skip filled with waste and truck on road

We often get asked by clients what happens to their skip waste once it has left their property – is it recycled?

As a business, Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens recycles as much waste as possible. That is why we choose local business Fletchers Waste Management for so many of our projects. With strong eco credentials, Fletchers has an impressive approach to waste management.

To answer some of your burning questions about waste and recycling, we invited Fletchers to tell us more about what they do and their approach to sustainability.

And in answering the question about if skip waste gets recycled, you’ll be relieved, and possibly amazed, to hear that 98% of the waste that arrives at their Sheffield facility is recycled rather than being committed to landfill.

Who is Fletchers Waste Management and what do you do?

Fletchers Waste Management provides complete turnkey solutions for all waste management requirements across various sectors. We are a leading provider of skip hire in Sheffield and operate nationally, servicing domestic and commercial customers. Fletchers Waste is now one of the largest privately-owned waste management businesses in South Yorkshire. We currently process over 550 tonnes of waste every day at our Sheffield site and thousands more through our broker work across the country.

Why is sustainability important?

Fletchers started as a scrap metal business and over the years evolved into waste management. As the company’s focus evolved, as did our genuine concern and dedication to being more sustainable.

fletchers skip on drive outside house

How does Fletchers Waste Management try to be sustainable?

We are continuously finding ways to divert as much residual waste from landfill as possible to improve our sustainability. 98% of the skip waste brought into our facility in Sheffield is recycled. We have continually invested millions into new processes, plant and machinery over the years and work to ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 standards. This ensures best practices and helps us to maximise the recycling of all materials processed in our facility.

Mattresses are a key contributor to the UK’s landfill and fly-tipping problem. We have recently implemented new processes to manage and recycle them more efficiently. We have created specific bays for when companies such as local councils and environmental services tip mattresses into our facility. Storing them separately from other waste makes it easier for us to shred the mattresses down. We then separate the springs and send the fabric to be recycled for further processing.

Fletchers have also recently joined forces with environmental CSR specialists, ARK who organise conservation projects for businesses. Our most recent project consisted of us joining the Don Catchment Rivers Trust to target the invasive Himalayan Balsam by pulling out the balsam plants before they seed in late summer.

We will also soon be helping them with natural flood management by building “leaky dams” in the Moss Valley. This will reduce flooding downstream in places like the Rother Valley. Working with ARK has forced us in a positive way to raise our vision from our day-to-day tasks. It has helped our team engage in the bigger picture and do something positive for the environment.

Mattresses going into shredder
Mattresses being shredded to separate the materials for recycling.

What happens to the waste from a domestic skip?

After one of our drivers tip the domestic waste skip into our facility, grab wagons are then used to pick through any visual recyclables. They are separated into piles for people on the ground who will then pull out any scrap and easy recyclables, for example, metal, plastic, wood and cardboard. Any wood, plastic, and cardboard pulled out at this stage will be compacted into bales and sent for recycling at an energy recovery facility.

If it cannot be easily sorted at the first stage, the rest of the waste will be processed through a shredder, then sent through to the picking line. The waste is now in smaller fractions so that the Picking Station Operatives can pick out recyclable materials more efficiently. This process is repeated several times.

What items from an old kitchen or bathroom can clients put in a skip?

If you are doing a bathroom clearance, all materials can be put into the skip, even radiators, as long as they are not oil-based and have been drained first. If tiles and flooring are being removed from the property, we recommend hiring nothing larger than an 8-yard skip as they can become heavy in large amounts. Also, old properties with original flooring have a higher risk of hazardous materials such as asbestos being present in the underlay. Because of this, you may be required to let us know what the materials are first, whether it is foam or textile and how old it is.

Similarly, most items from a kitchen can be put in a skip, including electronics, apart from fridges and freezers unless we are made aware of them in advance. We will then arrange for them to be sent to a reprocessing site to be appropriately handled and recycled. Not many people are aware, but fridges and freezers are deemed hazardous waste because they contain chemicals and gasses that are harmful to the environment under the WEEE regulations 2013.

If the property is being decorated when hiring a skip, it’s important to note that we cannot accept paint tins. This is due to paint being classed as hazardous waste. However, we will always help customers with advice and have a full list of items that can and cannot be put into our skips on our website.

fletchers team litter picking in sheffield

Can appliances be disposed of in a skip?

Most appliances are fine to go into a skip. However, we always ask customers to let us know what appliances they want to dispose of when ordering their skip. Additional arrangements have to be made for some items to be appropriately recycled and can incur an extra charge.

Fridges are separated and sent to a designated treatment facility in Sheffield, where they are de-gassed and de-foamed before being recycled. Small WEEE items such as toasters go to a treatment facility in Rotherham for metal recovery and plastic recycling. Cookers and washing machines are segregated at our facility and disposed of as scrap metal.

Fletchers grabber moving skip waste to be recycled

Do you have any advice for other businesses wanting to be more sustainable?

The path to becoming a more sustainable business can sometimes be an overwhelming one. For many people, it is not always possible to make significant sustainable changes overnight. Because of this, our advice is to start with small and manageable steps. Small changes are still better than no change at all!

An easy place to start is to concentrate on how you manage your waste. Try and organise your waste into piles and separate the different waste types, for example, plastics and cardboard. Recycling bins for different materials in communal areas is a small change that will make a big difference. It makes recycling more accessible for staff and reduces any bad habits of throwing it into the nearest waste bin.

If possible, invest in reusable water bottles for staff to use in and outside of the office. This will encourage a reduction in single-use plastic.

Policies can also be created, such as the Switch-Off policy. This policy inspires staff to save energy by switching off lights and appliances around the office. Send regular email reminders and add posters near switches to encourage the change.

If businesses lead by example by making these small changes, staff are more likely to adopt these changes themselves. Thus, leading to a positive trickling effect!

For more news and behind the scenes action visit our blog.

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