Waste and recycling at the Eden Project
- 20% of total waste is composted
- 71% sent for recycling
- 9% sent to landfill or incineration
With around 1 million people visiting Eden each year, we have to watch our wasteline! We reduce and measure over 20 different waste streams at our onsite recycling compound.
Our Wasteline initiative
Our Wasteline initiative, launched in January 2016, aims to design out waste from our products and procedures in the first instance, and then to ensure we close the loop by sending as much as we possibly can for recycling (currently 71% of our total waste) composting (20%) and as little to landfill (currently 9%).
Wasteline involves working with our suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging that comes onto site, helping our teams and visitors improve recycling rates through better products and signage, and involving staff and Eden Apprentices in coming up with waste reduction solutions.
How we watch our waste at Eden
In nature, one’s ‘waste’ becomes another’s resource. We manage our day-to-day operations with a view to reducing our waste as much as possible and making the best possible use out of it. Here's how we do it:
We aim to design out waste from products and procedures, including working with our suppliers to help reduce the amount of packaging brought on to site. For example, we try to use returnable crates instead of boxes, and we even collaborate with producers on product design to reduce the amount of packaging on goods we sell in our shop.
We've stopped selling water in plastic bottles to combat the environmental damage plastic is causing to the ocean. We have also stopped using plastic straws and are part of the Final Straw Campaign.
We also now wrap sandwiches and other food items in paper, rather than plastic – and are in conversation with suppliers about how to tackle the remaining plastic items in our cafes, such as children's food trays and pots and juice bottles.
We have collaborated with producers on new products which can help reduce plastic, such as our range of home compostable coffee capsules, for coffee machines.
When the waste comes into the yard we weigh and record over 20 different waste streams, most of which goes for recycling. We then analyse the data to make informed decisions about where to focus waste reduction efforts. We’re proud of the fact that any food waste we generate is either composted onsite in our vessel composter, or is sent off for composting at a local anaerobic digestion plant (Andigestion in Holsworthy, Devon).
In 2017-18 we turned 20% of our total waste into nutrient rich compost that our plants love. 71% of our total waste was sent to local contractors to be recycled or sorted further, and only 9% went to landfill or incineration; this is the road sweepings that cannot currently be recycled.
The majority of our food and drinks are served in crockery which is washed and reused. The bars at our Eden Sessions concerts now stock reusable cups, preventing 56,000 single use plastic cups being used this year (2018).
We are proud to be part of the ReFill Cornwall scheme, providing visible ReFill Stations across the site of free Cornish tap water. We actively encourage our visitors to bring their own refillable bottles when they come to visit and have bamboo cups available at the water stations in the cafes.
Please bring your own coffee cup when you visit and we will show our appreciation by offering you a discount on your hot drink. If you forget yours or don’t have one, don't worry, our used paper coffee cups are sent for recycling by Simply Cups into new products such as the reusable rCup. Or if you want to invest in a bamboo reusable cup, hand in your used paper cup at the shop and get 10% off!
We make it easy for our visitors to separate their ‘waste’ into our clearly labeled recycling bins. We work closely with local recycling companies to ensure as much as possible of it is being recycled into new material or, as a last resort, into energy.
There’s a great little recycling story behind our Eden coffee, too, which is roasted using the power from used coffee grounds – turned into ‘ecologs’.
To help stimulate the market for recycled products, we believe it’s important to invest (or re-invest) in the recycling industry by buying recycled stuff – from toilet rolls for the several hundred on-site loos to the lovely gifts we sell in our shop.