Sustainable District

Bedford House & ISL


One of the core themes driving the work of Linen Quarter BID is ‘Clean and Sustainable’, focusing on making our district more environmentally friendly, and transforming attitudes and behaviours. A key feature of our business plan is promoting sustainable waste management, which is why in 2018, ISL was named as Linen Quarter BID’s preferred supplier for waste solutions.

ISL is a recycler with a clear vision and aim for zero waste. Their bespoke service and flexible collection times ensure that businesses can tailor a system that suits their needs, is cost-effective and minimises waste.

This approach strongly resonates with our ambition for a circular economy and we are keen for LQ businesses to explore how ISL can make their organisation more sustainable. The recent partnership between ISL and Bedford House provides a useful case study in how companies can change their practices and become more environmentally aware.

Situated in the heart of Belfast’s Central Business District, Bedford House boasts a state-of-the-art office space, slick espresso bar Franklin and James, high-end gym and a vibrant reception area. It is home to impressive client portfolio, including Arup and McCadden Creative.

Waste management has become an integral feature in Bedford House’s wider agenda to promote sustainable practices and encourage organisations to become more environmentally aware.

Bedford House partnered with ISL in Summer 2019, having previously used the Council for their waste management solutions. Refuse was separated simply into cardboard and general waste, with substantial amounts destined for landfill.

One of the challenges for Bedford House’s management was ensuring that the new waste management practices were communicated effectively to their clients. In addition, each tenant commissions its own cleaning company, so collaborating and implementing this vision to ensure ‘buy-in’ at all levels was key.

ISL helped to streamline this process, by facilitating extensive consultation, as well as working with Bedford House to provide accessible, user-friendly information, ensuring engagement and responsiveness.

Fast-forward several months, and Bedford House now has a central waste management area which accommodates dry-mix recyclables, general waste and food waste. Previously, much of this was going to landfill, but now Bedford House organisations are recycling around 75% of their waste, with a clear focus on continuous improvement.

It doesn’t stop there though. General Manager Gareth McMurray is keen to stress that this is just the beginning and Bedford House will continue to build on its efforts. Environmental reports will measure the success of this new initiative, and Bedford House will continue with their open and collaborative approach.

Companies such Arup are also focusing on environmental initiatives. In September 2019, staff collected plastic bottle tops as part of Recycling Week. Bangor artist Brendan Jamison was commissioned to create a portrait of Ove Arup, entirely out of these bottle tops. Such visuals serve as a reminder of the company’s vision but are also a useful way of repurposing single-use plastics. The portrait also includes a powerful quote from Ove Arup, which has never been more relevant.

“We must look beyond the narrow object and ask ourselves: What would happen if everybody else did what we do. Would that serve humanity?”
“Much has been destroyed already…but the alarm has sounded…The battle is on, and it is a crucial battle for mankind” – Ove Arup.

Future efforts for Bedford House will include a focus on local charities, minimising food waste through repurposing, and support for local businesses, as well as more themed visuals throughout the building.

The overriding aim of this is to challenge current habits and change them for the better. ISL provide useful and practical advice that all businesses can adopt to be more sustainable and environmentally aware. They also provide a useful online portal for their clients and will devise a customised collection schedule to meet the needs of businesses. Bedford House and other Linen Quarter businesses have found this bespoke, client-focused approach beneficial in streamlining their processes and adopting more sustainable practices.

To find out how ISL can benefit your organisation, visit: