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How Manufacturers Can Reduce Environmental Impact And Save Money

Why green policies are increasingly good for business.

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Why green policies are increasingly good for business.

Guides

How Manufacturers Can Reduce Environmental Impact And Save Money

Why green policies are increasingly good for business.

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At least 89% of manufacturers now discuss energy management at board level, according to a study carried out by Siemens. This shows that companies are becoming increasingly aware of the often-negative effects their processes can have on the environment. As an industry, however, we could always be doing more.

It would seem that putting more of an effort into working responsibly and sustainably doesn’t just help the environment, either — it can also be great for business.

Consumers’ attitudes are changing and shoppers are beginning to seek out manufacturers and service providers that are trying to limit the environmental damage that their work can have. This notion is supported by the results of a survey carried out by the European Commission, which found that approximately 80% of European citizens are concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases.

It was also found that a lot of these people would actually be willing to pay more for products that they know have been manufactured using environmentally-friendly processes.

In an effort to reduce the negative impact our work might have on the environment, we’ve made a lot of changes to the way we run our business at Brushtec. As a result, we’ve been able to reduce our overheads, and have also gained customers who share our values. Here are three of my top tips that might help you to do the same.

Review your designs

When you make the conscious decision to reduce the impact you’re having on the environment, it’s worth reviewing your current products and seeing if you can make any design tweaks with sustainability in mind.

Could you use less packaging on your products or streamline any of your designs to use less material? You should also aim to use recyclable materials wherever possible. You’ll likely be surprised by how easy it is to do all of this without compromising the quality of your products.

Think carefully about the materials you use

UK manufacturers use approximately five million tonnes of plastic each year, according to figures released by the British Plastics Foundation. However, only around 29% of this is recycled or recovered.

We use a lot of plastic during production here at Brushtec, but we’re very aware of the negative effects this can have on the environment. The majority of the material we use is therefore recycled. We utilise post-consumer plastic sourced from a nearby car manufacturing plant and also try to create as little waste as possible during our moulding process.

The key is to be open-minded when choosing the materials you’re going to use in your manufacturing. We also find it’s helpful to keep an eye on industry developments — that way, we’re always up to date with what new, more environmentally-friendly processes and materials are available. I would recommend that you do the same.

Reconsider your energy consumption

There’s no way around it — manufacturing is always going to require a great deal of energy. But, there are things you can do to manage your business’ usage, and even ways to create your own. For example, we use a solar photovoltaic system and ground source heat pump to create cleaner, renewable energy.

Additionally, our factories now have low-power LED lighting, and we’ve properly insulated all of our workspaces. This has helped to reduce out energy consumption — and, in turn, our electricity and heating bills — significantly. We’ve also invested in an electrical power management system, which has certainly benefitted us. It helps us to track all of our energy usage and, most importantly, identify any areas where we could make some improvements.

You should already be thinking about how energy efficient and sustainable your business is. But, if you’re yet to do so, now is the best time to start. Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, but you’ll be able to save on overheads, too. So, start making the necessary changes today.

Barry Crackett is a product designer at Brushtec.

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How Manufacturers Can Reduce Environmental Impact And Save Money

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