Those who know us will know that ecology is one of our core principles, we have green datacentres, make significant use of renewable energy and of course our fleet is electric, but we can do more. Plastic waste is a global problem and will be a crisis for the coming generations, so we took a close look at all business area's to see if we could reduce our plastic waste.
One of the key area's of plastic waste is packaging. We've switched from bubble wrap and polystyrine packaging to recycled shredded cardboard, and we've increased our box sizes from 4 to 11 so we can better fit the goods into the most economical container. We no longer have our logo's printed on any of our packaging, allowing customers to re-use it, and our use of plastic tape has been reduced significantly through the use a paper based ecological and degradeable product. We've been working to source an ecological courier but have yet to locate one that has a realistic commitment.
We have aquired additional waste bins and have reduced the frequency of collections by half to reduce the impact of transporting our waste. We already actively recycle our electronic waste, but we've increased the level of recycling in our offices by adding special bins for paper/cardboard waste which are collected weekly and all staff have been briefed on their use. Our remaining use of plastics, which is limited to various containers are now actively recycled in special bins and of course our use of metal containers are already recycled. We have audited our contracted waste handlers to ensure they are fullfilling their obligations to recycle our waste and will continue to revisit this annually. For filaments and other plastics used by our service team to produce replacement parts for obsolete equipment, we now recycle the waste from these machines to be turned back into filament and for this purpose the various plastics are separated into different waste bins.
Our systems are now entirely paperless and we have removed a number of printers from the business and established quotas on the remaining to further encorage our staff to adopt a paperless environment.
- Our invoices, statements, quotes, sales orders and purchase orders are all sent electronically and have been since 2008.
- We now only accept electronic forms of payment, card, bacs etc so as to reduce the disporportionate waste generated by cheques.
- We demand that our suppliers no longer send us 'paper' invoices, quotes, etc and where a supplier with refuses or is unable to do so we discontinue using them. Whilst this approach has been somewhat painful we believe that it may promote business change and is therefore a positive step.
- As of 2010 we no longer produce paper contracts instead relying on our systems to authenticate and incorporate our terms and conditions into customer relationships.
Single use Plastics
We visited every department looking for single use plastics and working to replace them with recycleable alternatives.
- Plastic Cups - We use 100% recycleable paper cups.
- Plastic Straws - We have none.
- Vending Machines - Removed.
- Drinks Machines - 100% now using paper cups and wood stirers.
- Cotton Buds - Switched to wooden.
- Cleaning - Switched from Aerosol to pump wherever possible and switched to ecologically friendly chemicals.
Whilst we are not large enough to be able to dictate packaging to our supply chain, we have noticed that many are already taking steps to reduce the volume of plastic used in packaging and we hope this trend will improve over time. All the packaging that is supplied is either re-used or recycled and we waste nothing.
Government, Schemes and Charities
There are a number of government and third party schemes and commitments, but in reality schemes are not going to change the world. Our country already has a minor impact on the word polution stage and our own waste footprint pales into insigificance when compared to other countries and industries, but we hope our efforts could be a catalyst for suppliers, contractors, and even competitors to take a look and their waste and ecological footprint and maybe effect a change for the better.