Recycling bins at the Commonwealth Games

Revealed: Biffa publishes Commonwealth Games recycling stats

26 Sep 2022
2 mins
Biffa's sustainable treatment of waste saved 225 tonnes of carbon emissions compared to landfill.
Industry News
Circular Economy

More than 335,000 plastic bottles recycled and 143,000kWh of electricity produced from energy-from-waste

Biffa collected and recycled 335,000 plastic bottles, 13 tonnes of cardboard and paper, 2.5 tonnes of glass and 360kg of drinks cans from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, official figures reveal.

And any waste that couldn’t be recycled, such as food scraps, was transformed into 143,000kWh of electricity – that's enough to power almost 50 UK homes for a year.

Biffa’s sustainable treatment of the material it collected from Games venues saved 225 tonnes of carbon emissions when compared to landfill disposal. In fact, none of the waste Biffa collected went to landfill and no plastic waste was exported.

Birmingham 2022 aimed to make this the first Commonwealth Games with a carbon-neutral legacy, setting a benchmark for future Games and other major sporting events.

Charlotte Scallon, Head of Sustainability at Biffa, said: “We were delighted to be trusted as the Official Waste Management and Recycling Provider for Birmingham 2022.

“Tens of thousands of sports fans produce a lot of waste but, as leading enablers of the UK’s circular economy, we’re proud that we honoured our commitment to sustainably manage, treat and dispose of waste produced across the 12 days of the Games. It was a real team effort across the business.”

Biffa’s fleet of Games vehicles included three electric refuse collection trucks, while more than 100 Biffa employees volunteered their time as Recycling Ambassadors, helping visitors and spectators use the correct bins for their waste.

In total, more than 400 tonnes of waste was collected over the course of the Games, more than half of which was recycled.

Plastic bottles were recycled at Biffa’s flagship polymer plants in the North-East. Food waste was turned into electricity at Biffa’s anaerobic digestion plant in Cannock in the West Midlands, while other non-recyclable waste was converted into power at UK energy-from-waste plants.

Mick Wright, Birmingham 2022’s Executive Director of Games Services and Workforce, said: “It’s been great to have Biffa’s support as our Official Waste Management and Recycling Provider for the Games.

“It was very important to us to work with a provider that was committed to and experienced in sustainably managing waste and Biffa has proven to be the perfect partner, delivering on this aim and helping support our ambition of making Birmingham 2022 the first Commonwealth Games in history with a carbon-neutral legacy.”