Alstom Transport develops and markets a complete range of systems, equipment and service in the railway industry. Employing around 2,000 people in the UK at over 20 locations, Alstom has full service provision and technical support contracts with a number of train and metro operating companies, notably the Virgin Pendolino fleet. Alstom maintains 52 tilting Virgin Pendolinos on the West Coast Main Line through a network of Train Care Centres (TCC’s). Efficiency, sustainability and reliability are of the utmost importance to Alstom, so they only work with service providers who work to the same high standards.
With ever changing waste management requirements at every site, Alstom identified the need for consistent and reliable waste contractors who could work to maximise their recycling / recovery rates in a fast paced and challenging environment.
B&M Waste Services commenced operations at Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester TCC’s in December 2011. The largest of these Centres is in Manchester and B&M was tasked with undertaking a massive refurbishment programme on the 52 Virgin Pendolino tilting trains operating on the west coast main line. The resource management techniques implemented in Manchester have since been rolled out at other sites and will be incorporated in future refurbishment projects.
Working in partnership with Alstom Transport and Haz Environmental, an efficient waste management and industrial cleaning company, B&M set about identifying specific areas of material control that would produce the required benefits. Together, the three organisations initiated a programme centred on maximising the recycling performance across several sites with a sharing of best practise between the three parties the key to maintaining high standards throughout.
The key drivers for Alstom were to minimise the cost of managing the waste generated whilst maximising recovery rates and capturing the resultant improvement in carbon efficiency. This involved a detailed audit of cleaning, maintenance and refurbishment processes, and by working closely with local management on-site, several key components destined for replacement which could not practicably be overhauled or refurbished were recognised.
Several methodologies were evaluated to segregate these materials without impacting on the time sensitive operations involved in the operation of the sites.The potential for introducing source segregation in the workshops was evaluated and dismissed for several reasons including limited access and storage space within the depots, time constraints and staff availability.
A system of special bins was deployed to support the existing waste management arrangements on-site, and these were designed to contain all engineering wastes produced.
Changing the Culture
The system of bins were then taken to a designated area by Alstom’s materials control team for segregation by specially trained B&M Recycling Co-ordinators based on the sites. The Co-ordinators were integrated with the existing site operatives to become Alstom’s very own ‘Waste Deparment’
All on-site staff were given training to better understand the new waste management programme and minimise the risk of contaminating the waste streams.
In addition to managing the day to day wastes generation from the routine maintenance and train cleaning operations such as Paper, Cardboard, Wood and General Waste, the Recycling Co-ordinators segregate specific components and materials based on their composition and value.. The specially segregated components included cast aluminium pneumatic cylinders, copper piping and cabling, brass valves and various electrical and electronic components. These materials are securely stored on-site prior to dispatch to a licenced recycler where the increased value is used to offset the labour costs incurred.
Waste volumes are recorded uniformly along with all recyclates generated on-site and fed into Alstom’s bespoke reporting system. Materials that were mixed or too heavily contaminated are compacted and sent off-site for further processing at designated recovery facilities which mechanically sort and separate the remaining recoverable fractions, and, wherever possible in addition to producing recyclates for reuse, produces a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) product used in the energy generation sector.
The combination of these processes has delivered a diversion from landfill figure in excess of 91%, helping to reduce operating costs and Alstom’s carbon footprint for the refurbishment of the Pendolino tilting trains.