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June 29, 2007

Royal Horticultural Halls launches new recycling scheme

June saw the implementation of a new green policy at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls & Conference Centre (RHH). From now on, event organisers must use recyclable floor coverings.

Reed Carpets, one of the manufacturers on the list of suppliers that the RHH will be offering organisers, recently invested £500,000 on a recycling plant capable of processing up to 4,000 tonnes of waste carpet in its first year. Reed Carpet’s ommercial director Martin Cairns explained the process: "Carpet will be cleaned and have staples, rubbish and sticky tape removed before it goes into the recycling machines, where it is turned into pellets for use in other plastic products, such as plant pots, plastic cups, stationery and furniture."

According to RHH managing director René Dee, the venue won't be dictating to exhibitors what flooring contractor to use, as long as they offer a full recycling service. “In addition, when the event finishes, our staff will collect together everything left behind – including wood, glass bottles, plastics, packaging, cardboard and so on – and send it for recycling,” she said. "Exhibitors won't have to do anything they don't already do, and there won't be any extra charge for this.

“We always thought it was terrible that this was previously just dumped in bins and collected by the local authority, simply because there was no reliable recycling service available. Now we've found one that can take waste away when we need them to. Everything can be dealt with by them to comply with our environmental policy and with no real concern or impact on the part of visitors or exhibitors."

For some of the wine shows held at RHH, 12,000 to 15,000 bottles need to be disposed of over the course of four days, all of which would previously have gone into landfill sites. “Other shows generate just as much rubbish,” said Stuart Medhurst, head of operations. "For example, we recently hosted a menswear sale, after which we filled 15 giant recycling paladins with some 3,200 cubic foot of waste cardboard.”

As a central London venue, located in the heart of Westminster, the RHH has very little storage space for waste, so the collection service will operate throughout the day as required. “Local residents will not be bothered by rubbish being left out and will appreciate that,” said Dee. “Just as they put their recycling in doorstep boxes, so do we – it’s just that our doorstep boxes are a bit bigger!”

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