The importance of moving to zero waste to landfill

Helen Holley – Environmental Manager at Wolseley – looks at how the industry can achieve zero waste to landfill, and the roles that installers and merchants can play:

The transition to the zero carbon economy is now driving how we behave in our everyday lives, how we act as people and how businesses carry out their responsibilities.

The plumbing and heating sector, like all industries, has a duty to protect the planet, to safeguard the precious resources that we have for future generations.

Of course, Wolseley is not alone in our sector in adapting our procedures for the benefit of all. For our part, what I can say is that over the past few years, we have placed an increased focus on our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy including aggressive targets to reduce our carbon and waste output.

Fundamentally, this year, we are further increasing our ESG commitment and have produced a plan for how we will achieve zero waste to landfill by 2025.

This includes a variety of activities that will start almost immediately and form part of our operational procedures going forward.

This involves:

  • Creating – and issuing every branch with – a new waste guide to make it easier to identify the best disposal route for waste
  • Collaborating with Biffa Waste Management Company to conduct waste audits that will identify the waste streams and see what waste is being placed in the general waste bins
  • Review available recycling options for what is placed in the general waste
  • Work with our key supplier partners to identify ‘circular economy solutions’. It will mean precious resources are returned to suppliers for recycling/remanufacturing

Alongside this, Wolseley is strongly encouraging branches to consider whether the waste they place in the general waste bins really does belong in there so that they can ensure that they place as much as they can in the recycling bins.

This approach is something that I would urge all retailers to consider, and many are already doing so.

At Wolseley we’re proactively working to reduce our waste, we’re proud that we already have six branches within the Wolseley Pipe and Climate network that are achieving zero waste to landfill. Not only that,

Wolseley UK has 51 sites (over 10% of the branch entire network) that have zero waste to landfill to date. As a whole business, Wolseley has an average of 84% landfill diversion. The last 16% will not be easy but we believe it is achievable.

I’m sure it can, and it will be, done. My belief comes from the actions of my colleagues at Wolseley UK. In fact, our plumbing and heating local branch in Anglesey has just requested to remove its general waste bin as they no longer need it.

Meanwhile, Wolseley is not just focused on internal initiatives, but is also committed to supporting customers in reducing their environmental impacts as well. This is being achieved by introducing innovative and energy saving products such as air-ground source heat pumps, hydrogen and district heating, as well as heat saving and online energy saving tools.

There’s no doubt that the transition to the zero carbon economy will play an ever-increasing role and Wolseley, along with others in the plumbing and heating sector. We plan to be at the forefront of these types of changes to support our customers with industry leading knowledge.