ONE of South Lakeland’s largest employers has managed to reach its target of sending no waste to landfill - two years ahead of schedule.

Only last year GlaxoSmithKline at Ulverston, which makes active pharmaceutical ingredients for antibiotics, disposed of 168 tonnes of waste to landfill.

A plan was then hatched to reduce this by a third each year until 2014.

But thanks to the efforts of all 300 GSK staff and contractors and collaborations with waste management companies and local firms, the company has already achieved its ambition of sending no waste at all to landfill.

Greig Rooney, Ulverston site director, said: “It is a tremendous result and shows what can be done in achieving greater sustainability by being resolutely determined and working in innovative ways with a variety of like-minded agencies.”

Working with on-site waste management partner Veolia Environmental Services, the company has sorted all paper, card and plastic on site for recycling and then sent all waste destined for landfill first to a materials recycling facility, which screens for virtually everything capable of being recycled.

A three-month trial to send all of GSK Ulverston’s non-recyclable waste to a derived fuel technology facility - which converts solid waste into fuel by shredding and dehydrating it - was a success and the site was able to achieve its ambition.

“Hitting zero to landfill is not only environmentally beneficial but it saves on substantial landfill costs, which helps make GSK Ulverston more cost-effective overall,” said Mr Rooney. “Work is continuing to find ways to further reduce recycling costs and of strengthening local community partnerships.”