We take our responsibilities for managing the waste that we create, and dealing with the incoming packaging from our suppliers very seriously.
Over the last few years we have been working towards a target of zero to landfill, and to that end have made huge strides forward.
As well as taking care of the waste we deal with, we appreciate that as with any printing company, we deal with inks, fluid cleaners and the like. These too have been part of our ‘clean up’ policy, and are detailed below too:
Internal material offcuts, packaging and general waste.
In years gone by, it was common policy in most businesses to simply throw any waste, rubbish or surplus into the bin or skip. All mixed together, this ‘rubbish’ was simply taken away, and that was the end of it…
Around 6 years ago, we decided that we could change this practice with several huge benefits:
We discovered that if separated, our material offcuts, cards, plastics etc actually had a value to recyclers. Not only were we throwing away a perfectly re-usable and semi valuable material, but we were also paying to have it taken away as ‘rubbish’!
Furthermore, our factory was strewn with odds and ends of trimmings of cards, papers and plastics…saved in the hope that they would be of use some day, but just ended up gathering dust, before being thrown way further down the line.
The solution: install rows of labelled ‘sorting bins’ throughout the factory where the waste was being created, empty these into larger ‘sorted cages’ when they were full…ready for collection by the recyclers.
The best part for the Production team was that any payments received for the sorted recycling were put into a pot, for division between themselves. This in turn meant that we had a much tidier workspace, as all offcuts, cardboard, packaging etc were seen as having a bit of value!
Our use of skips virtually disappeared, and the majority of our trade wheelie bins were returned to the Council, for use elsewhere.
Latterly, our remaining weekly waste is taken to North Yorkshire County Council’s newly commissioned Allerton Waste Recovery Park which separates waste for turning into energy to power homes.
Recycling of Timber delivery pallets
All of our incoming delivery pallets are graded for size and reusability.
Our main material suppliers save costs by collecting and reusing their chosen sized pallets. Suitable sizes for our own deliveries are kept for re-use. Remaining spare pallets are offered free for collection to local residents who put them to 101 different end uses from fencing to carpentry, as well as kindling.
All of the machine cleaning cloths that we use in the printing works are reused until being returned to the supplier for washing, drying and rebagging, ready to be returned for use again.
This closed loop means that no dirty rags ever enter the waste stream
Large empty ink cans used to be thrown away as general rubbish.
Several years ago saw the delivery of our can crusher that turns them into a space saving flat squashed disk. The crushed cans are collected in bulk before being taken for metal recycling.
Like all businesses, we receive a lot of packaging from our suppliers, from bubble wrap, to polystyrene chips, cling film etc etc.
Once seen as rubbish, all of this material is now collected in cages, and reused in our Packing department as infill into boxes, tubes, pallets etc.
The reed bed
Having read about reed beds being used as water filtration, we planted a special variety of water filtering reed into our landscaping pond, into which our building gutter water and car park run off water goes (via a petrol interceptor machine)
Not only have the reeds taken beautifully, but are now the home to various species of songbirds and recently a family of ducks that seem to like living in the shelter that the tall reeds have created.
By taking the time, and only a small monetary cost, we have transformed how ‘waste’ is seen and dealt with at Screenprint & Display. We see ourselves as a sustainable business, and will keep looking for further ways to lessen our impact on the environment.