We are one of the UK’s leading energy and waste management companies. We support a range of organisations including individual schools, multi-academy trusts, office blocks, retailers, restaurant chains and manufacturing sites through to clients with over 500 locations.
Because of its large procurement power and spend, Sustainable Advantage offers attractive collection rates for all waste streams, from everyday general waste through to clinical waste and hazardous waste.
Many years ago, most waste ended up as general waste. Waste companies dug large holes (called landfills) and poured waste into it. The government soon realised that this wasn’t sustainable and that, with land shortages and increasing waste, the UK was heading for a problem. It started increasing landfill tax to force waste providers to seek alternative methods of disposal. This is now translating into legislation, with Scotland leading the way.
A certain amount of general waste is unavoidable. Our role is to ensure that it is minimised and that what is left is disposed of as cost-effectively as possible – ideally with zero waste to landfill through further recycling or a waste-to-energy solution.
We work closely with client teams to ensure that waste is segregated as far as possible into streams that can be recycled or sold. In many cases we work with clients as consultants to investigate a wide range of alternatives such as how raw materials are packaged and what their suppliers can do to backfill items like cardboard.
Where general waste is unavoidable, we look at the most cost-effective way of disposing of it – for example, by using compactors where volumes make this economical. We ensure that container sizes and collection frequencies are optimal and that the latter are flexible where necessary – schools, for instance, may wish to reduce or stop collections during holidays.
Non-general, recyclable waste is much cheaper for our clients to dispose of and so our role is to ensure our clients’ recycling rates are as high as possible. We report on this monthly for most of our clients and have a plan for the year that is tracked and reported on monthly. Some waste streams have a value and we ensure our clients receive maximum rebates where possible, validated by our team who constantly watch and analyse the UK rebate indices.
The materials handled include:
Packaging and the like can be recycled up to six times. We obtain rebates for cardboard where it’s baled. If a client doesn’t have the volume to warrant a baler, we still achieve significantly lower disposal costs than if the material was taken away as general waste.
All types of glass can be recycled again and again. Hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities generate significant amounts of glass which can easily be segregated and taken away in 240 or 360-litre containers with low disposal costs.
Plastic waste comes in many forms, from soft plastic found in wrappings to hard plastic like coat hangers or manufacturing offcuts. Plastic waste can be melted or re-ground to form new products. We obtain rebates for plastic scrap, with the value depending on the quality and whether it’s mixed with other types or grades of plastic.
Wood waste comes in many forms, from wood chips that are classified as green waste through to wood offcuts and even pallets. It’s an organic material that is environmentally friendly and can be used in various applications from fertilizer to fuel.
The majority of waste food has traditionally been sent to landfill. This is a poor option because:
- The food biodegrades and releases greenhouse gases
- It is costly to dispose of as organisations that generate such waste pay landfill tax on it
- When food is mixed in with the general waste it makes processing and recycling the general waste difficult i.e. harder to extract recycled materials that can be processed / re-used
For clients who wish to avoid these problems and get ahead of likely changes in the law, Sustainable Advantage negotiates contracts for food waste disposal in cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways.
There have been a number of technological advances in this field with the commercialisation of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants. During this process, biogas is generated from the food waste. This is a renewable source of energy and the residue product is turned into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
This disposal route is typically 25 -30% cheaper than disposing of food waste as general waste.
Medical, dental, veterinary practices, hospitals and certain R & D facilities are among the organisations that produce clinical waste. These organisations face high waste disposal costs and there are stringent compliance requirements for its disposal.
Sustainable Advantage has a network of specialist suppliers that cost effectively remove and dispose of clinical waste whilst adhering to compliance regulations.
Given how critical compliance is, we have a dedicated compliance team that ensures all clinical waste movements are tracked and accounted for via the appropriate documentation. This documentation is stored within our online compliance portal with 24/7 access by our clients invaluable in any audit situation. In addition, we report monthly on the various types of clinical waste removed and the method of disposal.
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) contains dangerous materials that have to be dealt with by an authorised treatment facility rather than sent to landfill.
Clients of Sustainable Advantage rely on us to negotiate the best possible method for their WEEE disposal – one that achieves safe disposal but at a reasonable cost.
As well as saving our clients’ money, we give clients the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are fulfilling all their legal obligations. Documented proof is loaded onto our compliance portal, detailing who has removed the waste and recording that it has been disposed of correctly and that our clients have discharged their obligations.
Almost all organisations generate hazardous waste. Adhesives, aerosols, cleaning chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, gas cylinders, paints – these are just some of the items that fall into this category.
Sustainable Advantage makes all the arrangements for the collection and disposal of such material, ensuring both compliance with the law and rigorous control of costs.
We look after everything from hazardous waste audits to contract negotiation and service monitoring. Clients can leave it all to us with total confidence. Where possible, we even negotiate rebates for this waste stream. Solvents are a good example where the materials are sent to our solvent recovery partners across the UK.