We spent five minutes with Rachel Williams, Strategic Regeneration Framework Officer at Biffa, to find out all about the Biffa Beekeepers and how they care for the environment.
Tell us a bit about Biffa. What do you do?
We’re a leading UK integrated waste management firm responsible for keeping the streets of Manchester clean and tidy. We collect waste and recyclables from 609,000 bins across the city each week! My role is to increase recycling rates and promote waste minimisation to residents in Manchester through community engagement and workshops in schools.
Who are the Biffa Beekeepers?
We’ve been given the prestigious title of Beekeepers for the 9 weeks of the Bee in the City trail. The Biffa crews work incredibly hard cleaning and sweeping throughout the city 24/7. They are the eyes and ears on the ground looking out for the beautiful Bee sculptures and making sure they don’t come to any harm. We carry out repairs if any of the Bees get damaged and make sure that they’re always looking their best for the public.
Which is your favourite Bee?
All of the Bees look incredible, but our Steam-Powered Bee has to be my favourite! I met up with our artist Karis a few times during the creation of our Bee. I saw each stage of painting the Bee and how much hard work and time went into creating him. Karis should be incredibly proud of her work, she has done an amazing job!
Do you think it’s important that we look after real bees?
It’s hugely important. Bees are some of the most hardworking creatures on the planet but are often underappreciated! They have a vital role to play so we need to ensure they are protected, and of course encourage bee-friendly activity and planting all around the city.
How does Biffa care for the environment?
We do a lot at Biffa to care for the environment. One of our biggest environmental initiatives is our National Biffa Award, which give grants to fantastic environmental projects across the UK. We recently awarded £400,000 to The Woodland Trust which will allow them to plant 130,000 trees in historic woodland on the Smithills Estate in Bolton, creating connecting corridors for wildlife.
We also do a lot of work in the city to increase recycling rates, which is incredibly important for the environment. We attend community events and deliver workshops to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle. We’re currently trialling electric vehicles to reduce emissions, including some of our refuse collection vehicles and road sweepers.