Fourdot Affinity Ltd is committed to the protection of the environment and to the prevention of pollution. These requirements are an integral part of every decision we make. We believe in a responsible approach to product development, manufacturing and supply; by offering alternative materials like recycled acrylic, reduced energy consumption through better working practices, alternative packaging solutions and our ongoing commitment to recycling.
At Fourdot Affinity Ltd we feel this confirms our company’s commitment to continuous improvement in managing environmental issues, including the proper management and monitoring of waste, the reduction of pollution, compliance with environmental legislation and environmental codes of practice, training for staff and the ongoing monitoring of environmental performance.
We use the waste hierarchy to guide our decision making and support current thinking across the business. “Many businesses are unaware of how significantly waste impacts on their bottom line. As the demand for materials grows worldwide, raising input costs, it makes sense for businesses to adopt the waste hierarchy” (GOV UK 2011)
GOV UK 2011
Waste prevention is the most sustainable and highly pushed form of waste management as it minimises the generation of waste product right from the offset. It often results in the least environmental and economical life cycle costs.
The re-use of waste is next on the list and refers to the continued use of items for which they were initally intended. Often this involves minimal processing – checking , cleaning, repairing and/ or refurbishing entrie products or parts.
Recycling takes the next priority and refers to the collection of used, reused or unused items, otherwise considered waste and turning them back into raw materials, ready to be used for another product.
The recovery of waste is split into 2 categories; minerals & energy. The better of the two options (for the environment & cost) is considered before either minerals and energy from the waste is extracted.
Disposal of waste is the least favourable option, and should be thought of as a last resort in sorting of waste. Disposal such as landfill should only be considered once all other options have been explored and dismissed.
Through the initial design phase, we look at innovative ways to design out the need for packaging. Our products are designed to last, products are rigorously tested, and we learn and reflect from past projects.
Currently in the despatch area we have bins for good quality packaging like bubble wrap. This is then re-used in packaging of other products and re-used as void fill this enables up to 7.68 cubic meters of dry mixed recyclates to be re-used before eventually being recycled, thus underpinning the waste hierarchy.
We use a national company to support our recycling needs. The depot is local to our site. To minimise their carbon footprint, they do multiple lifts on the same day on the industrial estate.
Currently we recycle 31% of our total waste. We are looking to improve this to 41% by 2021. Read, ‘Our Green Plan 2021’ to see how we will be implementing to achieve this outcome.
We send our post-production acrylic to a specialist plastic recycling initiative at Amari Plastics PLC and have done for over 10 years; the initiative offers a fully closed loop service. Recycled Plastics at Amari Plastics PLC process our post-production acrylic and return it to Madreperla in Italy for manufacturing into new sheets. These new sheets are called Green Cast ®, Green Cast ® uses less water and CO2 to manufacture than virgin sheet production- data available upon request. Last year we recycled 25 tonnes of post-production waste. This means we diverted 25 tonnes of acrylic from ending up in landfill. We have made Green Cast ® available to our customers on our website.
GreenCast- Cast acrylic sheets 100% recycled & recyclable
Collecting PMMA products at the end of their life and PMMA waste
Depolymerisation process, molecular chains are broken through heating process. PMMA scraps are brought back into a liquid state
Distillation: impurities are separated obtaining the original solvent
R-MMA; Recycled Methyl Methacrylate Monomer
In October 2019 we increased our weekly recycling by offering every workspace in both the factory and office a dry mixed recycling point. Due to the significant uptake in recycling we were able to decrease our general waste collections from weekly to fortnightly. Currently our general waste is sent to a local waste to energy plant.
Currently 1% of our waste is sent to deep landfill. It comes under the category of non-medical hazardous waste. We use a local company Devon Contract Waste to handle this waste and we are searching for a more sustainable production method to try and eliminate this from our waste and our working process.
We train all our employees in how to sort their waste so we can maximise the amount we recycle. We hold quarterly meetings with the ‘Green Committee’ to talk about how we can minimise our environmental impact. We ask that our employees wherever possible look to car share to minimise our carbon footprint.
A current survey revealed that 54% of employees drive to work on their own, 34% car share, 4% use public transport, 1% ride a bike or motorcycle and 2% get dropped off or walk to work. We are currently making more staff aware of the benefits of car sharing to try and increase our current rate of car sharing through a number of different strategies: –
Helping connect people at work with a car sharing board displayed in the canteen, employees can note their current location for a pick up or drop off to make other drivers aware that they would like to reduce their costs and carbon footprint by sharing the journey to work. We have also made staff aware of the local scheme www.carsharedevon.com
We’re committed to green office initiatives and recycling. We currently have dry mixed recycling points all around the office. We have ink cartridge recycling points in office spaces and all confidential waste is now shredded by a national company and then sent to be recycled. To enable employees to re-use we now offer misprints in a tray that can be reprinted saving paper.
We supply washable cups to drink from and paper cups for the water cooler. When ordering food onsite we use a local company to supply our catering, all packaging they supply is 100% compostable. As part of ‘Our Green Plan 2021’ we are looking to update our photocopying software so that we can reduce the amount of copying and a new infographic has been introduced to every photocopying unit.
We strive to minimise waste by evaluating operations and ensuring they are as efficient as possible. All post-production waste is sorted and is either sent to be reused, sent to local colleges to re-use or stored for collection through a plastic recovery initiative from a national company.
We believe in supporting local suppliers, which is why we look to source raw materials and packaging from the UK and Europe wherever possible. We also design and manufacture 88% of products onsite in Devon. We source 4% of products for resale from Europe and 8% from the rest of the world.
All of our computers have built in energy saving features that can reduce the amount of energy consumed. We will also be looking at changing energy suppliers in October 2020 to a supplier who sources their energy from wind, solar and hydro.
In our ‘Green plan 2021’ we plan to look at changing our current lighting system in the offices to LED light panelling. We have already upgraded our office toilets to LED lighting and some parts of the factory already have panels installed. Over the next couple of years, we want to roll out LED panels across the whole building. Natural lighting is always encouraged on brighter days.
We have a new canteen area where we provide fridges, microwaves and facilities for our employees to bring in food from home, thus promoting re-using and not buying food with lots of packaging. We have signed up for our food waste now to be taken away through a local company that has a local plant, to take away all of our food waste. This would mean that food waste would go to anaerobic digestion centre or ‘food to energy’. This will start in May 2020.
We are optimistic that we can make positive changes in our business to underpin the ‘waste hierarchy’ and help protect the future of our planet. We are working hard to reduce, reuse and recycle across our site in Devon. Updates on our development can be found on our website.
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