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Today is Global Recycling Day, an initiative run by the Global Recycling Foundation. The movement is dedicated to recognising the importance of recycling as a resource, not waste.

At some point soon, the natural resources that the Earth yields will run out. That is why we must rethink how and what we throw away – seeing not waste, but opportunity. The signs that drastic action needs to be taken are everywhere. The World Bank warns that global waste is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years. A year spent suffering a global pandemic has also meant increased disposal of Covid-19 related PPE, posing severe challenges to the environment, especially for the planet’s oceans.

It is vital that we recognise recycling as the keystone to a circular economy that it is, helping to protect our natural resources. This year, the Global Recycling Foundation has announced the theme of Global Recycling Day 2021 as #RecyclingHeroes. At Bouygues Energies & Services, we are trying to be the best recycling heroes we can be. Our goal is 0% to landfill in our offices and within our projects. We currently already recycle or recover 99% of our waste and are working on that being 100%. Focusing on ensuring a Circular Economy in our business is a priority. To do this we:

  • adopt a Retain, Reuse, Refill policy with plastic consumables. 
  • work closely with our suppliers to understand waste reduction opportunities.
  • encourage use of the Materials Exchange Platform which enables projects to donate un-used materials for others to use, or vice-versa.
  • launched a Covid-19 PPE recycling scheme by returning masks to then be manufactured into construction materials such as site hoarding, furniture, planters etc. 

Bouygues Energies & Services host workshops and run rotating campaigns on different waste topics. An ongoing campaign focuses on single use plastic reduction. In 2018, the UK Government proposed a ban on single-use plastics (SUPs) in Government Estate Offices. This includes single-use containers such as hand soap and cleaning products. In response to this, and with the growing importance to reduce plastic pollution, we pledged to reduce and eventually eliminate SUPs in our business. On 5th April 2021, we will be launching a campaign with Contract Directors to share information to all our Government sites on how we plan to reduce single-use plastic in our core cleaning supplies using the three Rs: Retain, Refill, Reuse. The current aim is to have an average plastic reduction of 40% compared to current usage, with full roll out across all Bouygues E&S Solutions sites from May 2021, with a total estimated impact of 997kg of plastic saved

We have also been undertaking trials with ReWorked, an innovative company that uses COVID-19 PPE items to manufacture durable and versatile materials. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bouygues Construction United Kingdom has procured 3 million masks to protect our people in the workplace. With the help of ReWorked, PPE is disposed of in collection boxes and returned via a pre-paid courier to a specialist facility for sterilisation and processing. The waste is then processed into items such as reusable construction site hoarding, office furniture, toilet cubicles, planters, and even dedicated protection boxes (for outdoor use).
For a long time now, we have been working closely with our FM contracts on their waste strategies. One of the ways we do this is by using our Sustainability Reporting Tool which collects and monitors waste performance monthly.

As for the future, our corporate objectives for 2021 include:

  • removing at least one item of single use plastic from all our contracts’ supply chain
  • identifying and commencing a project to significantly reduce the percentage of waste to landfill on at least two Facilities Management contracts, in partnership with our clients
  • developing a process that diverts at least one waste stream into a recycling activity that enables the waste to become a resource and then rolling this out across the company.

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