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Topps Tiles logo

Topps Tiles

Strategic partnership with nationwide tile specialist

Case study // Giving its employees understanding and ownership of their waste streams is helping Topps Tiles achieve its environmental goals

What do you do when you want to make a positive difference to the environment and you’ve set the clock running on your ambitions? Complete a waste audit? Sort out your waste streams and order the relevant bins for your business? Gen up on the legislation? Yes to all three.

But if you really want to achieve your aspirations, you gain the buy-in of your people, giving them the understanding and information they need to come with you on your journey.

Topps Tiles, the nationwide tile specialist, has set itself the target of being a zero-waste-direct-to-landfill business by 2018. With the support of its 1,500 plus employees and help from long-term waste partner Biffa, the company is confident that while it may not be an easy feat, it is an achievable one.

A leader in its sector

Roger Barrett, Corporate Account Manager for Biffa, said: “Topps Tiles wants to be the leader in its sector for waste minimisation and recycling, and we’re keen to help them achieve this. We’ve been working to increase Dry Mixed Recycling (DMR) services at each site, while reducing General Waste. By educating employees on what can and can’t be disposed of in DMR, we’ve also reduced contamination of recycling containers – contamination incidents are now down to less than four a week.”

Waste reduction isn’t the only area the two partners have been tackling. Topps Tiles is currently trialling Hazardous Waste services, and as a result, Biffa’s Waste Safe Mini containers are being installed across the estate to ensure compliance.

“Our starting point was a discussion during one of our Team Talks,” said Sarah Kite, Central Operations Manager, Topps Tiles. “An employee asked about hazardous waste and we started to look into safe disposal methods and relevant legislation.”

Getting colleagues on board

A training programme was put in place to help the Topps Tiles employees understand how they can recycle and dispose of hazardous waste as efficiently as possible. The training also included a detailed, online waste and recycling guide created by Biffa. Employees can use the guide to refer to best practice and find out information on how to book waste services.

In a similar vein, the company has also decided that, to help store teams achieve their waste objectives, they should have more visibility and ownership of their waste.

Sarah explained: “Each of our stores has its own profit and loss and we want them to understand how waste collections have an impact on their business and how they can play their part in helping us achieve zero-waste-direct-to-landfill.”

Therefore, stores are trialling Biffa’s online customer portal, CustomerZone, which gives them instant access to their account information. This means that each site can now see their own recycling figures and also receive service notifications to know when Biffa will be on site. They will also be able to see how they are performing in relation to other regional stores. Further to this, Biffa has also been monitoring bin weights to reduce General Waste and recycling services, which have also helped with cost efficiencies.

The solution

Roger said: “A typical Topps Tiles site now has one 1,100lt DMR waste container serviced weekly and a 1,100lt container for General Waste serviced fortnightly.”

When Roger says ‘typical’ he’s talking about the large, edge-of-town store formats. However, in 2014, the business launched a range of smaller ‘boutique’ stores, which bring its product range to the high street. Located mainly in central London and other big cities, this part of the Topps Tiles retail estate has its own unique waste needs. Roger has been working closely with the stores to develop a collection proposition that suits those needs.

“We’ve looked at putting a bag service into the new boutique locations, due to the limited storage and space available, assisting each site to introduce the bespoke collections they need,” said Roger. “We work closely with Topps Tiles and we’re onsite regularly to ensure that we’re giving them solutions that are the most practical and effective for their business.”

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

Sarah Kite, Central Operations Manager, Topps Tiles

0 330+

stores with more due to open in 2016

0 28945

The number of services Biffa made to Topps Tiles sites in 2015

0 1500+

employees being educated in recycling