EMR: Energy – a significant variable cost for recyclers and their customers

In the decades ahead, recyclers such as EMR will be looking to transform their operations to ensure they are running as sustainably as possible and will be supporting their customers to do the same.

That requires rethinking the way it does business.

“In the UK at present, roughly a third of the energy EMR uses is electricity” says Guy Mercer, Director of Sustainability at EMR. “Roughly another third is Gas Oil our sites to power mobile plant, and the final third is DERV (diesel fuel), which we use to power our road freight vehicles.”

EMR is already working towards its ambitious 2040 net-zero target by transitioning conventional electricity supplies to renewables In the UK and Europe it has already moved most of its power supply over to renewable. It will take a bit longer in the USA because there is less renewable power available. Associated with this, it is investing in both electric and hybrid technologies throughout its operations.

Another essential step in this journey is becoming a more energy-productive  – using less energy for every unit of production. EMR has pledged to improve energy productivity by 10 percent between now and 2030 across our principal operations – and by the same amount again in the following decade to 2040.

“There are three principal ways in which we will achieve this goal,” Guy explains. “Firstly, we are developing better measurement, monitoring, targeting and control of our significant energy uses such as shredders, shears and balers. The systematic measurement of energy consumption and targeting reductions will allow EMR teams to continually evaluate and improve their operations in the most efficient, and energy-productive ways.

“Secondly, EMR will continue to invest in new and proven technologies and techniques to enable improved energy productivity. The list of these is extensive but will include re-designing processes; use of variable speed motors and drives; power factor correction; and, adjusted working behaviours. In combination, these efforts will work to deliver on our energy productivity targets.

Guy adds, “to fully capitalise on the opportunities ahead, EMR’s teams will also need to possess the necessary knowledge and skills that an energy efficient business requires.”

“The third element is training to improve our behaviours so that we don’t just talk like an energy efficient business, but act like one in everything we do. This means investing in training and empowering people in our new, energy efficient, ways of working.”

By applying these three approaches within the guidance of its Energy Management System (EnMS), EMR will achieve its ambitious EP100 targets and transition the business to a truly energy-productive future. Guy and his colleagues are implementing a new business-wide energy management system, backed up by rigorous auditing.

Guys says, “Introducing an energy management system will provide our teams with the tools necessary to optimise our energy consumption in everything we do, whether they operate a significant piece of energy consuming equipment or work in an office.”

Over the coming decades, EMR will play a central role in creating a more sustainable and regenerative economy, developing circular supply chains for a wide range of industries. The amount of energy required to recycle metal and plastic is significantly lower than that required to create virgin materials. EMR’s lower embodied energy and lower embodied carbon products enable our customers to produce low energy and low carbon products. We fulfil a fundamental role here.

EMR’s focus on energy productivity is a reminder that working more efficiently and ‘doing more with less’ is essential to any path to net-zero.

Guy Mercer, Director of Sustainability at EMRGuy Mercer_EMR