Behind the numbers in 2014: Office waste and recycling

6th July 2015

By the end of 2015, 100% waste from all Virgin Media office waste will be recycled, diverting it from landfill.

How we did:
70% of waste from all Virgin Media offices is now recycled, which is an improvement of 13% on 2013.

The detail:
Office waste:
In 2014 we improved our recycling rate across all office sites to 70%, up from 61% in 2013, by providing general waste and dried mixed recycling bins throughout most of our office buildings. Despite this improvement we failed to meet our target and we still have work to do to achieve a 100% diversion of our office waste from landfill. In 2013, we focused on waste by working with our supplier Sita In 2014 we reduced our focus on waste while we worked hard to resource our sustainability team, review our charity activity and create Switched On Families.

In 2015 we’ll refocus on waste by improving signage and communications to make sure that all our staff know what they can recycle and where. On top of this, we’ll look at ways we can stop non-office waste from entering office waste streams, which can further reduce our recycling rates. We’re also planning a full audit of our waste pick-ups to ensure we have the right number and size of external bins. This should help us to better understand exactly how much waste our offices produce because in some cases average weights are used by our contractor instead of exact weights.  

You can see all our waste data here.

Paper use:
At Virgin Media, we use a lot of paper – over 12,817 tonnes in 2014. Like most other big businesses, we use paper in nearly all our operations – from internal communications to sharing the latest deals with our current and prospective customers. And with product offerings and services continually changing, there’s always a lot to shout about.

We know from consumer research carried out in 2013 that our customers still prefer paper communication to content from our digital channels. But we also know that for some customers (and non-customers), our use of paper is seen as wasteful.

We’re working to address this, and our Sustainability, Marketing and Procurement teams are working together to reduce our environmental impact in this area. We’ve already made some good progress - through initiatives like sourcing our paper from sustainably managed forests (99% of our paper is FSC or PEFC certified), reducing the thickness of our paper, promoting e-billing and improving our targeting and opt-out processes.

In 2014 we reduced the amount of paper we used for customer communications by 22.09% (from 15,825 tonnes in 2013 to 12,329 tonnes in 2014) by making our communications more targeted and reducing the weights of each sheet of paper we used. We also commissioned Deloitte to review our paper marketing strategy. They concluded that there was an opportunity to substantially reduce our door drop volumes - which is unaddressed mail. Look out for an update in 2015 on the impact of the reduction in door drop volumes.

Find out more about our new operations goal here.

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