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Businesses Doing More to Recycle

The world is arguably in a state of emergency when it comes to the environment, so businesses need to do all they can. Genevieve Lewis asks: "How can companies get involved with recycling efforts?"

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Luke Martyn, marketing manager, Perspex Distribution

Rigid recycling

The UK print and signage sector has quite rightly faced pressure around its recycling efforts. Within rigid substrates, the intent and enthusiasm to recycle is there – all waste materials at Perspex Distribution (PDL) for example are either reused as samples or separated and collected for recycling.
UK recycling of rigid substrates in our industry is largely dictated by global demand for granulated plastics by countries outside of Europe.  With a lack of processing plants for granulated recycled waste in the UK, cyclical worldwide demands have meant a once buoyant recycling industry is currently left with fewer companies collecting waste and reduced value for the waste stream.

The UK print and signage sector has quite rightly faced pressure around its recycling efforts

All is not lost however, and the good news is that the UK still has an innovative substrate manufacturing base keen to support the improvement of recycling efforts through technology and investment.  PDL has a longstanding partnership with Multipanel UK, the manufacturers of Alupanel aluminium composite sheets (ACM). Not only are Multipanel the only UK producer of ACM sheets, but they have recently invested £3m to build an onsite recycling centre at their production site in Dover. Alupanel sheets purchased from PDL already contain an LDPE recycled core. Multipanel are ultimately aiming to produce 80% of their LDPE requirements from their own recycling centre.

PDL offer a unique range of UK produced substrates to the industry with PVC Foam, Polycarbonate and Perspex acrylic all manufactured locally. It is probably not widely known that all our materials contain a proportion of recycled material and as such we can still offer products such as PVC Foam with up to 50% recycled content.

Be involved

Drinkwater, managing director, Applelec

Businesses should be actively involved in recycling to help reduce their impact on the environment. These procedures should be reviewed regularly to determine any areas that may require attention and help highlight improvements required for current processes.

One of the first stages to guarantee thorough recycling procedures are undertaken is to establish an environmental management system. The framework for this can be extensive, including company objectives, targets, monitoring and measurements, staff training, performance records and regular audits, of which are hugely beneficial to businesses, giving insights into the effectiveness of current steps.

These systems are most successful when undertaken by a dedicated body of people such as an environmental committee, to ensure all recycling and eco issues are being dealt with in the correct and most cost effective way for your business. This principle has led to the inception of Applelec’s own internal Carbon Footprint Committee, which investigates areas for continual improvements in all aspects of our business to minimise our impact on the environment.

Along with recycling, companies can look at ways to be more environmentally friendly

Recycling should be a company wide effort, with a focus on materials used for manufacturing such as aluminium, stainless steel and acrylic, to the day-to-day items which may include paper, cardboard, plastics and wood.

Initiatives such as double-sided printing or reusing paper where possible might seem like an insignificant change, but collectively can have a considerable impact. This is something Applelec has seen, where in just four months of applying this procedure within our offices, we have saved 64 reams of paper, equating to a total of 32,000 sheets of standard thickness paper, which highlights how small changes can make an impressive difference.

Along with recycling, companies can look at ways to be more environmentally friendly. We’ve undertaken a packaging audit to investigate opportunities to use more ecological packaging such as 100% biodegradable loose fill chips and pallet wrapping, as well as eco-friendly bubble wrap and packaging tape.

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