Building Green: Milton Keynes Pushes the Boundaries
The low-carbon vision of Milton Keynes has earned it the status of one of the UK’s greenest cities, thanks in part to its high number of recycling centres, solar powered buildings, bicycle routes, wind powered estates and a massive 22 million trees.
The city launched a hugely successful car-share scheme in 2002 and has maintained a consistent focus on support for ‘green’ travel methods ever since, such as increasing the number of dedicated paths for cyclists, which has reduced traffic into the city centre and helped to promote the benefits of alternative transport.
John Edwards, Centre Manager at Business Environment’s serviced office property in Milton Keynes, says that the company are keen to follow the example of the city’s council and have taken numerous steps to create a more sustainable work environment.
“As a company, Business Environment recycles around 82% of its card, paper, food, consumables and general waste across its 18 centres,” said John. At the Milton Keynes centre, he explains that one of the steps they have taken is to remove personal waste bins from office floors.
“Although the initial reaction from employees was mixed, once the benefits and impact on the business and environment were communicated, support grew for their removal and now we’ve been able to expand the initiative to the second floor too. It has really helped to increase general awareness of what can and cannot be recycled and has no doubt encouraged people to do the same at home.”
In 1992, Milton Keynes became the first city to adopt kerbside recycling and now provides a wide range of recycling points, ranging from the collection of food and garden waste to used batteries.
This is supported by three fully staffed community recycling centres that provide a free service to take in anything from conventional household waste and cooking oil to used gas bottles.
“It is important, therefore, that businesses follow suit,” says John. Commenting on their ideas to combat less sustainable methods of transport, he added: “Business Environment encourages employees to cycle to work where possible and is a supporter of National Bike Week which takes place every June.
“This year we set up cycling courses for employees with a range of cycling abilities, from beginners to experienced riders who need to be refreshed or reassured about their road skills. Employees were also advised on planning the best routes to work and how to incorporate these routes into lessons.
“In backing initiatives like this, businesses are helping to reduce their carbon footprint.”
However, while efforts are made to improve sustainability both at home and in the workplace, up to 60% of everything that is thrown into a dustbin could still be recycled, which shows that many members of the UK public are still not ‘doing their bit’ when it comes to recycling.
For businesses, John says that there are significant financial benefits to be gained from recycling. “Business Environment alone has cut its waste disposal cost by ┬ú3,000 per month – a massive saving in what is a difficult financial climate,” he said.
“For me, it’s essential that business owners lend their support in helping to create a green place to live and work. Only this kind of support will enable Milton Keynes to remain a front runner as a low energy city.”
Find out more about Business Environment’s Milton Keynes business centre online at officebroker.com.
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