How Shred Station is reducing emissions

Shred Station is a CarbonNeutral® certified shredding company, dedicated to providing a highly secure service with minimal environmental impacts.

Despite efforts across the globe to limit global warming to 1.5̊ C, worldwide carbon emissions were at an all-time high in 2023. We feel that it’s important for everyone – but especially businesses – to do their part in reducing emissions and waste wherever possible.

As a waste management provider, the main Sustainable Development Goal we work to support is Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. We do this by reducing emissions in line with intensity-based targets, utilising closed-loop opportunities and sustainable products, and increasing efficiency.

The intensity-based target we set ourselves is a year-on-year reduction in kgCO2e per bale of shredded paper we produce. The reason we set ourselves an intensity-based target is because this factors in the natural growth of the business and therefore helps us to ensure that we are growing sustainably. To achieve this target and maintain our CarbonNeutral® status, we reduce emissions wherever possible.

How we reduce emissions

There are many ways we reduce carbon emissions. Our largest emission source is our fleet, and we reduce fleet emissions in the following ways:

  • Our trucks all meet Euro 6 Low Emission standards. Our trucks are equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction converters. These converters inject AdBlue solution into the exhaust pipes, neutralising harmful gases through a chemical reaction. This makes our trucks free to drive in London’s ULEZ.
  • We are using HVO in our fuel mix. Per litre, HVO emissions are around 88.3% lower than standard diesel emissions.
  • We have replaced six of our forklifts with fully electric models. This is saving us around 62,400 litres of diesel per year and the associated emissions.
  • We are switching to hybrid or fully electric company cars. We also have car charging available at our depots to support our staff and visitors in their own EV journeys.
  • We use solar panels to power our head office. These panels generate over 45,000kWh of energy each year. We also use energy-efficient lighting.
  • Our bins are manufactured in a closed-loop process. Our old bins are broken down to make new ones! Our confidential waste cabinets are also made from sustainable wood.
  • Nothing we shred goes to landfill. By operating with a Zero to Landfill policy, we reduce our downstream waste emissions.
Image of Shred Station fleet vehicles and electric JCB forklift

Reducing inefficiencies

We also reduce emissions by minimising inefficiencies, optimising routes, and reducing wasted journeys. While per job these savings are small, they add up when you are operating a fleet of over 100 vehicles. We have reduced inefficiencies by:

  • Using what3words. We integrated what3words into our internal software systems to optimise the time we spend searching for hard-to-find sites or loading bays. We can also mark specific bin locations at larger sites to speed up our operatives’ time spent on the premises. It also prevents bins from being missed, reducing return journeys.
  • Optimising routes. Our team of Operations Managers work regularly to optimise the routes our vehicles take. This results in saved road miles.
  • Sending automatic service tracking alerts. Our new email alert system lets customers know that their job is scheduled for the day, and the position number they are on our route. This alert serves as a prompt for customers to get in touch if they aren’t going to be in or need to postpone their service, reducing wasted journeys.
Image belonging to what3words

Offsetting, reforesting, and revolutionising

There will always be some emissions that can’t be reduced to zero. When this is the case, carbon capture and carbon offsetting is a way to ‘balance the books’ when it comes to an overall carbon footprint.

At Shred Station, we offset all the emissions we can’t reduce as part of our CarbonNeutral® certification process. Working with Climate Impact Partners, we support stringently vetted carbon offsetting projects to reduce our net annual emissions to zero. For example, we have supported a reforestation project in Uganda, and multiple renewable energy projects in China and India. As a result, all our customers receive a net-zero service.

In addition to emission-related offsetting, we also do a little bit extra by supporting reforestation projects across the world. We operate a Shred a Tonne, Plant a Tree scheme, which gives our customers the option to opt-in to us planting a tree for every tonne of paper we shred on their behalf. This has resulted in thousands of new trees being planted in the UK and overseas. Our Charity Challenge Team also organises regular fundraisers, many of which are dedicated to tree planting. In 2022, the team set the company a challenge to plant 10,000 new trees throughout the year. They exceeded their goal, planting 10,067 trees in total. In 2023, we planted a tree for every new regular shredding customer that joined our books. We will continue to support reforestation projects in 2024 and beyond.

Innovation is also key. For example, we are working alongside the UKFT and many other businesses on The ACT UK project. This £4m project, funded by Innovate UK, aims to completely revolutionise textile recycling. If successful, the UK could avoid thousands of tonnes of waste textiles from entering landfill sites. Innovations like these are key to ensuring a sustainable future.

Innovate UK logo

Our journey to lifetime net-zero

While many businesses are now racing to achieve annual net-zero emissions by 2050, Shred Station is committed to being a lifetime carbon-neutral company by 2030. In 2023, Nature Positive, an RSK company, completed the huge task of assessing our historic emissions since our formation in 2008. Between now and 2030, we will reduce these historic emissions to net zero. This will mean every customer who has ever used Shred Station will have had a carbon-neutral service.

If you have any questions about the measures we are taking to reduce emissions now or in the future, please feel free to get in touch with our team of experts. We are fully committed to transparency when it comes to our greenhouse gas emissions and publish our greenhouse gas assessment annually. This can be found on our accreditations page.

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