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Whilst some of our green Apple Awards go to projects which have a global impact, at other times we are very pleased to reward the simplest of ideas which nevertheless leave a lasting impression. So it was with the CBRE composting project.

CBRE advises clients on all aspects of commercial property worldwide as well as providing building management services.  The CBRE Environmental policy includes the aim of being “a good environmental neighbour and to conduct our business so as to preserve the environment and where practicable improve the quality of life both for our employees and for visitors to our offices.”

Although environmental issues can be relatively easy to manage when working with a building which is being designed from scratch, it is not always as simple when dealing with an iconic building such as the Cunard Building in Liverpool.   One of Liverpool’s famous “three graces” the building occupies a prime spot on the waterfront.   Any environmental projects therefore need to be managed within the existing fabric of the building.

With the aim of reducing the amount of waste which went to landfill the CBRE management team purchased a large-garden sized composter and located it in a windproof room on the roof of the building.  Green and brown swing bins were also installed in the building and occupiers were encouraged to use them for items such as coffee grounds and tea bags, fruit and vegetable peelings, newspaper and cardboard.  The team also switched to clear plastic bin bags to help with the monitoring of the waste generated.  In the first eight months of the project some 700kg of waste was turned into compost which is now enriching the gardens of those who work within the building.

For a total outlay of £150, the compost project has reduced landfill, benefitted local gardens and allotments and raised awareness of environmental issues.  The project has shown how a simple idea and a comparatively small initial outlay can make a real difference to the environment.  Using a standard composter, virtually any business with space in its car park or on its roof could replicate this compost project.   The CBRE team do warn that any business thinking of doing so needs to obtain a WEX001* exemption from the Environment Agency but this is a fairly straightforward matter and there is currently no charge.

* http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Business/WEX001v02Aug10_e-form_Opt2_1.pdf