Green-thinking staff at Ankerside land top environmental award

January 4, 2016

ZERO tolerance for waste has helped staff at Ankerside Shopping Centre land an environmental award.

The busy Tamworth mall has won silver in the lauded International Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice.

Judges were impressed by the centre’s sustainable and green credentials, with virtually all its waste recycled as part of a three-year self-financing initiative.

Deputy centre manager Jeff Wigley and centre administrator Lucy Harvey travelled to the Palace of Westminster to receive the award, alongside the cream of the UK’s environmental projects.

Jeff said: “I was stunned when I discovered that we had been awarded silver for our recycling initiative, as we haven’t entered anything like this before.

“The Silver Green Apple Award is an honour for everybody who works at Ankerside, as every tenant has taken extra time and effort with sorting their waste. It also reflects very well on shoppers who have used the recycling bins around the centre.”

No waste from Ankerside Shopping Centre goes to landfill – instead 95 per cent is recycled, with the remainder turned into energy by Tamworth firm WM Briers.

Retailers are encouraged to sort out their waste, especially cardboard packaging, while Ankerside shoppers are asked to use different rubbish bins, depending on what they were throwing away.

The Green Apple Awards are made by the independent and not-for-profit Green Organisation, which is dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

The Ankerside team looked at areas in which they could improve their performance and reduce the centre’s environmental impact and decided the best way was to tackle the general waste and cardboard.

“We researched local companies that we could work with and found that Briers Waste management, based in Glascote, had been developing a similar ethos and would be happy to work with us in our recycling efforts,” said Jeff.

Ankerside Shopping Centre deputy manager Jeff Wigley and centre administrator Lucy Harvey with the Green Apple Award and Aleah Leigh, eco fashion designer

Ankerside Shopping Centre deputy manager Jeff Wigley and centre administrator Lucy Harvey with the Green Apple Award and Aleah Leigh, eco fashion designer

At Briers’ purpose built waste facility, called The SORT, Ankerside’s general waste is dealt with by hand, while the company also collects 30 large bales of compressed cardboard on every visit to the mall.

Only 5% of all general waste cannot not be recycled and this is now sent to Briers’s sister site where it is turned into energy.

The Ankerside’s recycling scheme, now in its fifth year, became self-financing after three years explained Jeff, and has helped to see new tress planted and wildlife flourish.

“Our partnership with Briers has been fundamental in the success of this project as without them we would not have achieved this award. A big thank-you goes to Mark Heard of Briers and the rest of the team – between us we are now proud to be able to say that we are sending no waste to landfill,” he said.

“While working with Briers we discovered that to off-set its own carbon footprint the company has constructed a 20-acre wildlife park, complete with lakes and 2,000 trees, plus a wind turbine.”

The Green Apple Awards, supported by the Environment Agency and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health among others, began in 1994 and are at the forefront of recognising environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries.