Last month, Airsprung Group, one of the largest, multi-site furniture groups in the country. achieved a long-term aim to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill to zero.
As chairman of the NBF's recycling committee, Airsprung's chief executive, Tony Lisanti, has been a strong driver behind the achievement. "This announcement is the culmination of many years' work by all of our staff," he says. "I think all industries have a corporate social obligation to minimise their impact on the environment, and I am proud that Airsprung Group are leading the way."
As a multi-site company working across a range of sectors – upholstery out of Cavendish in Chorley, headboards from Swanglen in Bristol, and foam processing from Airofreem plus beds from Airsprung, Gainsborough and Hush-a-Bye from the group's main site in Trowbridge – a key challenge was developing a joined-up approach across all facilities.
"With a project like this, there are many gains that can be made at an early stage by doing some relatively straightforward things," continues Tony. "However, the challenge is that the final 20% of results need some real effort to achieve."
Every type of waste material is handled across the company, with in-house teams sorting recyclable material. The small amount of non-recyclables that remains is handled by national companies specialising in generating Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). This applies to all office and factory waste, and also includes furniture collected through a collect-and-recycle service offered to consumers.
In addition to these programmes, Airsprung aims to minimise environmental impact through transportation – for example, by using compressed pallets and delivering rolled mattresses.
"I would like to thank all of the people responsible for this fantastic achievement," says Tony. "It hasn't been easy, but I hope that Airsprung have shown that if the desire is there, it is possible to deliver real change in our industry."