Today (Friday 18 March 2022) is Global Recycling Day, which is promoted by the Global Recycling Foundation. A significant proportion of IEMA members, both individuals and organisations, are directly or indirectly involved in the recycling and circular economy sector.


Recycling forms a critical part of the work needed to deliver an environmentally sound future. As consumption demands continue to increase, manufacturers increasingly look to alternative feedstocks for their products, such as recycled materials. Coupled with unsustainable pressures on landfill sites, recycling provides an exciting and ethical route to a more circular economy.

Josie Cadwallader-Thornehill PIEMA, Sustainability Director at Thakeham, said:

“At Thakeham we have partnered with Biffa and Planet Mark to investigate the journey of plastics to and from one of our sites, compiling a report on where the industry should remove, improve and keep plastic use and processes.

“We are now collaborating with 13 members of our supply chain, pledging to reduce our combined use of plastic. This includes measures to reduce the volume of single use plastic waste, minimising plastic waste caused by errors or damage, re-using plastic items through takeback schemes and using plastics that contain recycled content.”

In 2018, with 222 million tonnes of waste generated in the UK, 45 per cent of household waste was recycled. In 2019, this figure rose to 46 per cent. This clearly signals that the market for recycling is large and growing, but that there’s also a huge opportunity to do more.

Ben Richardson PIEMA, Director of Procurement at Valpak, an IEMA Corporate Partner, said:

“Valpak manage our resources in order to maximise reuse, reduce and recovery, with zero waste to landfill. Our mixed recycling is consists of plastic bottles, aluminium cans, paper and cardboard. We also collect glass separately. Most food waste goes through our wormery or is composted onsite, anything left over goes off for recovery via an energy from waste facility.

“On top of that are our battery recycling points, for portable household batteries. Old IT equipment is offered to staff first and then the business donates it to the Turing Trust, or we make sure it is recycled here in the UK. All our new starters are given reusable hot drinks mugs, made from single use coffee cups, to encourage them to think in a more sustainable way.”

Lianne Smith, MIEMA, C Env, Group IMS and Sustainability Manager at The Senator Group told us:

“Over a decade ago The Senator Group set up a recycling division of the business. We have since expanded that operation to try and drive the circular economy through remanufacturing, repairing and repurposing and the recycling section of the business is busier than ever.

Assisting our customer via stripping out buildings including our dealer network and other customers, we design our product to a modular design where possible to ensure that the product can be split down easily at the end of its life. Where possible the recycled content will be reused into our product, or sold on to be made into other items such as garden furniture, animal bedding, ancillary parts for car components and other uses.”

The Global Recycling Foundation supports the promotion of recycling, and the recycling industry, across the world to showcase its vital role in preserving the future of the planet.

Photo of Tom P
Tom Pashby

Digital Journalist, IEMA

Tom Pashby is a Digital Journalist at IEMA, Tom previously worked in the corporate communications team at EIT Climate-KIC, in the parliamentary office of Caroline Lucas MP, for a think tank called Policy Connect, and for the wind energy industry group RenewableUK. They also set up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Role of the House of Lords, and an LGBTQIA+ campaign called Include Mx.