Watershed are proud of their reputation for innovation, collaboration and creativity; whilst this is mostly apparent through their cultural programme of films, events and research into digital technology, it is also true of the behind-the-scenes side of the business. For example, it is this same creative and lateral approach that helps them to address the waste they create more responsibly.
Producing waste is an inevitable part of almost any business, but how Watershed approaches the way they manage their waste is where a little imagination and forward-thinking can make a big difference. Of course, caring about the issue helps, and working alongside others who share a similar passion and vision is key to putting creative solutions into practice. “Inevitably, that passion isn’t going to be shared by everyone, and making sure all individuals at your business (not just staff, but customers and contractors as well) take responsibility for your green policies can be challenging. It helps to make simple things like recycling as easy and understandable as possible” says Michal William, Facilities Assistant at the Watershed.
Watershed has an Environmental Policy that already commits them to reducing the amount of general waste they produce. For a number of years, the Watershed have been working with the Bristol-based company Collecteco to ensure that, in addition to providing facilities to recycle the usual materials such as paper, plastic, glass and food waste, they are also reusing and recycling as much other waste as possible
“It is the fact that Collecteco genuinely share this passion for sustainability and social responsibility that inspires us to keep thinking up ways that we can continue to improve what we do.“
Collecteco regularly collects unwanted furniture, electricals, wood and other waste, and Watershed have recently opened these extra collections to the other businesses sharing their building, making it easier for everyone, as well as saving fuel and other resources.
The reusing and re-purposing of these waste streams is always Collecteco’s first option, and via the not-for-profit social enterprise The Chrysalis, much of it becomes valuable resource material for charities, voluntary groups, schools, small businesses and a host of other good causes. Examples include:
- A redundant walk-in fridge was taken on by local not-for-profit salad growers, the Severn Project
- Reusable timber has been donated to a range of local initiatives, including that used to make the noticeboard (pictured above) at Whitehall Green Project
- A huge number of second hand office furniture has been donated to a range of good causes through The Chrysalis
The money Watershed saves as a result of sending less general waste to landfill and more to mixed recycling collections goes towards paying to recycle food/kitchen waste, as well as funding their collaboration with Collecteco. The positive benefits Watershed sees from its waste being put to good use in its local community makes any additional effort worth it, and storage issues of bulky waste, old furniture, electrical equipment are reduced. Staff find it easier to dispose of unwanted items and there is a hope that, in the long-term, the fact that a lot of the equipment will have a life-after-Watershed will inform choices the staff make when purchasing new items.