John Lewis’ delivery drivers take EPS packaging back from the householder to their depot when they deliver the new product, whilst also taking away the old product at a cost. Waste Care, the recycling and waste management group servicing John Lewis, then collect the EPS from the John Lewis depots when picking up old White Goods for recycling. The EPS is transported in old mattress bags and used to fill the voids in the vehicles transporting the old White Goods to Waste Care. Waste Care then briquettes the EPS at their depot. The typical full load for briquetted material is about 6 to 12 tonnes a load. A good briquetting machine can condense the EPS so that up to 20 tonnes of material can be transported in one load.
The briquetted material is then sent to Whitkirk Waste Solutions Limited. The material that they receive from John Lewis is clean as Waste Care remove as many paper labels as possible before they briquette the material. Paper, adhesives, sealant and glues are contaminants in the recycling process.
Whitkirk Waste Solutions export the condensed EPS to European outlets in Germany, Netherlands and Spain. These outlets have been chosen based on the price paid for the material as well as the fact that the material goes back into a high value product.
This is a leading example of a successful industry collection and recycling schemes in which the supply chain works together. John Lewis’ commitment to sustainability is shown by the collection of EPS which is then delivered to Whitkirk Waste Care. The material is mostly sent to the German outlet, where it is re-extruded into EPS polymetric beads, which are then used in the production of new packaging material. This is an excellent demonstration of the circular economy in practice.