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December 13, 2019
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Countrystyle Year in Review

2019 has been another great year for Countrystyle, we have helped so many businesses in Kent with their waste management, been recognised for our hard work in the industry and embracing new technologies at our Ridham facility. Let’s have a look at the highlights from the last twelve months…

January: Taking fire risk seriously

Countrystyle successfully obtained EA approval for three separate Fire Prevention Plans in its wood, plasterboard and RDF / MRF facilities – a major achievement in an industry that is challenged by waste fires. This was only obtained through hard work, investment and, most importantly, by taking fire risk seriously.

Working closely with our Property Insurer, Affiliated FM (a division of FM Global), Countrystyle invested £250,000 into an automatic dry sprinkler system for the new DMR MRF which was supplied by FM approved fire solution experts, Thameside Fire.

Capable of delivering up to 6,000 litres per minute, the UK built, Armstrong diesel fire pump distributes 10.2 mm/min of water over the entire DMR MRF via 280 sprinkler nozzles and uses water from Countrystyle’s dedicated 450,000L capacity water storage tank.

To enable unprocessed recyclables and baled material to be stored in the six former IVC sanitation tunnels, each tunnel was been fitted with its own pipework and 20 x sprinkler heads, which operate via a separate control valve-set located in the main DMR MRF building.

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Best Recycling School Award
Faversham, Hernhill C of E Primary School, Faversham.
from left, Jolene Simionato CountryStyle, Tom Hartman, Lucia Salt, Roisin Courtney, Blessing Enakimio Blessings by Ble.
Green School awards. Ashford International Hotel, Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, Kent.
Picture Submitted by: Martin Apps
KM Group has permission to sell this image via photo sales and to re-sell the image to other media for single-use publication.
Green School awards. Ashford International Hotel, Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, Kent.
Picture Submitted by: Martin Apps
KM Group has permission to sell this image via photo sales and to re-sell the image to other media for single-use publication.

February: Green Schools take pride of place at Awards

Love was in the air at the Green School Awards on Valentine’s Day as 27 schools were honoured for their efforts in caring for the environment. The fourth annual event, staged by Inspire Schools at the Ashford International Hotel, celebrated the top eco-projects carried out in schools and the wider community to inspire the next generation of green heroes.

Sponsoring the Walk to School Scheme and attending on behalf of Countrystyle was Sales Consultant Jolene Simionato who handed out awards to pupils to Walk to School Winners. Commenting on the day, she said: “it was a truly marvellous event to see the pupils engaged with greener travel and taking more cars off the road”.

Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, described the awards as a “great example” of engaging young people in protecting the environment – a key goal of the government’s drive to make 2019 a Year of Green Action.

Simon Dolby, chief executive of Inspire Schools followed with: “It’s apt that on Valentine’s Day we celebrate our love for the environment and everything that schools are doing to protect and conserve it.

“I would like to congratulate all of our winners, whose work is the epitome of ‘think global, act local’. They are equipping young people with the tools and enthusiasm to make a real difference – and creating green ambassadors of the future.

The event included a performance from Priory Fields School Choir from Dover, who won last year’s Walk to School Song Contest. The children sang their version of the S Club 7 song ‘Reach’ – which they renamed ‘Reach for the Bus’ and featured their own lyrics – followed by ‘This Little Light of Mine’.

March: New JCB 457 Wheel loaders for Ridham

Countrystyle further improved on-site handling efficiency at its flagship facility at Sittingbourne, Kent, with the introduction of four JCB 457 wheel loaders.

As the local provider for specialist waste recycling, haulage and recovery for a range of industrial products, including plasterboard, wood, general waste, dry mixed recyclables, organic green and food wastes, two of the new JCB models were deployed within our dedicated plasterboard recycling building and the remaining two units operate within the wood yard at Ridham Dock.

As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting health and safety within the waste sector, the dedicated JCB machines working within the plasterboard processing plant were supplied with BMAir cabin air filtration technology. The BMAir system prevents polluted air from entering the cabin and allows air quality within the operator’s working space to be continuously monitored.

In addition, the new wheel loaders were supplied with automatic dual agent fire suppression systems, supplied by Fireward, LED lighting and foam-filled tyres to ensure on-site safety and machine uptime are optimised. Featuring a powerful MTU diesel engine that meets Tier 4/Stage IV emissions, the JCB 457 wheel loader is designed to work at sites where large volumes of materials need to be handled. It is available in a variety of model configurations – all built with safety, efficiency, ease of use and maintenance, productivity, performance, reliability and comfort in mind.

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April: New Partnerships

Countrystyle was excited to announce that it signed up as an Associate member of Trade Association Produced in Kent. Dedicated to supporting & promoting food, drink, products and services in Kent, Produced in Kent provide vital support to a diverse range of businesses which in turn provide valuable employment opportunities in Kent and are at the economic heart of communities.

Produced in Kent Manager Stephanie Durlin commented: “We believe that working with Countrystyle Recycling members can achieve even better results for their businesses. From higher rates of recycling to more efficient processing of waste products. We are looking forward to working in partnership with the Countrystyle team”.

Countrystyle’s Sales Director, Jamie Houston followed “There is a great synergy between Produced in Kent and Countrystyle. Joining as an Associate Member and being connected to other local businesses makes sense strategically and environmentally. Kent is at the heart of what we do and we are strongly committed to recycling and landfill avoidance. Our teams are dedicated to helping local businesses work towards greener business acumen – regardless of size and waste stream. We offer the personal service, with tailored waste management plans and logistic capabilities to ensure we offer a competitive stance as the local solution for businesses”.

May: Winners in Wood Recycling

Countrystyle was thrilled to announce that it was voted the best Wood Recycling Business of the Year 2019 at the Lets Recycle Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management which took place on 9th May 2019 at the luxurious, five-star Landmark Hotel in London. This prestigious award recognises work undertaken by a wood recycling business operating in the UK who has shown a consistent service to its customers.

The category, sponsored by Fireward fire suppression systems, required evidence of recycling levels achieved and indications that customers are well-cared for in terms of service delivery, reporting and follow-up of concerns. Commenting on the award, Compliance Director, Stuart Butler-Gallie said: “Countrystyle has worked tirelessly to ensure that its wood recycling business sets a high standard of compliance within the industry and delivers a quality product and solution-driven service to its customers. We are delighted that we have been recognised for our hard work and investment”.

Managing Director Chris Howard added: “it has been a team effort across many departments within the Company and we are thrilled with the result. Countrystyle takes great steps to ensure that its services, products and operations are delivered to the highest quality standard. We offer our congratulations to the other winners at the awards and all the shortlisted finalists”.

The awards, now in its 16th year, were hosted by MasterChef presenter, Gregg Wallace who highlighted the importance of the waste industry and the work undertaken. This year’s expert judging panel was: Jacob Hayler, executive director, Environmental Services Association; Carole Taylor, chair of LARAC; Julia Turner, executive director, Wood Recyclers Association; Robbie Warden, chair of the Resource Association; and Steve Eminton, editor of letsrecycle.com.

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June: Countrystyle is Tango’ed

Stationed at Betteshanger Country Park, Deal, on Sunday, June 9, Countrystyle employees and their families took arms with tango orange paint to throw at runners raising money for charity. Proudly sponsoring the orange station at the KM Colour Run 2019, the annual event sees participants completing a 5km route – while being covered in coloured powder.

Attending on the day, marketing executive Emily Geeson said: “Today has been incredible. We had a good team on our station from a variety of departments across Countrystyle’s site and we all worked together to cover runners in as much paint as possible –although I think most of it ended upon us!

“The colour run is a great initiative to get people raising money for charity and doing it at a fun, friendly pace. Countrystyle is dedicated to the local community and we have seen professional runners/families with young children taking part, all here for different causes and Charites.”

Lead Sponsors Specsavers were also stationed at the start of the race circuit. Speaking on behalf of Specsavers in Kent, Joanna Wyndham, said: “We are delighted to once again support the fantastic KM Colour Run, and are looking forward to getting covered in green powder on our Specsavers colour station.

“It is such a fantastic family event to be part of, and the fact so much is raised for a variety of Kent charities makes our involvement extra special.”

Colour Run participants use the event to raise money for any charity of their choice, with the funds generated being split 70-30 between their good causes and the KM Charity Team’s children’s road-safety services.

Runners were also dawned with a limited edition KM Colour Run t-shirt, sunglasses, a small bag of coloured powder and a medal on completion.

July: OVER 7 MILLION CAR JOURNEYS SAVED

Sponsoring and supporting the scheme for over five years, Countrystyle Recycling is proud to announce that children taking part in the KM Charity/ Inspire Schools’ green-travel scheme Active Wow achieved a stunning 640,000 car-free journeys this academic year, taking 304,000 vehicles off the road. The figures, announced during a celebratory event at Leeds Castle, represent a 30,000-journey increase on the previous year, mean Inspire Schools has now achieved more than seven million green-travel journeys in its 19-year history.

Active Wow encourages families to leave the car at home for the school run and make the journey by walking or cycling instead. Incentivised with monthly inter-school green travel challenges, the pupils with the highest number of walks were awarded with local leisure attraction vouchers or visits by celebrity storytellers. High-achieving Active Wow schools from Kent, Medway and Bexley were joined at the celebrations by representatives of business and local authorities supporting the scheme.

Marketing Executive Emily, who attended the event, commented “Every year green travel alternatives such Walk on Wednesday (WoW) is increasingly gaining the attention of pupils (and parents), all of whom are looking for greener alternatives to the normal school commute. WoW is a great initiative to get pupils engage in exercise, meet fellow peers and start the day on a good foot. It was a great event to celebrate the tremendous effort and really exciting for the children. We are proud to support such a significant initiative, Kent is at the heart of what we do and its great to see the positive impact it is having on the pupils”.

Maidstone Borough Council Cllr Derek Mortimer said: “It’s an exceptional campaign. We fully support it in Maidstone. We’re trying to get more people off the roads and keep people fitter, and we want to get more and more children walking to school.”

Local schools collect their awards. Green School Awards, Leeds Castle, Leeds, Maidstone, Kent.
Picture Submitted by: Martin Apps
KM Group has permission to sell this image via photo sales and to re-sell the image to other media for single-use publication.
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August: Up the bears! 

Strengthening its dedication to the local community, Countrystyle proudly sponsors the Bearsted FC V. AFC Croydon match ahead of the football season and cheers on the First Team at the start of the 19/20 season.

Attending on the day and supporting from the side-lines, marketing executive Emily commented: “Countrystyle is proud to be backing local teams and Bearsted FC is highly regarded amongst some of our employees. We have supported the club today as match sponsor to kick start what we hope to be a great season for the First Team.

Speaking to Manager Kevin Stevens before the game, he said: “the management team, myself and the players have been analysing previous performances with the assistance of video which has been a great asset. We look forward to today’s match and hope everyone enjoys the game.”

Following on, Countrystyle’s Sales Director, Jamie Houston, who also attended on the day commented: “The pitch looks to offer a great playing surface for both teams style of play tonight and we wish all the best to the Bears!”

The club started the season well with the match producing a fair result of 2-0. Both teams offered a great display of sportsmanship, levelling the scores at both half and full time. Countrystyle was allowed to give the man of the match award to Khalil Mcfarlane who received a bottle of Champagne from Jamie.

Founded in 1895, Bearsted FC is one of the oldest clubs in Kent. Originally playing on Bearsted Green, the club moved to Honey Lane, Otham, in 1998 to enable the club to compete in the premier division of the Kent County League.

September: For the love of Dustcarts

As part of Recycling Week 2019, Countrystyle was excited to open its doors to Martin, a resident with the Kent Autistic Trust who had a passion for Dustcarts.

During the afternoon, Martin was invited to Countrystyle’s Recycling hub at Ridham dock and see first-hand one of Countrystyle’s iconic green dustcarts that regularly make its rounds near his home. Under supervision from the Head of Trade, Frank Gardner, Martin got to operate the dustcart, load the bin, tip and release. He was also able to ride in the cab around the site and learn the controls from the inside.

Speaking on the day, Head of Trade Frank Gardner said: “it’s great to see such enthusiasm for the industry and our vehicles. It has been an absolute delight to have Martin on-site with us today and it was genuinely heart-warming to talk trade and show someone the ropes around the vehicle”.

Having a great day, Martin left Ridham with a smile on his face, and a miniature dustcart to commemorate the day.

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October: In the Kitchen with Countrystyle

We were excited to announce that COOK signed with Countrystyle as its waste management supplier. The contract includes services at COOK’s Kent-based sites and incorporates a variety of waste streams such as DMR, general and food waste.

COOK is a large scale gourmet kitchen specialising in frozen food with the homemade touch, using the same ingredients and techniques its customers would use at home. With over 300 staff preparing and distributing meals at multiple sites across Kent including Sittingbourne, Rainham and Gillingham, COOK’s meals can be found in more than 90 COOK shops around the UK, via a thriving home delivery business and a network of concessions in like-minded retailers.

The company set themselves the challenge of halving the amount of food wasted at its main sites by the end of 2020. Currently, COOK has a system in place called the OWL that captures and stores food waste from its kitchens. This food waste is collected and turned into a nutrient-rich bio-fertilizer for farming and renewable energy that is exported to the National Grid.

Technical and Sustainability Director, Richard Pike said: “COOK is pleased to be partnering with Countrystyle in our drive to reduce waste and increase recycling from our main operating sites. Their support and flexibility has been invaluable and has helped us to increase momentum and buy-in from the teams as well as ensuring that not only are we zero to landfill but that waste sent for recovery is also reduced and diverted to DMR wherever possible”.

Countrystyle has begun working with COOK towards its 2020 goal by ensuring that all waste produced is either recycled or recovered into energy. Key Account Manager Julie Daniel commented: “COOK is a delight to have on board. They are keen to increase their recycling and landfill avoidance rates and have taken steps in the right direction. We are closely situated to all of their sites and we are truly able to offer the local waste management solution.”

Sales Director Jamie Houston commented further: “COOK is engaging in segregating waste, reducing food wastage and producing top quality products. We hope that as COOK continues to grow, our relationship will also grow as we work together with new and innovative waste solutions and procedures.”

Continuously investing in new technology, COOK has made many environmentally conscious decisions throughout their entire processing practises. More recently the company has been working hard to reduce its use of single-use plastics, with a focus on its black plastic trays. By the end of 2019, the company will have switched all its adult meals to new trays that are made from up to 85% recycled material and are 100% recyclable.

November: A Spark of Innovation

Countrystyle introduced a spark of innovation and installed four electric car chargers to the main Ridham site near Sittingbourne.

As Countrystyle renewed its cars for management staff, the decision was made to offer fully electric or hybrid alternatives to further reduce the company’s impact on the environment and carbon footprint.

Owner of the company’s first hybrid, Finance Director Nick Hamblin commented: “the management team do a lot of travelling for the company and moving towards hybrids and electric vehicles was a good step in the right direction for the company. Not only does the use of electric vehicles reduce our carbon footprint, but we also reap the benefits of reduced operating cost and road taxes/charges.”

The four Rolec EV Wallpod car charging units are designed to offer full Mode 3 fast charging to every electric vehicle on the market. Designed to be compatible with all current PHEV’s and EV’s, the Wallpod is the UK’s favourite charging point with over 50,000 in operation within the UK.

The models installed include the EVWP2026 which is rated at 32A, meaning that they all offer rapid charging to all types of vehicles that can draw from that current. It includes a neon power indicator and RCBO protection. The charging unit was specifically designed for charging electric vehicles in commercial locations, such as offices, hotels, sports venues, and further afield.

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December: Christmas Jumpers All-Around

‘’Twas the season for Christmas jumpers and Save the Children’s Annual Christmas Jumper Day! The Countrystyle teams fully embraced this year’s event to raise money for a fantastic cause. Across the two sites, the staff at both Lenham and Ridham donned their outstanding knitwear raising a fantastic £54.

Save the children work in over 100 countries, including the UK, helping children stay safe, healthy and in education. They lead the way on tackling big problems like pneumonia, hunger and protecting children in war, whilst ensuring each child’s unique needs are cared for.

Last year, the money raised from Christmas jumper day was put towards projects including:

  • protecting children in humanitarian emergencies from disease/hunger
  • tackling pneumonia, the biggest infectious killer of children
  • fighting malnutrition, the underlying cause of one-third of child deaths
  • feeding thousands of children at risk of starvation in Yemen

This year the project continues to work in affected areas, reaching 9.3 MILLION children in emergencies, 27.6m through health/nutrition work and aiming to meet a £1bn govt. pledge on vaccinations.