Saturday, 16 December 2017

ALM Manufacturing Environmental PolicyIn 1996 ALM Manufacturing embarked on a project to continuously reduce the environmental impact of our business, including the sourcing of raw materials, production, packaging, and disposal after 'useful life' of our entire product range.

A full review of our policies and those of our major suppliers was carried out at that time to ascertain the full environmental impact.

Following this review, attention was drawn to the major product groups and their life cycles and this revealed a necessary focus on four areas:

- Plastics use in product
- Plastics use in packaging
- Paper use in packaging
- Cardboard use


Plastics use in product

The major product ranges manufactured by ALM Manufacturing are plastic lawnmower blades and grass trimmer spools and line.

These are injection-moulded from reconstituted impact-modified Nylon-66 and consist of 100% recycled material sourced from licensed polymer reclaimers. All raw materials for moulding are covered by Certificates of Conformity.

The injection moulding machines used are as efficient as current technology permits; during 1996, an energy consultancy was employed to review energy usage, and as a result 'powerfactor correction' was installed, ensuring maximum energy efficiency by industry standards.

All injection tooling is designed for maximum efficiency with a minimum of waste; all waste plastics are returned to polymer reclaimers for recycling.


The remains of our products after 'useful life' are recyclable and the recycling symbol has been moulded into the products along with the polymer identification code to encourage consumer recycling.

 


ALM Manufacturing RPETPlastics use in packaging

In 1996 ALM Manufacturing embarked on a programme to move all products away from the non-recyclable 'skinboard' style packaging, and for 1997 we introduced the 60% recycled semi-rigid high impact PVC clam-pack style pack, which was fully recyclable.

Whilst the purchase of new moulding tools and plates meant the initial set-up costs were high, the increased cost of the pack was balanced by reduced energy use and other environmental benefits.

This move away from 'skinboard' meant we no longer required the use of 3-phase electricity for our machinery, as the clam-pack requires no machinery to seal. The result was a significant energy saving.

The benfits of the clam-pack are:

- Improved clarity, enabling consumers to clearly identify the parts they require
- Reduced risk of waste through incorrect purchase (the clam is re-sealable by the consumer)
- Increased shelf life of the product (reducing waste caused by damaged packaging)
- Reduced waste, as offcuts are recycled at the point of manufacture
- No waste created during the packing stage
- The pack is fully recyclable

Not a company to rest on its laurels, ALM Manufacturing is continually on the look-out for new materials which will reduce the environmental impact of the business, and in 1999 information became available about a new material that might be suitable for the clam-pack: Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate, or R-PET as it is now commonly known.

This offered all the benefits of PVC but was manufactured from recycled PET. Claims that this material was not a suitable replacement to PVC due to loss of clarity were shown to be groundless, and when the samples were formed, the results exceeded expectations and the decision was taken to introduce this new material onto the market in January 2000.

Recycled PET has a distinct advantage over even virgin PVC in terms of presentation. The table below shows that for the material properties the transparency is over double, gloss is almost 20% higher, haze is more than halved, and blushing is non-existent.
ALM Manufacturing material comparison chartAs the introduction of R-PET was so successful, ALM Manufacturing expanded the use of this material to all packaging where possible.


Paper use in packaging

The introduction of the clam-pack meant that we were able to produce a 100% recyclable pack, as the paper label inserts were easily separated from the rest of the pack.

At the time of introduction in 1997, the paper label inserts were printed on virgin paper using oil-based inks.

Knowing there must be a better solution, ALM Manufacturing looked to sourcing more environmentally friendly paper and inks.

The paper we chose for the labels is recycled fibre from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) managed, sustainable forests, and the ink is vegetable (soya) based type sourced from within the UK.

Any waste paper offcuts produced during label cropping are bundled with other print waste and forwarded to a local mill for recycling.

All ALM Manufacturing paper is 100% recyclable after consumer use.

To raise customer awareness, and to encourage post-consumer recycling, labels are printed with the recycle symbol.


ALM Manufacturing Recycled paperALM Manufacturing trimmer line requires a separate self-adhesive label; even this label was changed to a recycled material with removable adhesive to allow separation for recycling.

The words 'Peelable Label' are clearly visible to encourage consumer recycling. 

Cardboard use

ALM Manufacturing supply products to the trade in outer cardboard boxes, but we encourage the use of the returnable plastic trays and tote schemes within the supply chain and actively participate in these schemes wherever possible.

Any cardboard that is not reuseable is sent for recycling.


Conclusion

Since the inception of this programme in 1996, ALM Manufacturing and all companies in the supply chain are monitored regularly for their commitment to environment protection.

We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and work with local manufacturers and suppliers who manufacture within the UK wherever possible.

Our aim is: 100% recycled material, 100% recyclable material, minimum impact on the environment