The framework for waste and resource management in Europe is set by policy, the waste hierarchy and targets within these for recycling and recovery which EU member states must enforce. At Shanks, we align with the waste hierarchy, to increase our recycling and recovery rates and move towards more sustainable waste management methods. One obvious measure of our progress towards this aim is the rate at which we recycle or recover the waste it manages, which has now been made the topic of one of our key, long-term CR objectives.
Recycling and recovery are words well known to most people. However, the processes behind these words are often more complex and their start and end points may not be obvious.
For example, raw materials may be used to manufacture a product, which is used by a consumer before being discarded. A waste and resource company, such as Shanks, may collect the discarded product and separate it into its component materials before passing these onto various re-processors. The resultant re-processed resource may then be passed further down the line to a manufacturer to produce a different item, which is used by a consumer, discarded – and so on.
Of course some processes are simpler, such as wastes taken into a mechanical, biological treatment (MBT) plant which produces a secondary fuel for direct use by a customer seeking to reduce their carbon impact.
Shanks, and other companies in our sector, can either be one link in a long chain which leads to recycling or recovery, or it may be the prime player in a shorter process. Such life-cycle thinking cannot practically be covered in depth in this short report and the information presented below is for wastes which pass through our recycling and recovery operations, whether for further processing or direct use. However, whether one link in a long chain or the prime player, without companies such as Shanks the whole process would not take place.