Brighton station hits 90% recycling rate for Global Recycling Day

Published: 23 Mar 2022

Rail operator’s recycling facility has processed 190 tonnes in the last six months

Today, on Global Recycling Day (18 March), Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has announced a 90% recycling rate thanks to its successful partnership with waste management start-up, The Green Block.

Since the installation of a Mobile Segregation Unit (MSU) at Brighton station in September 2021, the facility has prevented over 160 tonnes of waste going to incineration – the equivalent of 32 elephants. If this rate of recycling continues, GTR – which runs Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern rail services – expects more than 320 tonnes to be recycled in Brighton Station throughout 2022.

Aiming to deliver the highest recycling rate of any station on the rail network, GTR has increased recycling rates to 90% in the last six months, compared an average of 30% prior to the MSU’s installation.

Staff at The Green Block’s facility segregate, wash, compact, bale, weigh and electronically tag all waste from Brighton station, as well as all Southern and Thameslink trains running to and from the city.

Govia Thameslink Railway’s Infrastructure Director, Keith Jipps, said: “We’ve made a commitment to the UK’s green recovery which means seeking out innovative solutions to deal with waste. Prior to the pandemic, around 12% of the total waste collected across GTR’s 800-mile network came into Brighton. As lockdowns and restrictions have seen fewer people travelling, this has reduced to 5% but is steadily on the rise as the country adapts to new ways of working. With this scheme we’re achieving zero to landfill, with any waste that cannot be recycled turned into energy.”

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion commented: “It's brilliant to see the impact the new Mobile Segregation Unit at Brighton station has already made with 90% of 190 tonnes of waste being recycled or composted. This is a great example of how small changes can make a huge difference - and quickly!

"I'm proud that so many businesses in Brighton are stepping up and making their systems and practices more sustainable, despite incredibly challenging circumstances, and I wholeheartedly support GTR's aim of delivering the highest recycling rate of any station on the rail network,” she added.

Jamie Lloyd, Councillor in Withdean ward, Brighton and Hove, and Deputy Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “I was lucky enough to visit Govia Thameslink Railway’s Mobile Recycling Unit and was impressed by the sheer quantity of waste that was being recycled in such a relatively small space. To recycle over 90% of all the waste that is produced in the station and arrives on trains in Brighton station is a fantastic achievement and we are delighted to have this unit here doing such great work for the city and our environment”

Josh Katz, General Manager from The Green Block, added, “Our cutting-edge tracking technology, alongside the fantastic people who work in our MSUs, supports companies like Govia Thameslink Railway to achieve their ambitious environmental goals.

“Our technology-based process allows us to create a digital footprint for producers of waste. This means they can precisely measure, in real-time, with our innovative dashboard, the source of the waste, its type and substance and weight, and ultimately what gets recycled.”

As part of its wider sustainability strategy, the rail operator is installing 1,300 new cycle parking spaces to stations, developing 90 landscaping and rewilding projects and offering opportunities for local young people to gain horticulture qualifications through 18 station projects across the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern routes.

The MSU in Brighton is the second of its kind on the UK rail network, with one installed at London Victoria by Network Rail in June 2020.

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