Sustainable Solutions – How can PAS115 help us get to Net Zero?

March 29, 2021 5:24 pm Published by


With the recent consultation of a new draft BSI standard, PAS115, waste management could be changing in UK Government. At PMG, we have been sweeping roads and collecting waste for Bristol and the South West since 1995 and a lot has changed since then. We now have a recycling plant, and our ever-expanding fleet of vehicles has reached  57 but we are always looking for more sustainable waste solutions.   

The Problem 

Due to urbanisation, soil erosion has become a concern for the UK parliament:  

Soil degradation involves both the physical loss (erosion) and the reduction in quality of topsoil associated with nutrient decline and contamination. It affects soil quality for agriculture and has implications for the urban environment, pollution and flooding.” – The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 


Zero to Landfill 

When cleaning your streets and drains, we take your waste away with us. And currently, we wash the material to obtain the sand and stone. The sludgy silt (a sand and clay material) and water leftover from this process are either processed at another facility, or we can use a centrifuge to dewater the sludge even further.  

The solid silty ‘cake’ from the centrifuge is taken to a third-party facility and mixed with other material to be used as a soil remediator and it is used as a soil restoration layer

In other words: PMG’s services are Zero to landfill right now. Any waste collected is mixed up with other materials (collected from other sources), and it’s used as a layer in a landfill. We have been trying to make use of your waste for years, but now we’re taking it a step further… 


What is PAS115? 

PAS115 is a new British Standard concerning the use of this waste. It aims to use this silty ‘cake’ as a growing medium in urban soils, a vital step towards the city, retail and commercial redevelopment. 


What will it be used for? 

The materials PAS115 classifies as serviceable, can be used for: 

  • Cities doing tree-planting schemes  
  • Landscaping 
  • Embankments  

 … and more! 

Why has PAS115 emerged? 

This project has emerged due to the increased scarcity of soil in the environment, due to urban development.  

Our road sweepers collect some of this soil when cleaning the road (for example), and the more that can be liberated from the materials we collect, the less need to be harvested from virgin sources. If we can replace, just a portion of this, we are helping our local, natural environment 


PMG are striving towards net-zero waste, and we think this is a fantastic opportunity to take steps in the right direction.  


When will it be published?  

The public consultation for this project finished just over two weeks ago, and the publication of these standards could be as soon as June 2021.   

We will keep you updated with any further news. Check back on our latest news so you don’t miss it. Keep an eye on the Standards Development page for further official info. 


For now, you may like to take a look at our recycling solutions 

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This post was written by Clare McGuinness

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