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Royal Mail saves 2,000 tonnes of waste by rolling out reusable trolley sleeves

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Image © Phil Greig / greigphoto

Royal Mail has replaced single use cardboard trolley sleeves with more durable, reusable versions which are designed to last up to four years.

The new sleeves, which were created in-house, cut waste by 10% last year and helped Royal Mail achieve its target of reducing waste by 25% compared to the 2020/21 base year.

Royal Mail’s in-house engineering team was tasked with designing a replacement for the traditional single-use fabric and cardboard trolley inserts used in mail centres and delivery offices, which would be reusable, increase capacity and more compatible with automated machinery.

As well as improving efficiency by increasing capacity of each trolley, the new sleeves – known as ‘Yorks’ internally – will be used up to 3,000 times over an expected lifespan of four years and are made from fully recyclable corrugated plastic, including 30% recycled material.

Waste management is a key part of Royal Mail’s Steps to Zero strategy, which set a goal of achieving Net-Zero by 2040 with a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

Royal Mail has also introduced a reuse programme for pallets and adjusted its mail bag practices by substituting single-use plastic cable ties for reusable ‘hook and loop’ straps. The company is now looking to maintain and improve its performance by exploring innovative approaches to enhance its recycling. It will focus on efficiencies in its operational products, used to collect, convey and distribute mail.

Zebrina Hanly, Royal Mail’s head of environment, said: “We have not only met our waste reduction target, but have done so seven years ahead of schedule. This wouldn’t have been possible without the innovation from our engineering team as well as the hard work of our posties and wider operational staff. Our mission isn’t over, however, and we’re continuing to work hard to maintain our position as the UK’s greenest delivery option.”


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