In producing an essential mineral, lime, we recognize that our operations have an impact on the environment. The goal of our company is to operate all our sites in an environmentally responsible manner. Our operations are accredited to ISO 14001:2004, the environmental management standard (Certificate Number EMS 59687).
This, however, does not demonstrate the extent of the commitment to the environment made by Singleton Birch in terms of delivering best practices and activities over and above legislation or planning requirements. We continue to evaluate a range of sustainability projects to create benefits for both people and planet, as part of our overall ESG (environmental, social, and governance) strategy. Other examples of investments to improve our sustainability are listed below.
At the main Melton Ross site, over 65 acres of previously quarried land has been restored to productive agricultural land and is producing crop yields at least as high as that prior to quarrying. This was recognised by the receipt of a restoration award by the Quarry Products Association.
Across our operations, in the last 2 decades, 20,000 trees and several kilometres of hedgerows have been planted. An old, disused quarry at Elsham was recently restored using lime treated biosolids from wastewater plants. This material provided high nutrient soils, which were ideal for growing trees. Following the reprofiling of the quarry to remove any high faces, the soils were laid, trees planted, and footpaths installed, and the quarry is now open to the local villagers as a woodland trail.
Cradle-to-grave solutions provided to our customers has resulted in the establishment of a non-hazardous landfill site, which is enabling this restoration work to continue. Deliveries of lime to environmental treatment plants on the Humber Bank result in the production of neutralised non-hazardous filter-cake, which is returned utilising the same lorry that delivered the lime. This filter-cake is placed in a fully lined landfill site to re-profile the quarry back to further agricultural land and woodland. To date, over 10 acres of this area has been restored and is supporting sheep grazing.
The reduction of our carbon footprint continues to be a critical focus for new investments and partnerships. For example, our partnership with Origen has led to the construction of a new pilot plant, with the goal of producing lime in a kiln that releases no carbon emissions to the environment. We are also exploring opportunities for enhanced efficiencies, carbon capture, and alternative fuels.
Our Birch Energy business operates several anaerobic digestion plants, which uses sources such as sugar beet pulp, maize, and livestock manure to produce green energy. The resulting energy is used directly at our site or exported to the local energy grid. Our energy production is equivalent to around 99% of Birch Lime’s total power needs. Solid and liquid digestates also yield fertilizer used at local farms. Our Birch Solutions business assists customers with optimizing and running their own anaerobic digestion plants, contributing to industry-wide adoption of greener energy sources.
Recycling plastics produces high levels of problematic moisture. MasterOx® Masterbatch Desiccants from our Birch Chemicals business have been specifically designed to remove moisture content and provide consistent product, enabling effective, efficient recycling of plastics, nylon, and polymers for a more circular economy.
These are a few examples of the work that Singleton Birch is carrying out to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development and to enable the Company to work with its stakeholders to deliver environmental benefits from our operations.
The 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are an important framework for us to evaluate and discuss how our operations impact people and planet. Our report about our contributions to the SDGs can be downloaded below. This sets our ongoing commitment to sustainability covering areas such as the environment, local communities, and education.