants can also provide heat for nearby businesses. Each tonne of waste processed generates around 500kWh of electricity which is enough to power 15 average households for a day. However, depending on the materials being processed, it could be more energy efficient to recycle. For example, recycling one tonne of aluminium (instead of making it from raw materials) saves 14,000kWh – enough electricity to power those same 15 households for four weeks.

Impact on recycling rates

Ideally, before waste reaches a WtE plant, all recyclables should have been removed. Not only for the efficiency we outlined above, but because less carbon-rich recyclable material in the waste mix (eg cardboard, plastic, metals and wood) means less CO2 output when the waste is burned. Some argue that the presence of WtE plants may discourage recycling, particularly among domestic households. Increased levels of these carbon-rich materials in the WtE fuel will mean more CO2 emissions. The link between WtE facilities and recycling rates hasn’t been proven but it remains an important consideration in planning a waste programme.

Polluting outputs

WtE produces less CO2 compared to the equivalent production of new materials. It also avoids the release of methane – another greenhouse gas – that would otherwise seep from landfill sites. But the incineration of waste releases a great number of toxic gases and substances which must be tightly controlled. Acidic gases such as nitrogen oxide must be neutralised, and toxic mercury must be removed. WtE is also not 100% efficient at processing its fuel, producing a final ash deposit which is usually sent to landfill.

Sustainability in the UK

Only certain types of waste are suitable for WtE processing which means that the availability of this fuel is an important consideration in a WtE programme. With many WtE plants already operating in the UK, capacity is outstripping the available fuel. UK WtE plants are importing waste from other countries in order to remain sustainable. While this is clearly preferable to simply sending the waste to landfill in the country of origin, the carbon miles travelled by thousands of tonnes of waste rather defeats the object. Sweden, for instance, is importing around 800,000 tonnes of waste per year, generating enormous quantities of CO2. We don’t feel that the UK should be contributing to this when we have an opportunity to invest in better recycling.

What does the future hold?

There is no straightforward answer to striking the right balance between recycling and WtE. As long as we continue to produce waste that cannot be recycled, WtE provides an energy efficient alternative to landfill disposal, despite its downsides. What remains critical is ensuring that our national recycling effort is maximised to reprocess as many materials as we can, in turn ensuring WtE is as efficient as possible, and landfill sites are consigned to the history books.

Devon Contract Waste helps holiday park bridge the gap to Zero to Landfill

Paul Williamson stands by the entrance sign at Harford Bridge Holiday Park

Exeter-based Devon Contract Waste has secured a new contract worth circa £3,000 per year with Harford Bridge Park Ltd of Tavistock. The innovative waste management company now provides a full Zero to Landfill waste management service for the award-winning camping and touring park set in Dartmoor National Park.

As a holder of the gold standard David Bellamy Conservation Award for 18 years, Harford Bridge Park has a long-running commitment to responsible waste management. Now, with the services of Devon Contract Waste, the family-run business could see up to 98% of its waste diverted from landfill while enjoying incredible cost savings of around 40%. Devon Contract Waste collects mixed waste from Harford Bridge Park to be baled at its newly launched Distribution Hub in Exeter, which can handle 300,000 tonnes of waste each year.

A particular challenge for Devon Contract Waste presented by Harford Bridge Park is the influence of park guests over the sorting of site waste as they dispose of their daily and weekly rubbish. Mixed waste contaminated with food and glass cannot be sorted as efficiently, meaning that a reduced amount of waste can be diverted from landfill. So, while holidaymakers have had their minds on entertaining their families, the businesses have collaborated to test and improve signage around the holiday park to simplify waste sorting for guests. A reduction from four waste sorting streams to three, and new signage to identify mixed recycling waste, food waste and glass waste has resulted in less contaminated waste unsuitable for recycling, less waste going to landfill, and less distractions for park visitors during their holiday.

Simon Almond, managing director at Devon Contract Waste commented: “As keen proponents of sustainable tourism, the values of the Harford Bridge Park management team fully align with our own as the only West Country provider of Zero to Landfill services and we’re delighted to provide the owners with a straightforward and cost effective way to manage their commercial waste. All the waste is baled at our Distribution Hub in Exeter before being passed on for onward processing, recycling and manufacturing under our innovative model which ensures that nothing that can possibly be recycled is sent to landfill.”

Simon continued: “We pride ourselves on delivering services that meet the individual needs of our customers and we look forward to working with Harford Bridge Park for many years to come.”

Paul Williamson, director operations at Harford Bridge Park commented: “Since we took on Harford Bridge in 1985 we have reinvested our profits into improving the sustainability of the park to ensure that visitors can continue to enjoy Dartmoor National Park with minimal environmental impact on our beautiful surroundings. The environmental and cost saving benefits of Zero to Landfill were the persuasive factors for us and Devon Contract Waste have provided great support to transition the park to their service at our busy time of year. From working with us to improve our signage for guests, to providing smart plastic bins that help us to maintain our visual standards, the team has been responsive to our requirements and we are happy customers.”

Paul added: “Harford Bridge looks forward to a long, productive relationship with Devon Contract Waste.”

Devon Contract Waste is a leading provider of commercial waste management services in Devon and bordering areas of Cornwall and Somerset. The company collects mixed waste from its clients in a single vehicle, reducing the number of journeys made and minimising its CO2 emissions. Each time a bin is emptied, around 3.04kg of CO2 is emitted, so collecting waste in a single bin rather than separating it into different containers also reduces CO2 emissions.

Devon Contract Waste celebrates launch of new Distribution Hub

Devon Contract Waste managing director, Simon Almond, stands in front of the new distribution hub

Devon Contract Waste is celebrating the launch of its new £1.2 million Distribution Hub on Matford Business Park. The construction of the 1.2 acre facility has been supported by the South West Growth Fund with a grant of £80,000, and ensures the company continues to drive its market leading position as the only provider of Zero to Landfill services in the South West.

Devon Contract Waste’s previous facility on Marsh Barton Trading Estate was destroyed by a devastating fire in March this year. The new Distribution Hub is equipped with the latest baling technology to triple the company’s waste handling capacity to 300,000 tonnes of waste per year, enabling the pioneering business to extend its services to more companies across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall.

Speaking about the launch of the Distribution Hub, Devon Contract Waste managing director, Simon Almond, commented: “When the devastating fire struck our Envirohub in March we were already building our new facility on Matford Business Park and were able to immediately repurpose the unfinished site and divert our vehicle fleet in order to maintain our usual high standards of service delivery. We very quickly reviewed what is best for our customers and for our business, and have designed the Distribution Hub to expand our waste handling capacity with the latest MacPresse baler and further improve the efficiency of our processes. We are now in a strong position to focus on the redevelopment of our Envirohub site and are looking ahead positively to the future.”

The Distribution Hub, originally intended to serve as a data destruction facility prior to the fire, has been repurposed to house a simple and efficient sorting line. Mixed waste will be baled and transported on empty returning HGVs to be processed by supply partner, Oakleaf, at its cutting edge London facility.

The construction of the Distribution Hub has been boosted by funding from the South West Growth Fund (SWGF), an £8.7 million grant programme supported by the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund.  The SWGF was secured and is managed by a partnership of the University of Plymouth, SWMAS Limited, South West Water and the Western Morning News.  The fund aims to support transformational projects in businesses throughout South West England, unlock £22 million of private investment and lead to the creation and safeguarding of 985 jobs.

Devon Contract Waste supports life-saving service across Devon

A uniformed trustee of Devon Freewheelers shakes hands with Devon Contract Waste MD Simon Almond in front of a Freewheeler motorcycle and DCW car

Exeter-based waste management company Devon Contract Waste has donated £3500 to Devon Freewheelers, a life-saving charity providing voluntary out of hours transport for blood and medical supplies across Devon.

The donation could provide enough fuel to cover 49,000 miles of life-saving journeys around Devon or 14 sets of replacement tyres to maintain the road safety of the motorcycle fleet; both essential contributions to the charity’s running costs, which reach £150,000 per year.

Simon Almond, Managing Director at Devon Contract Waste, commented: “We are proud to support a number of local charities and help the Devon community.  Devon Freewheelers provides an indispensable service to our local NHS that simply could not operate without donations and I’m delighted that our donation will help them to travel many crucial miles.”

Russell Roe, Trustee and Treasurer at Devon Freewheelers commented: “Our dedicated team of volunteers carried out more than 1400 life saving journeys in 2016 and have already ridden nearly 300 trips this year. Without the support of the community, the out of hours movement of urgent blood samples and whole blood, breast milk, medication and other supplies would be slowed down significantly. The generous donation from Devon Contract Waste is a tremendous gift which will contribute to the running of our fleet and ensure that our volunteers can continue to deliver our service across Devon.”

Devon Contract Waste is a leading provider of commercial waste management services in Devon and bordering areas of Cornwall and Somerset. The company collects mixed waste from its clients in a single vehicle, reducing the number of journeys made and minimising its CO2 emissions. Each time a bin is emptied, around 3.04kg of CO2 is emitted, so collecting waste in a single bin rather than separating it into different containers also reduces CO2 emissions.