A pilot project involving Community Wood Recycling and BBC Eastenders has been selected as a finalist in the Circular Economy Project of the Year category of the UK Green Business Awards 2023.

The project, which has been running since October 2022, means that wood waste produced by Eastenders when sets are upgraded or storylines come to an end is dealt with in the most sustainable way by saving it for reuse in the local community. Any material that can’t be reused is recycled by chipping, meaning that nothing goes to landfill.

As well as helping the environment the project has a social impact, creating jobs and building skills and confidence for people excluded from the workplace.  In the first six months over 52 tonnes of waste timber has been collected, with 22 tonnes pushed up the waste hierarchy into reuse. This has saved an estimated 26 tonnes of CO2 emissions and created 0.5 of a job and 0.9 of a training opportunity.

Simon Nayor, Charge Hand Prime for Eastenders, said: “This pilot to recycle wood has been a game-changer. At Eastenders we’re essentially building giant jigsaws every week and wood is an integral material for us. Working with Community Wood Recycling through St Albans Wood Recycling has changed the way we can operate, and hopefully has shown a new way to operate across BBC Studios productions and the whole entertainment industry.”

Richard Mehmed, Community Wood Recycling Managing Director, said: “The opportunity BBC Studios has given us on one of the country’s best-loved shows has helped us to start conversations with TV and film productions all over the country, and as a result we are already seeing more take up of our services and more timber being saved.”

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