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    How we’re using old PPE to help heat homes: introducing an exciting new pilot from our North West Network

    24 January 2023

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    Kevin Hegarty

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    A new project has launched in our North West Network to stop old PPE going to landfill, and potentially using it to help keep people warm in their homes.

    Hard hats, overalls, glasses, gloves, boots and more – you name it, almost everything can go into the new blue bins, which are at five NW depots.

    We’ve asked our PPE supplier, PWS, to help us ‘do the right thing’ and look for innovative ways to reuse this abundant redundant kit.

    So, working with recycling specialist ShredStation, we’re now encouraging all North West employees – Cadent employees, our contractors and sub-contractors – to dispose of their old PPE in these new blue bins.

    The intent is to turn it into material that can insulate homes, as well as provide feedstock pellets for power generation plants.

    image

    “We have thousands of employees, who each have thousands of items of PPE, that right now just ends up in landfill after it’s no longer usable,” explained project engineer Connor Weaver (pictured), Energy Operations, who is leading this North West pilot.

    “This project isn’t going to save money, but it is the right thing to do, to help us become a sustainable organisation that deals with its waste in the right way.

    “We’re already talking to our other four networks about rolling this out across Cadent, and we’re also taking lessons learned from NGN, who run a similar scheme.”

    Connor added: “I am extremely invested in sustainability, and so is Cadent. As part of the sustainability strategy we set out for RIIO-2, we have sustainability goals and we have to satisfy the criteria we set out. These bins can help that, as a small but important step. It’s helping shift our thinking and doing the right thing.

    “Carbon management is so important for the future of our business, and every business. When the opportunity came my way to lead this project, I jumped at the chance.”

    What can go in the bins?

    Almost every item of PPE that is out-of-date, or no longer compliant, or unfit for purpose. However, items that are, or could be, contaminated will not be placed in these bins. For example, any that may contain asbestos. These will be disposed of in the appropriate, normal manner.

    Where are the bins?

    There are bins, clearly signposted, at our depots in Hollinwood, Garston, Blackpool, Oakhill and Warrington. We hope to have additional bins in Great Harwood, Crewe and one of Morecambe, Kendal or Barrow depots soon, to ensure full North West network coverage.

    Zero waste to landfill

    Stacey Weeks, Cadent's Sustainability Manager, said: "We're committed to zero waste to landfill, part of our environmental commitment, as we strive to make the societies where we work greener.

    "Initiatives such as PPE recycling are essential in helping us cut bulky items from our waste streams and deliver against that promise, but not only that we'll be helping keep homes warm as the waste will be turned into material to insulate homes.

    "I'm delighted the team are pushing ahead with this. It really will make a big difference."

    Cadent's Sustainability Report 2022

    Our downloadfourth Sustainability Report sets out the objectives, processes and outputs of our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) maintenance.

    Cadent

    Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy. We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change. Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency. Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing.

    Future of Gas:

    Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

    Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

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