Road to success

“Waste management had become a real headache for our business. After years of working with service providers who had no clear vision or understanding of the waste and recycling needs of our business we took the decision to make a change and partner with UKWSL. I am proud to say that we are now well on our way to achieving goals which had previously been beyond our reach. The energy, enthusiasm and knowledge the UKWSL team has demonstrated means that our business is well on its way to a low percentage of waste to landfill. UKWSL have provided innovative solutions such as the baling of cardboard and the segregation of food waste and coffee grounds which has helped to improve our environmental credentials. Roadchef are leading the way in our sector thanks to the support of UKWSL.”

Roadchef – Director of Supply Chain Management & Head of Charity


Roadchef has a vision to provide visitors with a better motorway service experience. With circa 3,500 employees across 30 locations Roadchef are committed to providing fresh bread, fresh pastries, fresh meals, fresh coffee and a fresh approach to waste and the environment.

UKWSL took the time to review the working culture of sites with the aim of understanding why waste services were being managed in the way they were. The feedback UKWSL received was common to many businesses across the UK. “We have always done it this way. Nobody has ever told us another way we can operate”. This simple statement highlighted an opportunity to review expensive compactor services across 22 locations. This project formed a key part of UKWSL’s commitment to reduce Roadchef’s costs by £50,000 per annum.

The Cost Saving Process & Engagement

Historically, Roadchef had scheduled all compactor collections based on a “one size fits all” simple service that removed the need for sites to understand the impact their operations had on waste flow and what the true potential of their compactors was. In order to optimise services UKWSL first had to understand what the true “maximum capacity” for Roadchef compactors was. This was done by reviewing historic collection data and also by engaging with the machinery manufacturer who was able to advise UKWSL about tonnage expectations.

With an understanding of “maximum capacity” UKWSL reviewed several months of collection data to determine how many collections would take place if the compactors exceeded 90% of operating capacity. With this information, UKWSL has been able to recommend specific schedules unique to each site’s needs. Our recommendations have been discussed with site management teams to ensure that changes would not affect day-to-day operations. Once all key stakeholders has given approval, changes were implemented across the estate. Revised services were monitored for a minimum of three months so that UKWSL could validate success.

The Effect On Operational Delivery

As part of the mobilisation of change, UKWSL ensured that site management teams understood the new service schedules and could easily identify situations that may have a negative impact on operations. For example, Watford Gap Motorway Service Area is able to forecast increased waste arisings associated with bank holiday weekend peak trading. The site management team can then determine when the compactor is likely to reach optimum capacity so that collections can be booked at the right time. Where sites have failed to forecast waste flow correctly UKWSL has worked with the site management teams and our service partners to deliver “fast track” collections. This has been done to limit the impact of a motorway service area having a full compactor and a backlog of waste material.

The Savings

UKWSL have effected a reduction in spend of over £50,000 for Roadchef achieving their annual saving aspiration for the year. The savings tracker is shared with all site management teams so that they can see the tangible benefits of the changes they have made. This has helped motivate and improve their engagement.

It should be noted that this project delivers more than just financial benefit for Roadchef. Reducing collections minimises the environmental impact by reducing the associated carbon footprint of vehicle operations. UKWSL is committed to supporting customers to reduce the overall impact of their operations on the environment. This cost saving programme has therefore been both a financial and environmental success.