Doing it with Style

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Related tags: Suburban style bar, Recycling

Expanding Leeds-based pub operator Suburban Style Bar Company has a reason to make other pubs green with envy. Last year the pubco, which recently...

Expanding Leeds-based pub operator Suburban Style Bar Company has a reason to make other pubs green with envy.

Last year the pubco, which recently grew to 15 pubs with the acquisition of 10 outlets in Yorkshire and Manchester, won a gold award in the national Tidy Business Standards scheme.

The scheme aims to reward good environmental practice in business - with the gold award going to firms which have been judged to have made a positive contribution to their local community and the environment.

And owner and managing director Andy Longman is keen to recycle the experiences of his own pubs with other licensees.

Andy says: "Part of the criteria for the award was giving evidence of trade waste agreements which we have had in place for several years with Biffa for our glass, Leeds Paper Recycling and Leeds-based Wastecare for our cooking oil."

Last year the bars generated four-and-a-half tonnes of 'non-returnable glass' - mainly beer and wine bottles - and 100 per cent of it was recycled. Andy adds: "We also recycle 100 per cent of our tin can waste, although the bars don't get through that many as we use fresh, locally sourced produce."

Greener and greener

But Andy is keen that it's not just the packaging which is recycled in his bars.

Suburban recently spent time investigating how to convert its used vegetable oil into bio-diesel. This has been rejected for the time being due to the initial outlay required for the refining equipment - with the cheapest weighing in at around £3,500.

But the green credentials don't stop with recycling. The bars also use energy-efficient light bulbs, have water governors and push-button taps in the toilets and recycle their printer cartridges, and staff are encouraged not to print emails unless absolutely necessary.

Light sensors are being installed in toilet areas so that the lights come on only when they are being used.

Andy adds: "We are currently upgrading our boilers, as and when necessary, to highly efficient condensing ones. We have also been looking into scrapping paper towels in the toilets in favour of Dyson Airblade hand dryers, which are said to use up to 80 per cent less energy than other types.

"Last Christmas we even had LED Christmas decorations, which use 80 per cent less energy than conventional lights.

"Our next stage is to look at energy suppliers that produce electricity using renewable means such as wind, sea and sun."

The purchase Andy is most proud of is a £3,000 waste paper and card compactor. The kit is now actually generating a minor income stream as compacted card has a value.

He reckons the Mil-tek equipment will save the business around £200 per month in landfill taxes alone - meaning that it will rapidly pay for itself.Andy adds that Suburban has also recently spent £2,000 on waste disposal units.

"As a parent of four children, I've long been interested in environmental issues and while it's fair to say no business can be regarded as 100 per cent environmentally friendly, we aim to do whatever is possible," he declares.

"When I started collecting things at home for the recycling bin a few years ago, I was shocked at how much had previously been thrown away without a second thought."

You won't find a lot being thrown away from Suburban Style Bar Company pubs now - and the business is clearly saving money as a result.

• For more information on the Tidy Business Standards scheme contact your local council

A Pubco to be Proud of

Pubs: Suburban Style Bar Company

Location: East Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester

Owner: Andy Longman

"Andy Longman and his Suburban Style Bars chain have been ahead of the game in the pub trade on environmental issues - and the business is now reaping the rewards as a result. Much more than a powerful PR message, the chain's green credentials are now seeing it save money across the business, and act as an example to others in the trade."

Related topics: Other operators

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