Initially founded in a bid to stop the practice of using feathers and plumes for women’s hats in the Victorian era, the RSPB began its life as the Society for the Protection of Birds (SPB).

Founded in Manchester by Emily Williamson in 1889, the movement initially consisted entirely of women. It quickly gained popularity, merged with other societies and was so successful that in 1904 it was granted Royal Charter. Today, the society focuses heavily on reserves, conservation work and providing a way for everybody to get closer to nature. It owns over half of the land it manages and by 2025 it aims to improve the wildlife value of 10% of the seas around the UK and ensure 20% of UK land is well managed for nature.

With such a strong focus on the natural environment, green living is a key ethos for the RSPB. The state of our waters has a massive impact on birds and wildlife, and as such, effective waste reduction and waste management is a vital part of the society’s objectives. A key part of its work revolves around farming and land management, as such waste reduction, re-use and recycling is a significant part of this. With this in mind, the society wants to ensure its practices reflect its values. With significant numbers of visitors year-round, one of its key challenges is the disposal of visitor waste. Its objective is to ensure littering is always a strict ‘no no’ and to encourage all of its supporters to actively think about the waste they produce and how it can be put to best use as a resource.
With RSPB advice highly in demand on wildlife and our environment, a large volume of informative literature is produced, which often does not get fully utilised leading to excess needing disposal.

Determined to take a sustainable approach to waste, the RSPB became keen to employ a company that could provide a ‘resource focused’ solution.
Cawleys are a natural choice, not only are we key players in the local community, we also operate sustainably at every stage of the waste management process.
Our first initiative with the RSPB was to introduce the society to our Infinity Scheme. This involves helping educate visitors and staff to segregate waste at the point of disposal by using separate bins for cans and bottles, paper and cardboard. Doing this ensures that waste streams are collected in separate bags making them easy to identify and keeping contamination to a minimum. Collecting waste in this way makes it far more suitable for recycling than that collected in a mixed bag.
Alongside the Infinity scheme we hold regular awareness days, visiting sites and actively engaging with visitors and staff to make them aware of the importance of segregating their waste and using the correct bins.

The society have also initiated a crisp packet recycling scheme where a member of staff collects and returns the packets back to the manufacturer for recycling.
With regards to excess and expired literature, we have now set up a separate collection, taking them directly to the correct recycling plant. This ensures that they remain in pristine condition with no contamination so that they maintain their high grade status and can be successfully recycled into new paper products with zero waste.
In addition to the above, we have also given the society advise on segregation of hazardous waste and set up battery and WEEE waste collections to ensure best practice is followed in all areas of waste on-site.

Since working with us, the RSPB have been able to continually improve their recycling rates and now achieve a fantastic 74% recycling average, way above previous targets.
Diverting the recyclable waste away from general waste black bins has also allowed the society to make considerable cost savings which are diverted directly back into the charity’s causes.

Emma Davies, Facilities Administrator at RPSB commented:

The environmental ethos is naturally very strong within our society and it is vital that we lead by example. Working with Cawleys has allowed our recycling rates to flourish. They have been extremely positive to work with and have provided invaluable ideas and solutions to ensure that our on-site team, and our visitors, are able to act as responsibly with their waste on site as they do at home.