At Shanks, sustainability is a core part of our business model and sits at the very heart of what we do. As a leading international waste-to-product company, we focus on converting waste into products such as recyclates, green energy or recovered fuel. Treating waste as a resource enables us to provide carbon benefits, cuts down on virgin raw material usage and generates green energy. Our green electricity production, carbon avoidance benefit and our recycling and recovery rate, are all included in our key five year CR objectives.
We have made good progress towards these objectives over the past year. Our recycling and recovery rate increased to 84%, having risen from 74% in 2010. Our green electricity production rose by 19% and has increased by 29% since 2010. The carbon avoidance benefit our activities provide to society has increased to more than 1.7 million tonnes.
Our continued success in making more from waste is possible because of the wide range of sustainable technologies we employ across our sites:
- our sorting centres and materials recycling facilities (MRFs) separate waste into individual components, such as paper, card, plastics and metals. This allows these components to be used again in products
- our mechanical biological treatment facilities (MBTs) shred residual waste and then dry it to produce a solid recovered fuel (SRF). This fuel is used to power production and industrial processes, so displacing fossil fuels
- at our organic treatment facilities we take food, green and other similar waste and turn it into green compost. At some of our organic treatment facilities we also generate green electricity
- at our flagship hazardous waste treatment processing facility at ATM in the Netherlands, we use thermal and other treatments to destroy the hazardous components of materials such as contaminated soil or paints. This prevents the potential release into the environment of hazardous materials
While our waste-to-product approach benefits the environment, we also recognise the potential impacts that our technologies and processes can create. During 2015/16, many of our larger facilities underwent energy efficiency assessments to ensure we produce the maximum carbon avoidance benefit, while reducing our relative carbon emissions.
For example, by using some of the waste it receives to power its own treatment facilities, our flagship hazardous waste treatment facility at ATM in the Netherlands saved more than 330,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2015/16 and supplied itself with more than 80% of its energy needs.
In 2015, we issued our first green retail bond. The funds from the bond issue have been used on green projects which have been independently verified. For an update on how we have allocated funds to green projects, see our CR Full Data document here.