Clarks are regarded as the world’s number one in ‘everyday footwear’. With annual sales in excess of 50 million pairs of shoes, Clarks is a global business, selling shoes in over 75 countries.As part of the Clarks ‘Behaving Responsibly’ programme, the company was looking to improve recycling and increase the rate of diversion from landfill across its UK stores. Their goal was to implement co-mingled recycling with the aim of achieving a recycling rate of 80%, improving on this figure year on year throughout the duration of the contract with Veolia. Alongside this, the aim was to reduce any volumes going to landfill, utilising Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) and Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) to produce energy as alternative disposal methods.
As co-mingled recycling was a new concept for Clarks and its stores, achieving the targets has been reliant upon stores changing their existing practices and adopting new ways of managing their waste.
The ChallengeVeolia faced space issues within Clarks stores as they had very little space to segregate, store and bulk-up waste for weekly collections. The stores required higher frequency services, some as often as five times per week.
Awareness raising and communications to employees in store were also needed to ensure that everyone understood their role in contributing to improved recycling rates using a co-mingled system.
The SolutionIn conjunction with Clarks, the dedicated Veolia Account Manager initially conducted a series of separate waste audits across the country and at various store types. The initial waste analysis identified that up to 95% of UK store waste could potentially be recycled as a significant amount of waste comprised of cardboard (boxes and shoe stiffeners) and polythene. Other streams included food and food packaging.
Clarks and Veolia agreed on a trial run with 30 pilot stores in the UK. This approach would also highlight regional variations; store-size related issues, take-up of understanding and would ultimately check the feasibility of the bigger roll-out plan.
Prior to the trial, the 30 stores received regular communication from Clarks about the initiative. Veolia developed an information pack with Clarks and this was distributed to all participating stores.
During the pilot phase, colour coded 1,100 litre mixed recycling bins and 240 litre bins or a bag service for food or general waste, replaced the stores existing containers.
This was supported with posters and waste specific information. Training was delivered and larger stores also benefited from the on-site presence of a Veolia representative during the first stage of the roll-out process.
As anticipated, recycling rates initially fluctuated across the trial stores. The Veolia Account Manager analysed the results and investigated causal factors, on the basis of which it was possible to establish a suitable benchmark across the pilot stores. During the trial period, stores that fell below the required benchmark received additional support.
After a successful three month trial, Clarks requested the roll-out of the initiative across all of its Veolia serviced retail outlets.
The pilot had delivered a valuable insight into how the stores operated and coped with the new processes. A spreadsheet was developed to highlight the frequency of required collections from the sites. These sites were gradually transferred over to co-mingled collections during the full service roll-out.
1611% Carbon Performance Ratio - Improved from 1069% in 2013.
99.7% diversion from landfill rate - Up from 40% in 2012.
91.9% of all waste is recycled.
From the start of the contract with Veolia, Clarks improved its diversion from landfill rate for its Veolia serviced UK stores from 40% to 84% over an initial six month period. This figure has now increased to 99.7% in 2015. Clarks have seen their rate of recycling increase from 30% to over 82% in the initial six months of the contract. This now stands at 91.9% across the Veolia serviced UK stores, with a further 7.8% of the waste produced sent for energy generation at Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facilities (ERF). In addition, the alternative treatment solutions have delivered cost benefits providing a great win-win solution.
Even more impressive is Clarks carbon performance. In 2015 Clarks achieved a Carbon Performance Ratio of 1,611%, based on an average month’s waste generation. This is an increase of 543% on Clarks 2013 waste management carbon footprint. This means Clarks have offset over ten times the carbon emissions generated through their waste management activities. This can be mainly attributed to the high recycling rates achieved through reprocessing of recyclable materials and Veolia’s Materials Recovery Facilities, ERF’s, Refuse Derived Fuel, and Anaerobic Digestion of food waste. This has been quantified through Veolia’s Greenhouse Gas Tracker (GHG) tool.
Clarks and Veolia are now focused on sustaining these achievements and exploring opportunities to further improve recycling rates and overall waste management.