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Prison recycling scheme achieving cost savings

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The recycling of waste at the Isle of Man Prison is continuing to achieve significant benefits and savings.

As well as helping to cut operating costs and reduce the prison’s impact on the environment, the scheme is also providing meaningful work for inmates.

As a direct result of the initiative, the prison has been able to reduce its refuse collections from 12 large wheelie bins once a week to 10 bins once a fortnight. About 2,400 kilograms of waste is recycled each month, generating a saving of £5,000 a year.

The scheme is part of broader efforts by the prison to make its operations more sustainable. Improvements in energy efficiency are lowering utility bills, while expenditure on food is reduced by the annual production of nearly two tonnes of vegetables in the prison polytunnels.

Opportunities to improve waste management at the prison were identified in 2011 following an assessment by Senior Works Officer Jimmy Hughes. At that time, cardboard was the only material recycled via weekly collections by local company AskBuck Ltd.

Mr Hughes said:

‘I took a look at the sort of waste that was accumulated over a week and noticed we were disposing of a lot of plastic and paper that could be recycled. We built a sorting table from scratch and implemented a recycling system, with assistance from AskBuck. We then assigned two inmates to sort through the waste by hand and pick out items suitable for recycling. In these times of greater environmental awareness and constraints on budgets, the scheme has been a success.’

He added:

‘We have continued to monitor the impact of our recycling and the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of through the collections by Jurby Commissions has fallen considerably. An annual saving of £5,000 has been realised, which is very welcome in the current climate.’

Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK commented:

‘Prison management and staff continue to come up with innovative solutions to deal with budget challenges. Waste recycling is another initiative that is achieving positive results and I’d like to commend all those involved.’

Michael Coleman MLC, Member of the Department of Home Affairs with responsibility for the Prison and Probation Service, highlighted the benefits of providing a range of meaningful activities for prisoners.

He said:

‘Encouraging the involvement of prisoners in these schemes makes a small but important contribution towards their overall rehabilitation. It also helps to maintain discipline and safety. On a practical note, increased recycling is reducing the prison’s operating costs, which is essential at a time when Home Affairs is seeking to meet its challenging budget targets.’

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