Reconomy and Platform Housing started working together in January 2020. The contract has a mixture of services, but in the main it covers skips and tipping activity. When the services were mobilised at the beginning of the year, nobody could have foreseen the challenges that would be faced to keep Platform Housing’s essential work going, but as the market leaders in the social housing sector, Reconomy have been able to show flexibility and speed to set up appropriate waste management solutions as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded.
Platform Housing cover a large geography right across the central part of the UK, from Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the West, through the Midlands and across to Lincolnshire and Norfolk in the East. The operatives in their Property Care division perform essential emergency repairs to social housing and also clear out void properties so they are ready to be re-let.
Of course, this puts the operatives at risk of infection as there is a possibility the properties have been contaminated with COVID-19. So a robust solution was required to allow continuity and safe disposal of both the waste from properties, and the PPE worn by operatives.
Fortunately, Platform Housing were already using Reconomy’s TippingApp, which allows operatives to find their nearest tipping location, plan their routes and ultimately generate an automatic waste transfer note. However, as COVID-19 restrictions started to take hold and sites started to close – something different needed to be done.
Head of Social Housing at Reconomy, Neil Baldwin, explains: “Reconomy has been proactively monitoring the closure of tipping sites, and making sure these were reflected in the TippingApp quickly to avoid any disruption for Platform’s Property Care operatives. We’ve been communicating continuously, so that alternative sites could be routed to where necessary. As site closures increased we needed a back-up plan, and so we’ve collaborated with Grafton Supply Chain Solutions, where containers have been placed to provide a contingency service if local tipping sites are closed.”
Reconomy organised skips for the general waste material as well as wheelie bins specifically for the safe disposal of PPE worn by Platform Housing operatives. The PPE waste is double-bagged and stored for 72 hours, in line with the government guidance.
In the current situation this takes quite a lot of planning, as Neil outlines: “we’re working really closely with Grafton Supply Chain Solutions to make sure Platform's Property Care operatives can dispose of waste safely at the depots. We’ve set up a process where operatives call in advance so that the staff on site can manage their time. We’re also helping to coordinate access for one vehicle at a time and ensuring that safe social distancing can be maintained.
We’re pleased to say that everything is currently working smoothly, and the most important thing is that Platform’s essential social housing work can carry on through this period”
Shawn Nye, Safety, Health and Environmental Compliance Officer at Platform Housing adds: “Our operatives are on the front lines, performing vital emergency repairs and getting social housing ready for people who need it. Maintaining safety procedures to protect them was paramount, and so we’re delighted that working with Reconomy we’re able to find waste management solutions that support this in the current situation. We managed to mobilise this very quickly, within a week or so, which is testament to the effectiveness of this collaboration”.