Corporate Responsibility: Case Study - Tube Lines

Graham Willgoss

A Tube maintenance company is recycling newspapers and other litter discarded on the London Underground to raise money for charity.

Tube Lines, the company responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines in London, presented a cheque for £11,000 to the Katharine Dormandy Trust for Haemophilia and Allied Disorders to mark the successful first phase of its new programme.

The initiative was launched as a joint effort between Tube Lines and the trust, whose supporters worked out ways to make the project financially viable. It began as a six-month trial at key stations on each line in November 2004.

"We are committed to minimising our impact on the environment, and this is a significant step forward," said Tube Lines director of operations Stephen Peat. "Hard work brings a win-win situation - the passengers have cleaner trains, the charity has money and there is less landfill. More than 90 per cent of waste collected during the morning rush hour is newspapers, but it has always been a challenge to successfully separate recyclable paper from rubbish and then find places to store it."

Tube Lines collects approximately 5,300 bin liners full of waste from stations and trains every week, much of which is recyclable. Cleaners separate what is recyclable from what is not, and place the litter in different bags as they work. Currently, 10 tonnes of recyclable paper are collected each week.

Laura Wallace, media relations officer at Tube Lines, said: "Different solutions are having to be applied to different stations. For example, at the Stratford Market depot we have room for recycling bins out the back. This simply hasn't been possible at the smaller stations."

The scheme will be rolled out to all stations, depots and offices managed by Tube Lines over the next six months. During that time, the company plans to make four further donations to the Katharine Dormandy Trust.

Tube Lines also recycles fluorescent tubes and reprocesses 40 per cent of all track waste, such as ballast. It estimates that this saved more than 2,000 tonnes from landfill in 2004. The company is also investigating opportunities for recycling plastic, wood and tin cans.

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