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Posted - 6th March 17

Army garrisons get smart about waste under Aspire contract

Hills Bin Truck

Minimising the environmental impact of military infrastructure is a key concern for the Ministry of Defence.

And thanks to the application of smart waste management technology under the Project Allenby/Connaught (PAC) contract with Aspire Defence, several Army garrisons have now reduced their carbon footprint.

Across garrisons on Salisbury Plain and at Aldershot, sustainability innovations implemented by Aspire Defence Services Limited (ADSL) have transformed the way in which waste is managed.  Recent trials have supported more than two-years of ‘zero waste to landfill’ and identified a potential 10% recycling improvement in food waste, for conversion to renewable energy.

Last year, ADSL implemented waste measurement sensors on garrison bins alongside a food waste recycling initiative in soldiers’ and officers’ dining facilities, to improve efficiencies and reduce overall waste.

In a first for commercial application of smart sensor technology, which has previously only been used by UK local authorities, wireless sensors were fitted under the lids of selected bins.  The information gathered was analysed by waste data company Enevo One.  This trial enabled ADSL’s contractor Hills Waste Solutions to constantly monitor the levels of waste in its containers and identify those which needed emptying. The trial was such a success that all the waste collected from Aldershot Garrison under the Hills contract will now be managed using this system.

Sébastien Jouan, Business Improvement Manager at ADSL said:

“Sustainability is at the heart of the PAC contract.  Measuring waste using sensor technology places ADSL and our customer, the DIO, at the forefront in the application of smart technology, reducing our environmental impact and our safety risk by reducing the number of vehicle movements required on the garrisons”.

Gary McKinnon, Divisional Director, Hills Waste Solutions added:

“At Hills, we are committed to providing an excellent service and added value for the customer. We set performance targets within contracts and innovate to achieve them – in this instance we agreed to improve the efficiency of the waste collections and so we installed the innovative Enevo One Collect system. It is the first commercial launch of this product and has strengthened our relationship with Aspire Defence Services Limited.”

In a second highly successful trial, Hills Waste Solutions and Sodexo, the company contracted to provide catering, retail and living accommodation services to the PAC garrisons, worked together under the direction of ADSL to deliver a new food recycling initiative, resulting in a potential 10% diversion of general waste to recycling.

From September 2015, Hills trialled the separate collection of food waste at Swinton Barracks, Perham Down, Tidworth. Specific colour coded containers for food waste were placed at the Superdiner, the Sergeants’ Mess and the Officers’ Mess and Sodexo employees were asked to separate food waste from general waste, increasing recyclable material by reducing food waste contamination and reducing the amount of residual waste going to recovery.

Sébastien said:

“The results of the Swinton trial clearly showed that a considerable proportion of the residual waste generated was food waste either from the food preparation process or general food wastage. When calculated savings were applied across Tidworth and Bulford Garrisons it represented over 4.5 tonnes per week which could be recycled, potentially increasing recycling by over 6% on those garrisons.”

Following the positive reception and results of the trial, Hills have agreed to supply specialised food containers to all of PAC’s major food producing assets across Salisbury Plain. In preparation for the rollout, training has been given to Sodexo staff on how to sort the food waste.  Over 70 food waste collection containers were delivered during October 2016.

Sorting food waste

Food waste from garrisons being sorted

There were additional benefits. All the food waste collected is 100% recycled at a facility near Warminster using a process called Anaerobic Digestion (AD) which turns the food waste into renewable energy. The renewable energy produced is sufficient to service 6,000 homes in the local Warminster community. Also, the resulting slurry from the process is used as an organic fertiliser for farmers to use on crops in the fields that surround the AD facility.

Sébastien said:

“Whilst this new service is in its infancy it has been well embraced by the Sodexo Team and Hills has been collecting 6 tonnes of food waste per week, which should result in a recycling increase of 10%. This change in process has moved food waste up the Waste Hierarchy Ladder from a recovery process to a recycling process with a reduced carbon footprint.”

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