When it comes to recycling, plastic does not have a very green image in the UK but one Midland’s manufacturer is determined to change public perceptions and lead the way when it comes to reducing waste and increasing recycling in the plastics sector – and their commitment was inspired by a trip to Marks and Spencer! Wrights Plastics are based in West Bromwich and have been a leading acrylic manufacturer since 1969 supplying plastic components to a wide variety of industries as well as retail display and POS to retailers and retail design agencies.
When it comes to plastic recycling the UK is one of Europe’s worst offenders. The UK was ranked a lowly 23rd out of 27 countries for the amount of packaging recovered. The UK is one of just six EU countries that send over 2/3 of its plastic waste to landfill. If the objective of zero plastics to landfill by 2020 is to be achieved significant improvements need to be made in both recycling rates and the volume of plastics used for energy recovery.
Wrights Plastics MD Mike Wright said this week “It was an invite as a trusted supplier to a Marks and Spencer environmental conference in 2011 that inspired us to develop a radical plan to reduce the environmental impact of the products we produce by changing the materials and processes used to create those products as well as to reduce waste, energy consumption and improve our levels of recycling. The journey will be a long one for us but we are pleased we have already reached some major targets.”
Notable achievements to date include:
• Improved segregation and recycling of waste within the business resulting in 30 tonnes of waste has been diverted from landfill in the past three years.
• Recycled foam now used in a number of products and specified wherever possible.
• 100% recycled material now used for products supplied to Land Rover.
• Accreditation to the Forest Stewardship Council standards which promotes responsible management of the world’s forests.
• Installation of new energy efficient production equipment and lighting that will reduce the emission of CO2 by 17 tonnes per annum.
• 40 tonnes of scrap material sent for recycling in the past year – mostly Acrylic but also includes HDPE / ABS / PETG / Styrene / Nylon
Mike continued “As part of our environmental journey it has become clear that improving awareness of environmental issues and then taking positive actions to try and address these issues makes good business sense as well as being good for the environment. Customers and consumers want to know that the products they are buying are produced as responsibly as possible and by doing this companies can make themselves the suppliers of choice too many more customers. If every company within the industry was willing to take a similar approach then the UK would not be so low in the international tables and significant reductions in landfill could be achieved.”