A RECYCLING firm has been named as the UK leader in a global competition set up to recognise businesses which show continuous improvement.
The awards, which are run by Corporate LiveWire and are now in their 11th year, saw J&B Recycling named as Most Outstanding In Recycling Solutions in the Innovation & Excellence category.
From the development and incorporation of cutting edge technology to the creation of forward thinking strategies, the Innovation & Excellence Awards honour and celebrate those businesses and firms which are creating a brighter tomorrow.
The Innovation & Excellence Awards give recognition to businesses that are transforming their respective industries and the standard-bearers of excellence by continually setting industry trends as well as showing significant advances in terms of innovation and improvement.
J&B Recycling has invested £6m into a state-of-the-art Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) which sorts and processes various waste streams at the highest quality, and also has also invested heavily in equipment for both its sites in Hartlepool and South Tees.
Vikki Jackson-Smith, Managing Director of J&B Recycling, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be named as the winners of such a prestigious award.
“We have continued to grow year-on-year, both in terms of our turnover and the workforce, and throughout that time we have continued to invest in systems to ensure we stay ahead of the field and provide the best service we can to our customers.
“To be named as a top performer in the UK is an honour for any business in any sector, and it is nice for everyone connected with J&B Recycling that our hard work is recognised in this way.“
As well as the UK awards, honours are also handed out to businesses from across the globe with categories covering the Americas, Asia & Australasia and Africa & The Middle East.
Jake Powers from Corporate LiveWire said: “Given the increased focus on sustainability and ecology in recent times, it has become even more imperative for companies to provide innovative solutions in waste collection, recovery and recycling.
“Our judges were satisfied that J&B Recycling tick all of these boxes and were particularly impressed by the seamless manner in which they operate.
“As a result, we are delighted to name them as the winner for the Most Outstanding in Recycling Solutions in our Innovation & Excellence Awards for 2016.“
Elizabeth Moore, Awards Director of the 2016 Innovation & Excellence Awards, said: “The Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence award winners have not only excelled within their respective sector but have also shown flexibility to adapt to industry changes.
“We are extremely proud of every single one of our winners and we look forward to seeing how they will continue to demonstrate their commitment in the future.“
Votes were taken for the awards through the Corporate LiveWire website over the last 12 months, with the most successful applicants eventually put onto a shortlist.
From there, the judging panel considered the strengths of each candidate, setting its sights firmly on the most innovative, groundbreaking and client-focused firms, teams and individuals who have transformed the way in which they do business.
J&B Recycling recycles approximately 120,000 tonnes of waste each year from household, commercial, industrial and construction sources with customers including car parts manufacturer Nifco UK, Camerons Brewery and dozens of community buildings, pubs and restaurants.
The company’s strategy is to divert waste from landfill by increasing the levels and types of waste streams that can be recycled in a cost effective and sustainable manner through forward thinking and innovation.
J&B Recycling employs almost 200 staff across both sites in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.
Tourism is developing unsustainably in many poorer nations and so is failing to deliver major economic gains, according to researchers speaking at a conference.
The sector is often lauded as a valuable source of income for developing countries with beautiful environments. But it is not creating better infrastructure such as roads and clean water, as its representatives often claim, the audience heard last week at the annual international conference of the United Kingdom’s Royal Geographical Society.
Vishal Singh, a researcher at the Centre for Ecology, Development and Research in India, told the event that “not enough is invested in local development” through tourism companies.
Singh gave the example of a lake near Sukhatal, a tourist attraction in the Himalayas. The lake has halved in size in nine years due to pumping and irrigation, but no local tourism revenue has ever been put into its conservation, he said.
According to sustainability NGO the Worldwatch Institute, tourism is a crucial source of foreign currency for the world’s 40 poorest countries. But research presented at the conference showed that tourism also directly harms the environment while generating ever-higher carbon emissions through international travel.
The conference, which ran from 1 to 4 September, heard that carbon dioxide emissions from tourists’ travel are expected to quadruple by 2100, making a significant contribution to climate change, which disproportionately affects developing countries.
Tourism contributes five per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, UN agency the World Tourism Organization reports.
This goal of a “clean sector” is not being achieved, said Paul Peeters, who researches sustainable tourism at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. He is urging the travel industry to make tourism more sustainable by reducing air and car travel and becoming less wasteful.
He told the conference the tourism sector was under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact from agriculture and electricity companies, which also have to cut emissions in countries with strict legislation.
But to Melanie Stroebel, who researches environmental governance at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, it is important to discover exactly which firms in the tourist sector are causing environmental harm so they can be held accountable. However, because of powerful interests, “a radical change in the tourism business context seems unlikely”, she said.
Stroebel also argued that proposed sustainability measures such as reducing air travel could harm developing countries. Stroebel said that tourism supports local retailers and creates jobs, mostly in the hotel and restaurant sector.
“There are economic benefits involved,” she told the event.
In the Maldives, for example, tourism generates 42 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product), business forum the World Travel & Tourism Council reports.
But Peeters told SciDev.Net that tourism is a poor way to drive economic growth because it mainly offers basic jobs such as working in hotels or restaurants.
For years the prophets of the heralded ecology age have been drawing our attention to the potential of south European countries in terms of solar energy. Thus it was probably high time that a team from a country bordering the Mediterranean won a Solar Decathlon Europe event for the first time, as happened this year. And never before had it been such a close finish, not since 2002, when the very first Solar Decathlon took place under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. In the end no less than three points – from a total of 840 – stood between the winning team from the Università degli Studi Roma Tre and the squad from Delft University of Technology at third place.
For those who have never visited a Solar Decathlon before, the event can probably best be described as a mixture of student workcamp, architecture exhibition and open-air building and construction fair. The unique atmosphere and the opportunity to showcase the prowess of one’s university to the world public still motivates countless students and professors to devote two years of their lives to participation in the event. From applying to take part and developing a concept through drawing up the detail design to looking for sponsors and organising transportation, this is how long the preparatory phase takes until the dawning of the two-week on-site competition phase.
Be that as it may, and despite all enthusiasm and the opportunity for public exposure, there has been much pondering in recent times about the meaning of the Solar Decathlon. As is asked, what exactly is so future-oriented about planning and building a detached home for two even if it meets all its energy needs with solar power? Thus it is to the credit of the organisers in Versailles that they modified the competition rules originally formulated in 2002. This time the search was not for single-family residences that generate a maximum of solar power under the climatic conditions of the competition venue, but answers to burning urban development, social and ecological problems in the countries that the university teams hailed from. Moreover the students were to take global, future-oriented sustainable construction issues into consideration, such as urbanisation and settlement consolidation, the interlocking of architecture and mobility, affordable construction and sparing use of resources and energy.
From industrial loft to row house upgrading
The design teams responded to the challenge with a wealth of ideas, whereby the fact that the Solar Decathlon involves ten categories almost became an afterthought – at the presentation of their buildings, few of the teams put emphasis on technology but on architecture and urban development concepts. The houses also called for bit of imagination on the part of the beholder: presented in single-family house format for space, cost and time reasons, the buildings mainly consisted of prototypes standing for a more far-reaching concept.
The winning project from Rome consists of a wooden apartment for the top floor of a multi-family housing project, and if an investor can be found could one day be realised on the periphery of the Italian capital. The runners-up from Nantes, France, presented a concept for breathing new life into a late-19th-century industrial building in the French city’s port area with a mix of housing and greenhouse. Delft University of Technology even reconstructed the row house of the grandparents of one of the team members to demonstrate their concept of how buildings could be made more energy-efficient with solar energy. And no less than five teams, including the Berlin one at fourth place, presented attic conversions or roof remodelling solutions for existing buildings.
There was no lack of interesting ideas even in the houses that did not make it to the top places in the competition: the students from Chile and Japan examined concepts for housing reconstruction after storm surges and earthquakes, and their colleagues from Mexico City designed a low-budget modular system that takes the particular climate and chronic water shortages of the Mexican capital into consideration for shanty town inhabitants. Affordability was also the main focus of the south European teams: the students from Sant Cugat near Barcelona – winners in the “Architecture” category – presented a very simple building basically consisting of a structural framework system and a polycarbonate skin. After the competition is over, the building is to be placed at the disposal of a community in the Catalonian hinterland, whereupon the residents can then decide on how it is to be used – the structure is so flexible in design it could act as a community centre, supermarket or workshop building.
Regionalism meets high-tech
If Kenneth Frampton had not coined the term “critical regionalism” back in the 80s, someone else would have to do so today to describe the design attitude of the student teams participating in the Solar Decathlon. But only in a very few cases were the projects concerned with a direct reinterpretation of traditional architectural forms. Rather, the regionalism on view reflected a precise analysis of the challenges that cities and rural regions face today in differing parts of the world. And these challenges are completely different to those of 100 or 200 years ago. In this the projects in Versailles breathed new life into the well-worn slogan “think globally, act locally”.
The result was a veritable world’s fair of young architecture in which rivalry about energy budgets, indeed about the comparability of the houses, faded into the background – and this is to be seen in a very positive light. Yet the organisers ought to put more thought to the public exposure of their event; Versailles may be redolent in history but anyone seeking to kindle mass enthusiasm for green building at the next competition would be well advised to seek a venue with more public appeal, one in a downtown location as in Washington and Madrid in the past.
Retrieved Tuesday, 05 August 2014