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Case Study – The Original Factory Shop



The Original Factory Shop (Tofs) is a discount department store headquartered in Burnley, Lancs, with a chain of 219 stores across the UK and two regional hubs in Bristol and Milton Keynes. Tofs identified a need to improve its total waste management processes to reduce costs, increase recycling value and improve the company’s sustainability.


Tofs issued invitations to tender to deliver a number of objectives including:

  • become cost neutral (where value gained from recycling is greater than the cost/operation to remove);
  • achieve Zero to Landfill;
  • reduce the firm’s carbon footprint;
  • embed the ethos of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle and recover’ at every level of the organisation.

Tofs’ extensive UK coverage presents a challenge for waste providers to meet the varied needs of each site type (store, hub, distribution centre, head office) but also regional variations including site size, storage space, and employee engagement. NRC was awarded the Tofs contract to service all 223 sites with a fully bespoke approach that would meet local needs while providing the centralised management to ensure Tofs’ organisational objectives were met.


NRC mobilised its members to complete detailed site audits in order to evaluate incumbent systems, understand how staff utilised them, and identify opportunities to introduce efficiencies. Based on this comprehensive exercise, NRC designed a new approach to unify and streamline Tofs’ waste handling and defined an onboarding process to meet the operational needs of the stores, distribution centres and head office.

NRC proposed to deliver significant cost savings by eliminating underused baling equipment, maximising materials recovery, and reducing general waste output. NRC designed a total back haul solution to transfer all materials to the distribution centres, where handling systems were introduced to improve recycling and waste segregation, capture more waste streams, and maximise the capture and value of cardboard and plastic waste.

All stores were provided with collection bins suitable for their materials, volume and space constraints at reduced cost to the client. A new head office recycling system was implemented and all desk bins removed to maximise waste separation.

NRC provided dedicated management support throughout the onboarding process including: preparing detailed staff communications; delivering management briefing sessions; and conducting regular follow-up site visits to support mobilisation of the new service schedule.

Each Tofs site was visited within the first contract year to review uptake of the new system, provide additional communications and training, and identify further improvements.

Compliance is routinely measured and an opportunities log maintained within the Account Management Plan to ensure further improvement is continually targeted. Where issues are identified, targeted interventions are offered at the earliest opportunity.


  • Reduced general waste cost by 40%
  • Achieved Zero to Landfill from commencement with 80% recycling and 20% recovery
  • Forecasted to reduce costs by £80,000pa by removing underused equipment
  • Increased value of cardboard by £88,000 due to volume and quality improvement
  • Increased value of poly by £27,000 from increased volumes and quality improvements
  • Increased the value of metal by £20,000 due to improved system management
  • Delivered further savings of £53,000 from improved efficiency and segregation systems

By maximising Tofs’ own capabilities and matching waste handling processes to each site’s needs, NRC reduced the client’s costs while maximising recycling and reducing general waste. Ongoing local intervention ensures that benefits are sustained and improvements are achieved.

Delivered by the leading independent providers in each of Tofs’ regions, every site receives a responsive service while account management by NRC provides Tofs with a standardised commercial platform, a single point of contact, and assurance of consistency across its national service delivery.


“We appointed NRC based on their capability to provide our national network of sites with a completely bespoke service. Each of our stores, for example, has a different footprint and different access restrictions and an off-the-shelf service simply wouldn’t deliver the improvements we’re targeting. NRC fully grasped our needs and designed a solution to suit our business that has delivered dramatic improvements above and beyond what was initially expected. The fact that we deal with a dedicated compliance and recycling contract manager at NRC while receiving expert service from some of the UK’s leading regional waste and recycling management suppliers gives us the best of both worlds and we’re delighted with the results.”

Mike Benson, Head of Logistics

For more information about NRC’s services and expertise, contact NRC on or 0845 299 6292.