Not all plastic is created equal
Sustainability – it’s been the big buzzword over the last few years. No matter what industry you’re in, everyone is increasingly aware of its importance. And with heightened media attention surrounding the undeniable problems with plastic waste, the temptation to scapegoat all plastic as an irredeemable environmental ill, is for many, all too natural.
But a simplistic view of all plastic as environmentally damaging, is not only misguided, it can end up causing more environmental harm than good. Plastic does, after all, offer a huge number of benefits. Its durability and light weight make it ideal for a huge range of applications from food packaging, to construction materials.
And not all plastic is created equal. The production process matters, and at Brett Martin we have a number of objectives, in order to minimise the impact that our production process and finished products have on the environment.
- Reduce consumption of energy and materials
- Use electricity from renewable energy sources
- Ensure all recyclable waste materials are recycled
- Promote sound environmental practices to our employees, suppliers, partners and customers
Manufacturing thermoplastics requires significant amounts of energy to produce the heat essential for the extrusion process. We can’t avoid this, but what we can do, is ensure that as much of this energy as possible comes from renewable sources.
Following a period of sustained investment, our Northern Ireland site has now converted 50% of our energy intake to sustainable sources.
Situated on a hillside above Mallusk, near Belfast, our 6.42MWp solar installation feeds directly into our manufacturing site. This produces enough clean solar energy to power the equivalent of over 1,600 homes, and saves us 3,700 tonnes of carbon emission a year. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,800 cars off the road.
Then there’s our on-site wind turbine. Particularly productive in the winter months, when the solar farm is least active – it ensures a reliable year-round supply of renewable energy.
Additionally, we maintain high product yields and efficient materials handling to minimise waste, all packaging we use is 100% recyclable, and our vehicles are being converted to hybrid or electric where possible.
Foamalux Light Bio is Brett Martin’s newest sustainable semi-finished plastic sheet. The low carbon high quality substrate is made with 25% bi-attributed PVC derived from wood-based residue, originating from the sustainable forestry industry. This process, alongside 100% renewable energy-powered production, reduces carbon emissions in the finished sheet by 20% and provides a fantastic solution to brands who seek to meet sustainability objectives.
Furthermore, Brett Martin’s Marlon BioPlus is a significant step towards a carbon neutral polycarbonate sheet. By switching from fossil-based PC to resins certified as being produced from 71% bio-circular attributed material via mass balancing, we can offer polycarbonate sheets with dramatically reduced impact on the environment.
Additionally, we eliminate waste to landfill by reusing our own production waste in the manufacturing of our Eco range of products, containing 80% reclaimed content, 100% optimised for printing.
Our products are suitable for medium to long term use – months, years, even decades and all of our products can be recycled at end of life through mechanical, chemical or energy recovery methods.
Our journey continues
From product development to the end of life, we strive to minimise the impact of all our products on our planet. We will continue to improve our sustainability and reduce our environmental impact, in different areas of our processes and products. Watch this space!To find out more visit https://www.brettmartin.com/environmental-commitment
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