First Mile

Company information

First port of call

The core aim of First Mile is to make recycling easy for businesses and, in the process, to inspire the business community to adopt a more responsible attitude to environmental issues. It is proving to be fertile ground for growth. Last year, the company collected more than 30,000 tonnes of waste for recycling from businesses in London and Birmingham.

"Choosing to recycle is often the first step to sustainability that businesses take," says Founder and Chief Executive Bruce Bratley. "By making recycling as accessible as possible, we not only help to improve the planet, but we can also raise awareness of the shocking environmental issues, such as single-use plastics being dumped in our oceans."

The company tries to lead by example and, last year, rolled out zero-emission bicycle deliveries, as well as electric and Euro 6 emissions-standard vehicles (the most stringent European standard for light commercial vehicles) to reduce its emissions output. First Mile is understandably proud of the fact that its entire fleet of 67 vehicles produces less harmful carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions than a single old London Routemaster bus.

The company’s approach to the environment is not a sentimental one, though, – it is one that makes business sense. "Recycling properly is cheaper for businesses," says Bruce. "We have helped customers through tough economic conditions by making recycling easier than ever, so they can do more and reduce costs."

This strong business case, combined with the rising awareness of environmental issues, means the company is looking forward to a period of what it hopes will be strong growth. "In the next five years, the business aims to triple its number of employees," predicts Bruce. "On average and to date, we have added 30 new customers a day and 70% come via word of mouth. We will also be continuing to develop our technology to build a robust platform that will be the foundation to expand our service to businesses nationally."