Our energy networks require finite resources, such as steel for pylons and aluminium for overhead lines. As the stress for resources increases, it's essential we make the most of all the materials we use. To do this, we support the principles of circular economy, which aims to maximise the value of materials by designing assets that can be reused, refurbished and recycled at the end of their operational life.
We operate several refurbishment centres across the UK and US, which allow us to extend the life of our assets and materials, and we challenge our suppliers and contractors to minimise their waste streams where possible. We align to the waste hierarchy, focusing on reducing waste first, and we have engaged employees across the organisation in a number of initiatives focused on resource use.
We achieved our 100% office waste landfill diversion target by the end of 2019, which means none of our office waste from our main offices ends up in landfill. Most of the waste is either sent for recycling or to an ‘energy from waste facility’, where it is turned into electricity. Performance on the Our Contribution targets to reuse or recycle our assets and divert construction waste from landfill will be published in our Responsible Business Report in 2021.
In the light of the single use plastics appeal, we have been leading the way in reducing this harmful waste stream. In the UK, we have a campaign called Save Evie’s Whale, which aims to eliminate single use plastics from sale at our offices by engaging with staff to set aside single use plastics for more sustainable alternatives. We have avoided over 5 million pieces of single use plastic since its launch, and there are only a few plastic waste streams left in the office to replace. Following the success of the campaign, Evie’s Whale was nominated for an Edie Sustainability Leaders Award.
Adopting the principles of the circular economy, we will design assets that can be recycled, refurbished and reused. We are committed to reducing the use of single use plastics, building on the momentum of Evie’s Whale, and sending zero waste to landfill, where possible, in our main offices.
In the UK, we are looking to expand the scope of our landfill diversion targets, increase our recycling targets, further reduce our water use and continue our year on year reduction in waste intensity from our construction projects. In our offices, we want to shift the focus up the waste hierarchy. This means setting a target to reduce our office waste by 20% by 2026 from a 18/19 baseline.
In the US we are also targeting a 20% reduction in our office waste by 2026 and we will be setting an operational waste target in 2021.
Our Investment Recovery facility recycled over 30 million pounds of recovered assets in 2019. See our Responsible Business Charter for our full range of resource commitments.