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Murphy Group: Waste to Wealth

A stimulus to reduce cost and tonnes of waste disposed of, and increase recycling

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  • What we know
  • What we’re doing
  • What it’s worth

What we know

Protecting the environment is integral to Murphy Group’s 2026 strategy.

It is committed to undertaking works in an environmentally responsible manner, building more resilient infrastructure and more durable, low-carbon assets. It works with its supply chain and clients to minimise landfill waste, material, and water use, and to increase recycling and reuse and trial new products with high-recycled content.   

The company realised they needed to change their relationship with the resources they use, and the way they manage waste, to help restore the health of our environment, support and encourage biodiversity, and help to avoid catastrophic climate change.

It recognised that there was more that they could do.

What we’re doing

In 2020, in conjunction with Business in the Community (BITC), Murphy launched their own ‘Waste to Wealth’ – a campaign designed to drive commitment and action across the Group. The aim of the campaign was to not only minimise waste in the first instance but to go further to add environmental, community, and social value.

It started with setting stretch targets linked to performance related bonuses, encouraging all areas of the business to take action to create value from what would normally be wasted.

The Waste to Wealth statement outlined a clear ambition to create linkages between environmental and commercial performance to achieve: 

  • Zero to Landfill by 2025
  • 100% recycling of office waste
  • Removing unnecessary single-use plastic.

The company set up a team called Murphy Waste to support their projects and teams to design ways to minimise waste, track progress, and consolidated procurement routes.

They engaged their workforce and supply chain to crowdsource ideas and actions. Examples of ideas generated ranged from office recycling efficiencies to PPE reuse, aggregate recycling, and reuse, and innovative solutions for contaminated land.

Murphy Group committed to more than 50 actions, including:

Harbury: tipping up on top soil

Murphy completed major works to stabilise a 24,000m2 railway cutting at Harbury, Warwickshire for Network Rail. The works included removing 120,000 tonnes of spoil to accommodate the reprofiling of the railway cutting.

They collaborated with Ecofficiency, a waste broker, to give the soil to Bishop Bowl Fishery, which imports inert/soil materials to create a series of relatively shallow water bodies to enhance areas of higher ecological value.

For example, in larger lakes, a series of offshore sunken islands provide shallow habitat for wading birds and nursery fish.

The move of spoil from Harbury Cutting to Bishop Bowl Fishery – 1.9 miles – took over four months and 6,000 lorry movements. The alternative option was a waste facility in the centre of the Coventry area, 24 miles away.

From an environmental perspective, the initiative saved an estimated 279,844kg CO2.

Other actions include:

 

Rochdale 4 AGI: removal by design

In May 2020, the Rochdale 4 AGI (Above Ground Installations) project identified more contaminated groundwater at the site than initially thought.

In the past, this type of water had to be removed by a tanker for disposal at a licensed waste disposal facility. Fortunately, a better solution was found – a filtration system supplied by Hydrotec, eliminating the need for removing from the site any contaminated water.

This system cleans the water, and they then discharge this to sewer works. At an average of 110,653 litres per week over a 49-week programme, this saved seven tankers each week at £1,795 per tanker.

Skerries: wastes water

For another project, involving repair works on Sequence Batch Reactors (SBRs) in Skerries, Murphy Ireland used a new mobile separator for wastewater to separate the water from the waste and reduce the quantity of waste being sent from the site.

Using this process instead of the old method reduced waste from the job from 400 tonnes to 19.5 tonnes. Other advantages included fewer vehicle movements and a lower carbon footprint.

Materials exchange portal

Murphy recognised the need for a circular economy in its own backyard and designed an in-house eBay-style online marketplace called Click Shift.

Excess material, items suitable for reuse, or surplus resources, can be logged onto the portal. Items range from office chairs to fencing, aggregates, and sheet piles. Another project or team can then take these for no charge to either use themselves or donate to local community groups.

Click Shift has increased the diversion of such items from landfills, reduced the need for virgin materials, and generated an estimated saving of over £65,000.

Plant Building image

What it’s worth

In one year, Murphy’s own Waste to Wealth campaign achieved savings above £850,000 value add and diverted over 100,000 tonnes from waste disposal routes on projects all over the UK and Ireland – with much of the value going back to clients, or local communities.

In addition, Murphy Group achieved:

  • 99% diversion from landfill (including hazardous waste)
  • 100% plastic recycling for the first time
  • 100% office generated waste recycled (including food waste)
  • Over 30 community projects have benefited from the Waste to Wealth campaign – including supporting sea defences in Norfolk, reuse of cable drums in Triton Knoll, and timber waste converted to animal bedding which diverted 98% of wood waste from incineration and into reuse.

The company is also reaping the positive link between environmental and financial benefits for all key stakeholders in a project, including clients, employees, landowners, communities, and local charities.

Testimonial

Our purpose is to improve life by delivering world class infrastructure. So, we are proud of our teams who collaborated to create nature positive solutions for the environment, our clients, and the communities we work in. Delivering in a way that is respectful and innovative has also given all of us a great sense of satisfaction in our work and has noticeably improved our cost base – a win-win for everyone involved.

John Kinirons Group Director SHES Strategy & Comms, Murphy Group

Get involved

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