Project Description

Maximising Recycling at The Guardian Print Centre

Written by Danny Couchman, Engineering Manager at Guardian Print Centre.

Guardian News and Media has no hesitation in supplying a case study describing its successful partnership with its waste management services provider J&G Environmental who have become a key supplier to our print centre in East London.

J&G have pioneered the creative treatment programmes and innovative technologies needed to ensure that huge volumes of print production waste are now being usefully recycled.

The following details why J&G has become a highly valued supplier of choice – and why we are delighted to support them as they seek an award giving deserved recognition for their exceptional level of service.

A Green Partnership With The Guardian

Guardian News & Media’s (GNM) commitment to the environment is well known. Its newspapers give great prominence to green issues, The Guardian Environment Network brings together the world’s best websites focusing on green topics, and we run The Guardian UnLtd Green Living Awards scheme.

At the same time, we have pledged to manage our own environmental impacts at all our sites by pursuing a programme of continuous environmental improvements. These sites include The Guardian Print Centre in East London, which is one of the most advanced newspaper printing plants in the country.

The Centre is proud of its environmental management, which has been recognised by accreditations to the quality standards ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001. Maintaining these standards is a long term commitment, and we intend to press forward with a programme of practical action to mitigate environmental impacts resulting from the production process.

Waste is one of the top three of these impacts and careful thought was given to its management at the Print Centre. Key to this planning was the appointment of a skilled waste management services supplier whose environmental aspirations matched our own and who had the technical skills and customer services needed to manage this increasingly complex business function, which is now subject to strict legal controls.

Our eventual choice, which we made with no hesitation, was J&G Environmental, based in Blandford, Dorset.

Why J&G?

J&G’s excellent reputation within both the newspaper production and commercial printing sectors was already known to us. We were aware, for instance, of their pioneering role in promoting sustainable waste management programmes in the industry, including a highly successful programme to boost the industry’s recycling rates and drastically reduce the amount of industry waste going to landfill sites.

We are committed to the greening of our own supply chain, and were impressed by J&G’s own strict environmental management programme which had gained ISO 14001 accreditation as well as a number of awards, including a Queen’s Award for Sustainability. They are also the holder of an Environment Agency Pollution Prevention and Control Permit which recognises the Best Available Techniques practised at their sites.

We were also informed by J&G’s published Environmental Mission Statement which echoed the way we ourselves wished to handle our waste management within our overall environmental objectives.

Also important in our choice of J&G was the invaluable advice service they offer to customers at a time when waste disposal has become subject to strict legal requirements.

Customer service is also very important to us, and we were aware that J&G had already won a number of leading industry awards recognising their exceptional customer service performance.

After working with J&G, we can vouch that the company has lived up to its reputation, delivered on its promises and become a key strategic partner in our environmental programme.

What J&G does for us?

J&G’s first task for us, carried out when the Print Centre was still under construction, was to conduct a far reaching site audit leading to an action plan that ensured everything possible was being done to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment in the field of waste management.

This plan also had to meet, and if possible exceed, the strict requirements of an environmental management system that met approved quality standards demanded by external examiners in the fields of both the environment and health and safety. It also had to ensure that we met our Duty of Care obligations.

J&G staff visited the centre with a view to advising us on best environmental practice, waste classification (e.g. hazardous), containment and correct labelling of waste, recycling potential and waste reduction possibilities.

J&G’s subsequent plan and recommendations concentrated on five main elements –

  • Advising us on the waste streams arising from our site and identifying recycling opportunities.
  • Devising arrangements to keep waste stored on site to an absolute minimum.
  • Recommending appropriate waste storage facilities and advising on their installation.
  • Setting up a system for reporting to us the extent of waste collected and its ultimate destination.
  • Providing us with a waste management system that would assist us in gaining and retaining our own environmental management accreditation.

Regular Collection of Waste Streams

A comprehensive list of waste streams was identified for regular collection, including:

  • Aluminium litho plates
  • CTP developer
  • Solvents
  • Plastic packaging such chemical drums
  • Fluorescent lighting tubes
  • Drinks cans
  • Dry contaminated waste such as empty ink containers
  • Waste ink
  • IT waste

Thanks to J&G’s expertise and enthusiasm for working with us to increase our recycling targets, we’re delighted to report that some 95 per cent of the waste listed above is now being treated and recycled.

This is also due to the huge capital investment J&G have made in specialist waste handling machinery which ensures that even our most contaminated waste can now be safely and legally processed and reused in the manufacture of a range of other products.

In order to keep waste stored at the Print Centre to a minimum, and particularly to prevent the build up of hazardous waste, J&G have instituted a weekly collection system.

This has been thoughtfully arranged with our storage capacity and operational needs in mind, with J&G collection lorries arriving on site at 6 a.m. in order not to clash with the arrival of our own vehicles and those delivering goods to the centre.

Meanwhile, J&G have provided us with invaluable advice and guidance in the selection and installation of clearly marked waste storage containers – many of them holding toxic waste streams such as solvents. As well as the main waste lines of plates and chemicals, they have supplied us with the correct receptacles for storing waste ink, fluorescent tubes, sharps, batteries, plastic bottles, aluminium cans and bearer pads prior to collection and disposal.

They have also advised us on the correct management and handling of waste products, helping us to ensure complete compliance with health and safety legislation.

Modern industrial waste handling requirements are complex, and maintaining correct documentation is essential – and time consuming – if we’re to comply with increasing environmental legislation. J&G assured us they would handle and oversee all our documentation and they are providing a first class service in doing so.

They supply us with a ‘waste transaction history’ on a regular basis so that we have a full and comprehensive picture at all times of what has been collected from the Print Centre and its final destination.

We rely on J&G to organise all of our waste licences, and they also voluntarily provide us with an Environment Agency-approved Compliance Certificate specifying that the waste has been collected and treated in complete accordance with the Environmental Protection Act and other relevant legislation. This is a valuable service because it allows us to demonstrate this aspect of our environmental performance to our stakeholders.

Customer service

The above details demonstrate how J&G have applied their considerable experience and technical knowledge to successfully examine our waste management requirements and environmental aspirations – and then recommend and carry out a carefully constructed action programme to ensure they are met.

However, the technical functions they carry out on our behalf are backed by the first class customer services for which J&G are now well known throughout the printing industry and which we now enjoy.

J&G is on record as saying they want to revolutionise and professionalise the supply of waste management services in our industry at a time when their customers are most under pressure to devote management time and resources to this aspect of business and most in need of both practical assistance and expert guidance.

We can say from our own experience that this is no mere corporate boast and we cannot speak highly enough of the way this company is willing to ‘go the extra mile’ to carry out its work on our behalf.

We also appreciate the fact that J&G operates a completely transparent ‘open house’ policy at its headquarters, encouraging their customers to travel to Blandford for Duty of Care inspection visits or discussions about operational matters, as well as producing a newsletter containing useful news, views and information about their work and developments in the waste management sector.


We welcome this opportunity to support J&G Environmental for the 2009 Recycling and Waste Management Business of the Year award and to acknowledge the effective role this company plays in our recycling programme.

J&G is a major player in an increasingly important, but often unsung, waste management sector providing an essential service on which all other industrial and commercial sectors rely.

Working with J&G has made us more aware of our waste management performance, boosted our recycling rates and helped us to manage our waste to the standards demanded by our ISO 14001 accreditation, which we gained with J&G’s assistance.

Danny Couchman, Engineering Manager, Guardian Print Centre