Managing End of Waste with a Touch of Glass
Berryman is a leading glass recycling company, handling significant amounts of cullet that is saved from landfill and reused. Rob Shepherd finds out how certification to the End of Waste Regulations (EoWR), as part of its ISO 9001 quality management system, is enhancing the company’s operation and giving it a competitive edge.
Stop for a moment and take a look around – how much glass can you see? It's easy to take glass for granted, yet it remains a valuable and popular packaging material for food, drink and many other everyday items. On average, every family in the UK uses around 500 glass bottles and jars each year and in terms of weight, it makes up about eight per cent of the household waste stream. It is therefore important to recycle as much of it as possible.
Leading the way
For over 90 years Berryman has been buying and recycling all types of glass. During that time it has consistently led the way and pioneered new methods of treatment to make sure that the glass we buy can have a useful second life. The company operates world-class plants in Knottingley, Doncaster and South Kirkby, where cullet – the name given to broken or waste glass that is suitable for remelting – is treated.
Arsha Branson, relationship development manager at Berryman, believes that putting glass in landfill sites should be avoided at all costs, and says, ‘Glass is one of the few products that can retain all its qualities no matter how often it is recycled. The amount of energy needed to melt recycled glass is considerably less than that needed to melt raw materials to make new glass products and, in addition, every 1,000 tonnes of recycled glass that we remelt saves 314 tonnes of CO2.’
Rules and regulations
The Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) defines what is to be legally considered waste throughout Europe. Normally, treated recyclables are still classed as wastes until they have been turned into a final product, however, the End of Waste Regulations (EoWR) make exceptions to this. In June 2013, the EoWR were extended to incorporate glass cullet, with EU Regulation No 1179/2012 setting criteria for determining when glass cullet destined for remelting ceases to be waste.
‘The original EoWR dealt with iron, steel and aluminium scrap,’ explains Martin Hockaday, NQA’s environmental sector manager. These materials, as well as glass cullet, are no longer defined as waste when they have undergone treatment and meet the requirements laid down in the regulations. As well as defining treatment processes and techniques, and the necessary quality of the material resulting from the recovery operation, another key stipulation is that the waste processor must have a quality management system, such as one in line with ISO 9001, in place.’
Now that processed glass cullet is no longer a waste but a product, it does not have the same restrictions to storage, transportation and shipping as waste does, such as the need for transfer notes or licences under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations. This is a major benefit for companies such as Berryman and makes the whole logistical process much more efficient and cost effective.
Berryman has worked with NQA for a number of years and is certified to the ISO 9001 standard, which is now the world’s most established quality management framework and currently used by around 1,064,000 organisations in 178 countries worldwide.
With the EoWR being such an important and influential element of its day-to-day operations, Berryman discussed with NQA its desire to integrate its compliance within its quality management system. Explaining the reasons for this, Lee Glover, the company’s quality manager, states, ‘With increased competition in the recycling sector, we want to provide services that consistently meet and exceed our customers’ requirements. In order to do this we want to ensure that our operation is as efficient as possible through the continual improvement of processes, procedures and stakeholder relationships.’
The benefits of working with EoWR verified organisations are widely acknowledged in the glass recycling industry and companies procuring services – particularly from public sector and multinationals – are increasingly choosing to only work with those that have achieved this credential. A growing number of tender documents also request proof of a quality management system, with many referring explicitly to ISO 9001.
Parts of the process
By working closely with NQA, Glover and his team found that the integration process was more straightforward than they first imagined it would be. Many of the procedures required were already covered by the ISO 9001 quality management system but were amended to incorporate the EoWR and Berryman is now the first company to achieve compliance through NQA.
‘We now monitor product conformity against EoWR criteria and customer specifications, as well as monitoring the treatment process against a defined set of checks and maintain relevant records,’ comments Glover. ‘We also solicit feedback from customers on cullet quality and have designed and implemented a comprehensive training programme for our staff. Certificates of Conformity to the EoWR are also issued to our customers to provide reassurance that everything has met the agreed specification.’
In line with its obligations to review and refine its management system, Berrymann is conducting a £9m improvement in its operational infrastructure, which includes upgrading the colour sorting equipment at its Knottingley site in a bid to enhance quality. Lee Glover concludes, ‘This significant investment and our commitment to ISO 9001 and the EoWR are indicative of our desire to raise standards in our industry. Beyond that we are also actively urging councils all over the UK to do also more to improve the quality of glass collected for recycling to make sure it is suitable for remelting.’