Dennis Eagle supports Panda’s sustainable success story
There’s a lot said about the circular economy these days and Dennis Eagle customer Panda Waste and its parent company the Beauparc Group clearly illustrate just how this works.
Panda started as a small business providing waste collection and recycling services around Greater Dublin. It soon grew into one of Ireland’s most recognisable brands, acquiring other companies to become the country’s leading commercial and domestic waste management company. And as Panda grew it spotted opportunities and seized them.
Now Beauparc operates landfill-gas-powered generators, producing enough electricity to power 25,000 homes. Another company within the group – Panda Power – sells green energy to homes and businesses, from renewable sources including solar, wind, wave and biogas.
Its recycling operations create refuse-derived fuel (RDF), solid recovered fuel (SRF), recycled fibres for the packaging industry, wood chips for making pallets, composts for agriculture and horticulture and numerous recycled commodities which it sells in China and all over Europe.
Today Beauparc handles 2.1 million tonnes of waste each year in Ireland and the UK. With the help of Dennis Eagle.
Brian Bolger takes up the story. He’s Maintenance Manager of Plant and Fleet for the Beauparc Group and Managing Director of Spanners Ltd, the company Beauparc set up to service its fleet of more than 500 vehicles.
“I joined the business in 2011 and we were already operating Dennis Eagle vehicles,” said Brian.
“Today, all the collection companies within our group use Dennis Eagle vehicles… Panda, Greenstar, Mahon’s, Scotwaste and more… mainly for commercial and domestic waste collections.
“As we have been using Dennis for a long time, our familiarity with the products helps our technicians and crews alike. And our knowledge of the product, with regards to maintaining and servicing, is important in terms of fleet uptime.
“We also have a long and trusted relationship with Dennis Eagle UK and Martin Ryan – their agent here in Ireland. We find their help and knowledge of the waste industry is unrivalled.
“We rely on high level support from the Dennis Eagle factory. The aftermarket support from Robin Turner (General Service Manager, South) and his team in the UK, who I have also built good relationships with, gives me comfort in knowing we have the back-up when required.”
That long-running relationship saw Panda buy 28 complete vehicles in 2018 and order a further 30 for 2019.
“It’s always initially been about price, quality and back-up service for me but in an ever-changing industry our carbon footprint has now become one of our biggest priorities,” explained Brian.
Of course, for waste management companies, reducing carbon-footprints inevitably involves the transition from diesel to cleaner fuels. Dennis Eagle will be launching its first all-electric vehicle in the very near future and, for a company like the Beauparc Group, it seems electric vehicles are the obvious way forward.
“Five years ago, people laughed at the idea of a 26-tonne vehicle being electric yet now it’s becoming reality.
“We have plans to invest heavily in electric trucks and – with Panda Power and our electricity being 100% renewable – we will have a fleet of trucks running totally on renewable energy. It really doesn’t get much better for us in terms of our commitment to lowering our carbon footprint.”
So Beauparc sends trucks to collect waste, recycles it and generates energy from it to fuel more trucks – a beautiful example of the circular economy.
“While electric vehicles are the ultimate choice in terms of emissions, the future will be a variety of natural gas, electric and diesel vehicles, depending on the routes and applications.
“We also have plans to run a portion of our fleet on natural gas from our own anaerobic digestion (AD) plant.
“In 10 years’ time we’ll run a variety of vehicles in the UK and Ireland, perhaps with a fleet size of 600. I envisage the breakdown will be 60% electric, 30% compressed natural gas (CNG) and 10% diesel.”
The clarity with which Beauparc sees the future will raise eyebrows in some quarters but any doubters should look at the breath-taking manner in which they’ve gone about building a sustainable waste and recycling business and got it right.
For Dennis Eagle, the way forward is also clear: Our vehicles helped this happen. We have a “long and trusted relationship” with Beauparc who say our “knowledge of waste collections is unrivalled”. As the industry changes, we clearly have a lot of hard work to do to provide the products and services Beauparc requires. But we’re starting from a pretty good position.