Waste and recycling at the Eden Project
- 100% of food waste composted
- Aiming for 80% recycling rates and 0% to landfill
With around 1 million people visiting Eden each year, we have to think carefully about the waste we produce. We measure and track 20 different waste streams at our onsite recycling compound, and have set ourself ambitious targets.
How we watch our waste at Eden
We manage our day-to-day operations with a view to reducing our waste as much as possible. Here's how we do it:
We weigh and record over 20 different waste streams, most of which goes for recycling. We then analyse the data to make informed decisions about where to focus waste reduction efforts. We’re proud of the fact that any food waste we generate is either composted onsite in our aerobic digester, or is sent off for composting at a local anaerobic digestion plant (Andigestion in Holsworthy, Devon). In 2014-15 we sent 12% of our waste to landfill – and we’re determined to reduce this to zero by the end of 2017!
We aim to design out waste from products and procedures, including working with our suppliers to help reduce the amount of packaging brought on to site. For example, we try to use returnable crates instead of boxes, and we even collaborate with producers on product design to reduce the amount of packaging on goods we sell in our shop. This is also reflected in our Procurement policy.
Our maintenance and design teams can often be found scouring our recycling yard for things that they can reuse or turn into something else. Providing our teams with storage solutions means we can reuse seasonal items again and again.
In our cafes we help visitors create less packaging waste by:
- offering to refill water bottles with tap water, as part of the Refill Cornwall initiative
- giving a discount on hot drinks when visitors use a reusable cup, including our own bamboo cups
- making sure that our take-away cups are fully recyclable, by working with Simply Cups, who send them on to be manufactured into new products.
We try and make it easy for our visitors to separate their waste into our different recycling bins. We have an on-site waste and recycling compound where we sort our waste further – in fact into some 20 different waste streams! We work with local recycling companies to ensure as much as possible of it is being recycled into new material or, as a last resort, into energy. We're aiming to recycle 80% of our waste by the end of 2017.
To help stimulate the market for recycled products, we believe it’s important to invest (or re-invest) in the recycling industry by buying recycled stuff – from toilet rolls for the several hundred on-site loos to the lovely gifts we sell in our shop.
Our Wasteline initiative
Our Wasteline initiative, launched in January 2016, aims to design out waste from our products and procedures in the first instance, and then to ensure we close the loop by sending as much as we possibly can for recycling (we're aiming for 80%), and absolutely nothing to landfill – all by the end of 2017!
Wasteline involves working with our suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging that comes onto site, helping our teams and visitors improve recycling rates through better products and signage, and involving staff and Eden Apprentices in coming up with waste reduction solutions.