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Saint Gobain Building Distribution

Strategic partnership with leading building distribution brands

Case study / Building a better future with Saint‑Gobain Building Distribution

In the UK and Ireland, Saint-Gobain Building Distribution include some of the best-known and trusted brands.

The business is committed to building a better future. It’s integral to the way they work – and it’s an ethos that also applies to the way they manage waste. Biffa first began working with Jewson – one of Saint-Gobain’s Building Distribution brands – back in 2005, and that relationship has since grown to include all 13 brands.

Biffa Account Manager, Matt Mernor has been working closely with the team for the past four years to identify the challenges and put solutions in place. With 12,500 employees working across the different brands, much of the challenge for Saint-Gobain Building Distribution was making sure that the waste management message got across to their people.

“We’ve been supporting Saint-Gobain Building Distribution with a programme of education for a number of years,” said Matt. “Early on in the partnership, Biffa supported Saint-Gobain Building Distribution with producing a 24-page Recycling & Waste Disposal Guide – covering everything from different waste types to terminology. It’s the go-to for any waste related questions.”

In 2017, Saint-Gobain Building Distribution produced 22,577 tonnes of waste and only around 18% of this was sent to landfill – 58% of all waste was recycled. Matt explained: “In the last few years we’ve seen a huge improvement in the way waste is managed on site, but as Saint-Gobain Building Distribution moves closer to its target, they are keen to tighten up the way waste is handled.”

Saint-Gobain Building Distribution is in a position where a large percentage of their waste can be reused, sold or recycled. Each building distribution site has a waste segregation scheme in place, which enables employees to segregate waste into different waste streams, such as plastics, inert waste and dry mixed recycling. But incorrect sorting and segregating of waste means that materials that could be recycled are ending up in landfill and this is something that Saint-Gobain Building Distribution is keen to address.

Sorting out the issues

Saint-Gobain Building Distribution has set an ambitious target to reduce all non-recoverable waste to landfill by 50% by the year 2025.

“It’s not just something to aim towards; it’s a goal we will achieve,” explained Jayne Kennell, Head of Environment for Saint-Gobain Building Distribution. “As well as wanting to reduce our overall environmental impact, there are the cost benefits to the business as well. We ensure our goal is achieved and exceeded by encouraging branches to reduce, reuse and recycle and working with Biffa to move towards as much general waste as possible going to RDF rather than landfill.

“We’ve been working with Biffa to ensure that all our employees understand what they should be doing with their waste, but more importantly, why.”

With Biffa’s support, Saint-Gobain Building Distribution has put together a training film to get across the message that every single person matters when it comes to waste management. The video will form part of the induction process for branch staff and at Saint-Gobain’s Building Distribution head office. As well as the environmental benefits, the video will also address the safety issues around incorrect segregation and how it is the responsibility of every single person on site to sort waste correctly.

Angie Wright, SGBD Environmental & ISO Specialist, worked closely with Matt and Jayne to develop the training video. “We know that when people are busy doing their jobs, disposing of waste needs to be as straightforward as possible,” she explained. “It’s easy to think that in the grand scheme of things, one person doesn’t matter, but if you understand that an entire waste stream can end up going to landfill because of contaminated waste, it definitely makes you think twice before you throw something away.”

Building on success

Thanks to the recycling rating system that is in place at each building distribution site, it will be possible to measure the success of the training video.

“Currently every site is rated for recycling from A-E,” explained Matt. “Our aim through the training video is to educate everyone so that each site achieves a grade C or above, which shows that they are being safe, reducing waste to landfill and reducing costs.”

“We’ve got the right systems in place, and with Matt’s support and the backing of Biffa, we’re confident that our goals are achievable,” said Jayne. “It’s a fantastic partnership, and we know that they are working alongside us to tackle any challenges.”

Saint-Gobain Building Distribution has made some fantastic progress, and they remain committed to achieving their goals. And Biffa is fully behind the business.

“Saint-Gobain Building Distribution's success is our success,” explained Matt. “We’ll continue to work with them wherever possible to help them achieve these targets – whether that’s through improved services, innovation or education.”

Martin Nobes - Head of New Business

Martin Nobes

New Business Enquiries - if you're interested in how Biffa can help support you with strategic sustainable solutions contact Martin by emailing martin.nobes@biffa.co.uk

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Tonnes of waste SGBD produced In 2017

42%

was removed as General waste

18%

of general waste sent to landfill

58%

of all waste was recycled