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First Mile celebrates success at the Camden and Islington Sustainability Awards

25 Nov First Mile celebrates success at the Camden and Islington Sustainability Awards

Leading recycling company, First Mile, is celebrating its latest environmental accolade after winning the ‘Improving Air Quality’ award at the Camden and Islington Sustainability Awards, held last week (21/11).

The Camden and Islington Sustainability Awards 2019 recognise the achievements of businesses, community organisations and schools who are leading the way on sustainability, with the ‘Improving Air Quality’ focused on initiatives that reduce air pollutants, including PM10 and NO2.

First Mile is, first and foremost, an environmental brand and, with a fleet of vehicles collecting waste and delivering collection sacks to 25,000 businesses across the capital, recognises its responsibility for its impact on London’s air quality.

Despite the fact that First Mile has increased the number of locations it serves, the company’s positive changes have seen its emissions per location drop significantly. First Mile has reduced its impact in several ways:

• London’s only Sacktory – First Mile built its very own waste sorting plant “the Sacktory” in 2017, now deploying fewer vehicles to service a rapidly growing number of customers. This has delivered cost and time efficiencies, lowered air pollution and enabled First Mile to improve the quality of material by pre-sorting it before sending it on for processing. In its first three months of operations alone, the Sacktory prevented 125,000kg of CO2 emissions. It also runs entirely on renewable energy.

• Zero emission deliveries – in partnership with Grosvenor, First Mile deployed a cargo bike to carry out zero emission deliveries, an industry first. In addition, it has begun the electrification of its delivery fleet. As the company phases out the old fleet, it is committed to replacing it with electric vehicles.

• Euro VI collection fleet – until electric HGVs are viable, First Mile is committed to working with DAF and Mercedes to ensure its HGV fleet is as clean as possible. First Mile was phasing in Euro VI vehicles for two years before ULEZ, an investment of c. £3 million. The company is confident that its HGV’s are the cleanest on the market.

• First Mile also goes above and beyond to invest in technology to further help reduce pollution. It has route optimisation programmes that devise the most fuel-efficient routes for its trucks, and also

telematics systems on each of its vehicles to monitor driver behaviour. Actions such as idling, harsh braking and fast acceleration all increase emissions, and the idling time across the entire First Mile fleet reduced by 70% following the systems’ introduction.

Speaking about the award win, First Mile founder and CEO, Bruce Bratley, said: “We’ve worked hard to ensure that our operations have a positive impact on London’s air quality, and that we’re not solving one environmental problem by boosting our capital’s recycling rate, but creating another one in terms of emissions.

“We now operate 200 zero-emissions deliveries daily through our electric vans and our industry-first cargo bike, and our 70+ clean-air trucks each release less than half the amount of nitrogen oxide of a standard diesel car, and three times less than the average black cab.

“It’s great to have our efforts recognised with this award, and we’d also like to congratulate The Fitzrovia Partnership, winners of the Camden Resource Management and Recycling category. As the BID partnership’s waste and recycling partner, we know how committed they are to working with us to drive up recycling rates whilst lowering emissions in the area.”