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Elena wins prestigious industry award for kerbside recycling study

A Masters graduate has received a prestigious award from the professional waste management industry for her investigation into the sustainability of recycling activity in Kingston-upon-Hull.

Elena Deryagina, a student at the University of Hull, was recently presented a Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) award, recognised throughout the UK waste industry as being the pinnacle of achievement, for Best Research Paper done at Masters and Doctorate degree level.

The 30-year-old, who works as a Compliance Officer in Kirklees, Huddersfield, for leading recycling and resource management company SITA UK, looked into the environmental impact of Hull’s black box kerbside scheme.

Elena’s research was presented in a dissertation, which was undertaken as part of a Masters course at the University of Hull.

Elena, who is Russian but who has lived in Hull for the last five years, attempted to quantify the carbon dioxide emissions involved in the collection and transportation of the 150,000 black boxes picked up fortnightly from peoples’ homes, and whether this was environmentally sustainable.

At the time of her study the materials collected in the black box scheme were glass, plastic, steel and textiles.

The data Elena used to calculate the carbon footprint of the scheme consisted of the annual mileage of the vehicle fleet operated by the Hull City Recycling Authority (HCRA), along with the consumption of water, electricity and heating of the office building of HCRA located in Wilmington, according to benchmarks set by the industry.

Using a recognised formula, Elena calculated that the annual carbon emission relating to the black box scheme was 32.8 tonnes per annum.

As part of her recommendations for improving the recycling service, Elena suggested reducing the transportation of recyclable material by reducing the amount of waste generated, improving the loading capacity of collection vehicles and reducing distances by better route management.

Elena started work for SITA UK after completing her degree in August 2009. She works at the company’s energy from waste plant in Kirklees, Huddersfield. Her role as Compliance Officer involves ensuring the plant operates within the limits of its environmental permits.

She said: "The waste and recycling industry has a major role to play in protecting the environment and through my studies and now my work, I am keen to ensure that the industry is seen to be playing a leading role in being environmentally friendly.

"Through kerbside recycling schemes that operate in Hull and everywhere else in Britain, through to plants that companies like SITA UK operate to turn waste into energy, we are attempting to reduce our carbon footprint, whilst still ensuring that waste is dealt with in a sustainable way."

Glennys Robinson, SITA UK Regional Manager for North Lincs, Doncaster and Kirklees, was delighted to hear about Elena’s award. She said: "Elena studied tremendously hard for her qualification, which is a fantastic achievement in itself. To be presented with an award for best paper is a just reward for all her hard work."

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