Global Recycling Day

We're delivering a better railway for passengers - and reducing our environmental impact while doing it.

Owning and operating 20,000 miles of track and 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts across Britain comes with substantial environmental responsibilities. That’s why – as one of the country’s biggest landowners – we’re committed to reducing the impact of our waste.

This Global Recycling Day we highlight some of our biggest environmental successes:

An enormous 94 per cent!

We made significant progress in sustainability in the year to last summer, diverting 94 per cent of our waste from landfill.

Our latest annual report, published in July, shows we generated 2.14 million tonnes of waste in the 2017 to 2018 period, including construction, demolition, commercial and hazardous waste. We reused a third of this waste, recycled more than half of it and converted five per cent into energy.

We're improving our waste management by identifying waste streams that can be reused or recycled. Waste brokers carry out audits on sites and identify alternatives to better manage waste. We're also identifying more sustainable products and ways to reduce the risk of over-ordering materials.

Cutting plastic

Reducing the amount of single-use plastic on the railway is high on our agenda. You’ll find free water fountains at our managed stations, which we estimate save the equivalent of up to 1,000 plastic bottles at each location a week.

As of September, we estimated passengers had helped save the equivalent of 150,000 plastic bottles from landfill through the introduction of free drinking water fountains since the initiative’s launch in February last year.

Stacked end to end, the bottles would stretch to about 35km - 114 times higher than The Shard, or roughly the distance between Central London and Windsor.

Meanwhile, we’re working with retailers at our stations to end the supply of plastic cutlery and cups across Britain by next year.

Carbon emissions

We’re working hard towards a safer, more reliable railway that contributes towards a thriving low-carbon economy.

We’ve aimed to significantly reduce our carbon dioxide emissions over our current five-year budget and planning period, Control Period 5, which comes to an end this month. In 2017 to 2018, we reduced our CO2 emissions by 6.3 per cent compared with the previous year, with total reductions of 17.5% against the baseline of our previous five-year control period, Control Period 4.

We have launched a range of energy, cost and carbon reduction initiatives across Network Rail. For example, we are working hard to recover energy costs and encourage energy reduction throughout our managed stations.