20 years and counting: Working with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

DS Smith has been re-appointed by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council to manage their mixed paper recycling. By continuing our successful 20 year relationship, we can now help the authority to meet bold, new recycling and emissions targets.

We’ve been partnering with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council (RBBC) since 2001, during which time they have more than doubled their recycling rates from 21% to 54.3% (an increase of 158%) - moving the council into the top 15% of England’s best performing local authorities.1

Last year RBBC produced an updated, ambitious Environmental Sustainability Strategy. This includes a focus on continuing to increase recycling levels towards a target of 65% in 2035 as well as an ambition for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The council turned to a recycling partner it trusted to help it deliver.

We’re delighted to continue our long and successful partnership with DS Smith. Paper and cardboard recycling is the corner stone of our ambitious recycling target and reprocessing our waste at a local paper mill reduces its environmental impact.

Ian Muir
Recycling Officer at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

A tailormade, local and fully auditable solution

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Under our new contract, recycling will continue to be collected to a bespoke timetable seven times a week from RBBC’s Earlswood Depot. These timetabled collections can also flex at short notice for any recycling peaks that suddenly and unexpectedly occur. Every month auditable reports are then produced with the exact quantities recycled.

RBBC has a commitment to recycle in the UK and from Earlswood, paper and card is taken on a short journey to our Kemsley Paper Mill which already processes around 900,000 tonnes of Paper for Recycling (PfR) every year. That’s 30% of the total paper reprocessed in the UK.

A YouGov poll commissioned by DS Smith showed that more than a third of UK adults (37%) said they feared the materials they recycle will end up in landfill or incineration sites. Recycling locally at Kemsley reassures householders that paper and cardboard is recycled and has not gone overseas. What’s more the short distance the material travels for processing is reducing road miles, helping RBBC to cut emissions and meet its carbon-neutral target.

 Sustainable and safe too

At DS Smith our most important asset is our people which is reflected in our health and safety strategy. Walking floor vehicles are used to collect RBBC’s recycling because they have a larger capacity and can be loaded with recycling more quickly. They also offer improved safety on-site as there’s no requirement to tip the body of the truck. So as well as helping RBBC achieve their recycling targets we are working towards our own commitment to becoming a Zero Accident, Zero Harm employer.

 A partnership for now and the future

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Before COVID-19, our Tipping Point report estimated an additional 171,000 tonnes of recycling would be generated in the UK from the predicted growth in online sales alone. However, our latest survey, with Ipsos MORI, indicates COVID-19 means we are now purchasing twice as much online, with more packaging ending up at people’s homes. This is putting even more pressure on local authority collections systems. 

Currently we are managing 7,000 tonnes of paper for RBBC and during our 20 year relationship we have already introduced processes that help to improve the quality and value of its household recycling.

In 20 years of working with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council they have provided us with quality material for our papermaking process and we've been able to supply them with fully auditable recycling facilities that have helped to grow their recycling rates.

Sian Farrell
Senior Business & Contract Manager, DS Smith Recycling

Significant environmental benefits and combined savings of up to £100 million could be achieved by local authorities battling budget constraints when paper and cardboard are collected separately to other recycling. This is because it’s twice as likely to be uncontaminated and retain its value. It’s better for the environment and it’s also more cost effective for local authorities across the UK.