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Waste and Resources

Many of our resources are finite. We are working to reduce resource consumption, reuse and repurpose items and recycle all we can, working towards zero avoidable waste by 2050 in line with the UK Clean Growth Strategy.

Single Use Plastics

Our offices became Single Use Plastic (SUP) free in 2018.  We have eliminated most items of SUP from our operations and are continually working to identify alternatives for the few remaining items.

When planning events, we work with the venue to provide avoid SUP, offer sustainable food and minimise waste.


Annually the PLA’s driftwood service collects more than 200 tonnes of litter from the river, either from the network of passive structures that collect litter (called PDC’s) or from clean ups by volunteers where the PLA has provided cages for the event . Most of this (over 90%) is recycled at a riverside waste site.

In order to tackle the problem of litter in the river with many other organisations also working on the problem, the PLA convened the Thames Litter Forum in 2014. The Forum developed the first five year action plan under the Thames Vision 2035, Thames Litter Strategy.

Annually the PLA Environment team also runs volunteer foreshore clean up days for staff in the local area to its Gravesend offices. From 2022 the staff also have access to a litter picking station to use in their break times.


Our operations do create waste, where possible we do try to reduce what we produce. In the offices we proactively work across the business to find ways to avoid printing large documents.

We reduce the amount of corporate documents we print each year, and when we do have to print these are on sustainable sources and recyclable.

In order to avoid waste and reduce carbon emissions of products we purchase we carry out a assessment of the waste materials and carbon from the products alongside their cost and operational requirements in our sustainable procurement framework and larger purchases will be subject to an internal sustainability assessment.

In unavoidable waste production, we try to find waste streams to avoid sending to landfill. We send zero waste directly to landfill.

We collect hard to recycle items like rubber (from fenders or tyres) and rope to send them to specialist waste streams.  The rubber is used for sports fields and the rope previously went to local zoos. We are investigating other routes at the moment.


There is a small amount of water used by the offices, accommodation and operation of the PLA, but we are always looking at ways to reduce this further. Regular checks for leaks and water reducing measures in showers, taps and toilets across the estate. In our remote sites we have also installed composting toilets to reduce water use.

Using the roof of our office in Denton to capture rainwater it is then reused in the grey water system of the office supplying around 60% of demand.

Pollution prevention

We have a number of operational sites all dealing with different fuels, either on pontoons over the river or on land, all are equipped with relevant spill kits and emergency response. Our staff are trained to use the equipment and report any incidents.

Our site at Denton has dedicated oil interceptors to capture any oils and we have processes in place to prevent the operation of the interceptors being affected for example by use of detergents.

Our paint blasting suite uses a filtration system to prevent any dust escaping to the surrounding buildings and site.

Page updated 20/1/2022