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We don’t believe in waste of any kind, not just resources, but also time, energy, ideas or money. Life is short; we don’t want to waste it. Here you can delve deeper into the work with do with our customers by reading our binit blogs.

Pink Moon. How hospitality deals with waste

Many businesses that suffer from commercial waste problems are in hospitality. This often fast-paced industry is built around enticing customers with a cool atmosphere, friendly and hard-working staff who meet your customer’s needs, and swanky themes that distinguish you from the competition. However, business owners often need to weigh their options. Space may be at a premium and your location might be easy to walk past but not to drive to. Most importantly though, food and drink establishments need to be kept clean! Therein lies the problem with waste. With so much focus on the image of an establishment, how do you deal with waste?

This was just one of the problems that Binit tackled with Pink Moon, alongside hundreds of other businesses in hospitality. Pink Moon aimed to eliminate waste from public view. They set ambitious new recycling targets, all while trying to reduce their commercial waste management costs.

In partnership with Binit, they succeeded in their effort to eliminate waste. Customers no longer walk past bins but can still see their recycling efforts. Our branding allows for staff to recycle more easily and our partnerships reduced costs from increasing recycling rates. All this came from small changes introduced by simply switching commercial waste providers. Hospitality often suffers the most from waste and we’re helping put a stop to this.

How to make electrical waste collections carbon net-zero

The problem:

One of Binit’s core aims is to reduce the impact of heavy vehicle movements. Many of Europe’s cities are still built on medieval layouts and we are increasing efforts to ensure pedestrians and cyclists feel safer in urban areas. Unfortunately, the most efficient way to collect waste is in a 26-tonne bin lorry. Electric bin lorries are finally appearing on our streets. But demand is high, supply is low and it will be a while before it’s the norm. In the meantime, diesel is the fuel of choice and this will prevent waste collections from reaching net zero.

Binit worked closely with InExeter (the Business Improvement District) to find out what valuable materials contribute to this problem. Small electrical equipment was the obvious waste stream, mainly because of the high environmental impact of landfills or energy from waste. Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) can also have a high value. This is why we focused on methods that minimise damage to the materials while reducing carbon footprint from collecting it on a commercial scale.

The solution:

The solution was staring us in the face: cargo bikes. Agile, zero-emission and with minimal cost to function; they make the ideal transportation for materials without adding to congestion. Binit partnered with Co-Delivery, Exeter’s local cargo bike delivery firm. We have a particular love of Co-Delivery as we met Jenny, its founder, on the Exeter City Futures Accelerator programme when we were setting up back in 2017. To make the dream come true, the final step was to market our solution and get people on board. To make this happen we delivered gorgeous woven bags-for-life, embroidered with simple information on what to recycle and who to contact. Easy!

This net-zero waste solution takes us one step closer to a circular economy. Co-Delivery collect small electrical items from businesses in the centre of Exeter. They take these to a central bulking point where they are moved out of the city by van. The cargo bikes are whizzing around all day making deliveries so collections are made on the existing routes. A little more effort in planning means that we have made massively less impact with our collections. Simple.

Pizza Express: From waste everything to waste nothing

Pizza Express have been serving customers in Exeter pizzas and delicious desserts since 1998. That also happens to be the year our business relationship manager, Ethan, was born! However, after Ethan met with management, Pizza Express realised it was time to Binit better. After all, waste had been causing issues since the beginning:

  • With no options to recycle, everything was sent to landfill
  • Costs spiralled out of control as recycling was never reviewed
  • Over a tonne of rubbish was produced every week!

This is where Binit started to think different. We started with the waste itself. The majority of the weight which was contributing to high costs, was from food and glass. As both of these can be recycled, we provided dedicated recycling options which were less costly and reduced contamination in the dry recycling. We then separated the cardboard, plastic and cartons from the rest of the waste, allowing them to go from wasting everything, to recycling upwards of 70% of their waste!

You can see the improvements this made to just one store in our poster. What might surprise you is that they now save 50% of their waste management costs as a result! Waste nothing, including money!

Our slogan is to Binit better. Whether you’re a customer of ours or not, we want to help with waste. Since becoming a customer, Pizza Express have made even more improvements to their recycling. This includes internal eduction and signage to help employees. You can find out how we’ve helped other businesses too, like Pink Moon. Do you find some of the issues we’ve mentioned apply to you too? You should contact us! We’d love to hear from you, and you don’t have to produce a tonne of waste a week to get our interest.

From the man himself, Ethan

5 things that make recycling confusing

We know that recycling can be confusing, so we collected some of the most common areas that can be easily fixed. If you want to up your recycling game, read on!

1. confusing coffee cups

You’re about to have your daily dose of caffeine at a coffee shop but realise you forgot to bring your reusable cup. Never mind, you’ll have it in a takeaway coffee cup and then put it in the recycling bin. That way it won’t harm the planet, right? Well, let us tell you something.

Despite your hardest efforts to recycle, most regular takeaway coffee cups end up in landfill. Landfill decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen) and produces methane. Methane is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This is because hot drinks are typically served in paper cups with a thin inner plastic lining that prevents leaking. Unlike cups made of PET or polypropylene (PP) that are widely recycled in the UK, these tricky ‘paper’ cups can only be recycled at two specialist facilities in the country.

Sadly, only two specialist recycling plants have the capacity to process all discarded cups. Most cups do not make it to these facilities. As single-use cups are usually used on-the-go and there are not enough recycling bins for coffee cups, customers are likely to throw them in the general recycling bin where it could contaminate other recyclable materials.

So please just try and remember to have your reusable cup with you at all times!

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Compostable cups. It may not mean what you think

It is hard to think of anything less popular right now than a styrofoam cup. A plastic straw perhaps? We think compostable cups are the solution…but think again.

It’s taken us a while to realise, but every part of the natural world is contaminated with discarded single-use plastics and the chemicals that once made them. Used once, but with us for lifetimes. Our awakening to the damage they are doing has made single-use plastics, once epitomised as the ultimate in convenience, a shameful pariah.

Nowhere has the kickback against single-use plastics been felt more than around the food and drink industry. How do we retain the convenience that made us fall in love with single-use plastics in the first place, whilst removing the downsides?

Perhaps we are asking ourselves the wrong question. But I won’t stray into that can of worms here!

From edible water containers and food sachets made out of seaweed, to compostable cups and plates made from corn and vegetables, the race has begun to find alternatives that mean we can stick to old behaviour; use and throw away, business as usual.

compostables. the solution?

A new wave of single-use ‘compostable’ products have hit the market. For those making their living in the food industry, particularly those offering takeaway food and drinks, these products offer an environmentally friendly alternative. One that gives the consumer what they want — a guilt-free sandwich, a coffee without the lasting legacy.

Across Exeter, we have watched as our customers have swapped to these alternatives, kitting out office kitchens, serving up takeaways in boxes made of corn starch. All at a cost to them and all out of a desire to do their bit to minimise their footprint.

These ‘compostables’ end up in food waste bins, because they are compostable, right? That means they biodegrade, doesn’t it? 

If only it were that simple.

The Problem

On the whole, these products do not break down in a home composter. They don’t even break down in a landfill. They need high temperatures and specific conditions in order to degrade. Conditions that are only found in an industrial composting plant (which produces a high-grade compost from food waste) or an Anaerobic Digestor (which produces energy).

Whilst these processes have the benefit of creating a valuable product from the waste going into them, there is no guarantee that the compostables put in with food waste will even enter the plant! Councils around the UK are reporting that compostables are being taken out of food waste streams before they are digested because it is not possible to tell the difference between compostable and plastic products at the front end of the process. It is all pulled out as contamination. Instead, many households and businesses are being told to throw out compostables with general waste.

This arguably renders compostables, marketed as a practical solution for food-contaminated disposable packaging that would otherwise be incinerated or landfilled, redundant. Even though they are plant-based, so don’t leach nasty chemicals, they still create bulk that needs to be disposed of, with no value in their ‘waste’ whatsoever.

Added to this, uncertainty amongst businesses and households around what to do with these items means we risk them getting into every waste stream, from dry mixed recycling to food and garden waste, to residual waste and contaminating them.

alternatives

It’s not impossible for operators of AD plants to bolt on an additional process to digest compostables alone. Binit is working with the University of Exeter to investigate just this as part of a circular economy project in the South West. Compostables should afterall, be part of the regenerative, restorative economy. But will it be worth the investment?

So, before taking the decision to switch to compostables, it’s definitely worth considering some alternatives as well:

1. Washable, reusable crockery and cutlery

2. Stainless steel straws

3. Reusable coffee pods for your machine

4. Home compostable alternatives

5. Encouraging staff and customers to bring in their own containers

Have any questions? Or committed to compostables and want to figure out a way to dispose of them, please do get in touch or email home@binituk.com