Children’s PlayPods benefit from Go Green network collaboration

Published on in Energy and Efficiency by Rachel Quinn, Skanska.

Ella Wiles (CSR Manager, Children’s Scrapstore) and Rachel Quinn (Senior Environmental Advisor, Skanska) met at the Energy & Efficiency Go Green Business Breakfast at Bristol Zoo Gardens and started exploring the possibility of forming a partnership where surplus materials from Skanska’s school development Projects could be sent to the Children’s Scrapstore and used to stock the PlayPods. Rachel Quinn explains the impact of this relationship.

The Circular Economy in practice – a Pilot Partnership between Bristol Children’s Scrapstore & Skanska.

Skanska has been working in collaboration with Bristol City Council since 2006 through the Bristol Local Education Partnership (LEP) to provide Bristol with the school places and modern facilities it needs.

The Children’s Scrapstore provide PlayPods for primary schools; PlayPods contain materials which are used for imaginative breaktime play which promotes pupil learning and development of creative construction and problem solving skills.

Alignment with Skanska Values

Skanska is committed to acting as a responsible member of UK society and the communities in which we operate. As part of our strategy we seek to build long term relationships in local communities and give back to society. To this end, the partnership with the Children’s Scrapstore is a perfect fit to continue our support for local school communities, particularly as the opportunity has arisen during the year of our sponsorship of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital.

Pilot Methodology and Outcomes to date

  • The Children’s Scrapstore visited each Project in May 2015 during ‘Skanska Environment week’ to deliver an information presentation to site workers on the scheme. Many of the workers had children or other relations in schools which already contained PlayPods, so were keen to be involved in the initiative.
  • Six Projects across Bristol were involved in donating surplus materials from May to October.
  • Surplus materials collected include plastic tubing, pipe, cable reels, wood, PPE, packaging and buckets.
  • ETM Recycling, who manage Skanska’s waste streams, provided containers free of charge for each Project to store surplus materials prior to collection.
  • Projects requested Scrapstore pick up as containers became full.
  • Total number of collections during the period: 7

The materials that Skanska supply to the Children’s Scrapstore are not deemed as ‘waste’. It is surplus materials, therefore the waste duty of care regulations do not apply. The Children’s Scrapstore do not process the material, they simply take Skanska excess, put it into PlayPods and supply to the schools.

The waste resulting from the end of life of the PlayPod materials is the school’s responsibility, which is made clear in the Children’s Scrapstore’s written contracts with them. Although, they work very closely with schools and provide support where they can to ensure materials are recycled after reuse. They do this by taking some old scrap back to Scrapstore when they return each school term to refresh the PlayPod materials. This is encouraged by discounts in their Pod refill costs.

Schools are given a local directory of recycling facilities to enable them when scrap materials are ready to be ‘binned’. The Children’s Scraptstore also sometimes take old scrap materials back and dispose of them consciously in their recycling bins.

Evaluation of Pilot Project

  • Circa four tonnes of surplus materials from Construction Projects designed to improve educational facilities for children in Bristol have been donated to a scheme promoting the educational
    development of children through creative play.
  • Flexible collection arrangements: Children’s Scrapstore arranged prompt collections following phone call from Projects.
  • Minimal financial outlay required to operate the scheme
    – surplus materials not part of supplier take back scheme initiatives, therefore no resale value for Skanska
    – free of charge contribution from ETM Recycling for siting of storage containers
    – Sorting of appropriate material was generally driven by Skanska staff rather than site operatives – further follow up visits and re-education required.
    – Overall, the simplicity of the model ensured that the pilot scheme was successful.

Other Outcomes

The wider Skanska Environment team were briefed about the Scrapstore initiative. Surplus Personal Protective Equipment from the Skanska Cambridge Addenbrookes development is being redirected to the Cambridge Scrapstore, as at October 2015.
The Children’s Scrapstore delivered a presentation about their initiative at the Skanska South West Supply Chain event, attended by around 50 companies. This will hopefully encourage support from other construction companies – as the Scrapstore initiative operates in both the UK and in Europe there is a continual demand for surplus material.

Future Developments

  • Skanska is shortly commencing work on school developments in the West Midlands. The Children’s Scrapstore is opening another warehouse in Kings Norton. The Partnership will therefore be continued in the South West and expanded into the West Midlands region.
  • During 2016, there will be further promotion of the initiative across Skanska UK sites and in particular within our Civil Engineering division who will be able to contribute a significant amount of pipe offcuts, which are of particular use in the PlayPod scheme.