The Hemel Hempstead fire has caused major damage to a number of warehouses and distribution centres leaving a lot of companies with damaged goods from the blast, heat, smoke and water. As such, this is probably a timely reminder to many retailers/manufacturers about the contingency they should have in place for dealing with theses sorts of incidents.
Often, many companies simply call in a waste company and landfill all the stock – but this can be expensive and not altogether environmentally friendly – a concern amongst many firms that are increasingly taking their corporate responsibilities seriously.
Firms must also consider their brand reputation and must be assured that any damaged stock is disposed of securely and confidentially. The last thing they would want is for damaged goods to end up in a car boot sale!
Companies are often very good at recalling product from retail, but what happens when the place it is recalled to – the distribution centre – is itself damaged?
Well a new secure recycling service for confidential waste is helping UK industry deal with the nightmare prospect of major product recalls through the secure disposal and recycling of confidential waste that would ordinarily be landfilled.
Biffa Waste Services' Secure Waste and Recycling Facility (SWaRF) in the West Midlands is a secure way of handling wastes that need to be kept out of the public domain either to protect the brand value or because the waste has a value of its own.
Biffa's SWaRF can handle product recalls, production bulk rejects, end of campaign consumer goods and out of date stock. In fact electronic point of sale machines, specialist car brochures, garden lighting sets, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink brands, designer Wellingtons, toiletries and cosmetics have already been through Biffa's facility.
Material delivered to the SWaRF is unloaded and processed in a secure building. Personal access doors to the secure area are code protected and the compound is monitored by CCTV. Every person and vehicle that enters the SWaRF has its image recorded. Goods can be delivered to site on a
just-in-time basis, ensuring that material delivered is dealt with instantly. Complete anonymity can also be assured with numeric codes allocated to products to avoid any reference to brand names.
Individual shredding lines are able to deal with glass bottles, separating out liquids and treating them accordingly in line with customer requirements. A bio-digester can treat liquids, converting organic content into methane, which is drawn off to generate electricity. Another shredder is able to deal with plastics. The recovered material can then be forwarded to a reprocessor for recycling.
“The number one concern for our customers is security and confidentiality,” said Derek Hills, Biffa's packaged goods manager, “Not only can we guarantee this, but SWaRF can also recycle products, thus helping our customers meet their environmental objectives in recycling waste and diverting it from landfill.”