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Are Re-usable Shopping Bags really reducing the Environmental Impact?

In October 2015 England introduced a single-use plastic carrier bag charge to reduce the amount of single use bags in circulation and encourage people to reuse bags,

Since the introduction of the charge the number of 'single-use' plastic bags given out by retailers has dropped from 140 to 25 for the average person each year*. In response to the introduction of the charge many retailers have introduced 'bags for life' in a range of styles and prices at till points.

But just how many times does a 'bag for life' need to be re-used to provide the same environmental performance of the average (LDPE) single use carrier bag?

RECYC QUEBEC, and The Danish Environment Agency have carried out independent studies to assess how many times a 'reusable' bag should be reused to provide the same environmental performance of the average LDPE carrier bag and the results have proved very interesting.

According to their findings, a non-woven polypropylene bag must be 6 times, woven polypropylene 5 times and cotton bags 52 times to equal the environmental impact of an average 17-micron carrier bag used just once. How many times do you re-use your 'bags for life'?

Shopping Bag Infographic

The conventional 'single use' plastic bags have several environmental and economic advantages; they are thin, light and the production requires little material and energy. Not only that, conventional 'single use' plastic bags can be re-used and are commonly re-used for bin liners. This second use avoids the production and purchase of bin liners reducing overall material use.

Top take always from the research:

  • Re-use all styles of carrier bags (even the ones dubbed as single use!) as many times as possible before disposal.
  • Prioritise functionality when designing your packaging product. The main aim is to maximise volume and weight holding capacity whilst minimising the amount of material needed and minimise the final weight of the carrier bag.
  • Recycle where possible at the end of use.

Source:

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/the-science-is-clear-the-conventional-plastic-bag-is-the-best-for-the-environment-682165391.html?ispopup=y

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/05/drop-in-plastic-bags-littering-british-seas-linked-to-introduction-of-5p-charge

https://monsacintelligent.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ENGLISH_FINAL-Quebec-LCA-Highlights.pdf

Why we say no thank you to degradable additives

Landfill

Plastic bags that feature an oxo-degradable additive when exposed to certain conditions degrade may seem like the obvious choice when it comes to plastic pollution, but, are they really that environmentally friendly?

On the 19th July the BBC reported the EU Parliament passed a directive preventing oxo-degradable products being described as biodegradable and are considering a total ban.

Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University was sceptical about the technology and conducted an experiment to test the claims. He buried oxo-degradable bags underground and suspended them in the sea and monitored the results for more than two years. The results concluded that yes, the plastic degrades but, into tiny micro-plastics, which are released into the environment adding to the 5 trillion micro-plastics that are already affecting our oceans.

In our 30 year history, Duo has been introduced to many degradable additives but, we have yet to find one that doesn't compromise the recycling chain. Demand for products with recycled content is on the increase, fossil reserves are under pressure and global warming is a growing concern. Recycling and re-using this valuable material helps keep polythene in the chain and out of landfill and contributing positively towards to areas of concern.

So, what's the best use for polythene after it's been used? We believe using it again and again and again. Sending polythene to landfill is heart breaking to us. Our UK closed loop recycling system is hungry for polythene scrap to feed the demand for products made from recycled content. We want your waste and we'll even pay you to take it away. Find out more about our closed loop recycling system here
 

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44888185

Duo UK Supports 22 Bees Project

22 Bees Project Collage

Illustrator Myro Coates with Duo Directors Anthony Brimelow, Zoe Brimelow & Dale Brimelow

Duo UK are extremely proud to announce our support of the 22 bees project, an initiative to commemorate the Manchester Arena attack.

Myro Coates, founder of the 22 bees project and accomplished illustrator from Prestwich, wanted to commemorate the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack by going to businesses in and around the city and draw the Manchester bee on their doors and windows in exchange for a donation to the Manchester Emergency Fund.

Over 200 of the hand drawn bees can be found in and around the city. Duo UK and the team donated towards the project and are so proud of the bee on the reception door representing our support.

The target amount of money they aimed to raise was £2,200 but remarkably they have surpassed that, and the total has reached over £8,000. There is still time to donate via their Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/the22beesproject

Myro Coates specialises in bespoke wedding drawings, window art and wedding stationary all drawn free hand find out more here https://www.myrodoodles.com/

Closed-loop nappies and bio-microbeads: the best new green innovations

Edie Image _May 2018

As featured on Edie.net on 11th May 2018

A number of eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations have emerged that could help businesses and nations deliver on resource efficiency, low-carbon transitions and combat climate change. Here, edie rounds-up six of the best.

Companies like AB InBev and Unilever have highlighted how sustainable products are creating value and opportunities for those willing to embrace them. Innovation is a difficult area to navigate, but as this round-up highlights, the benefits could usher in an unprecedented transition to the low-carbon economy.

With this in mind, this week's round-up covers a variety of ideas, concepts, products and systems that could help nations and businesses accelerate sustainability commitments.

Brick by Dirty Brick

Away from his Tesla and SpaceX escapades, Elon Musk has been investing in high-speed electric transport infrastructure. Musk's Boring Company has outlined plans to dig tunnels below Los Angeles to enable this transport, and it seems the construction of this process will lead to some low-carbon benefits.

On Twitter this week, Musk noted that the Boring Company would use the dirt from the tunnel digging to create bricks for low-cost housing. The plans have since been confirmed by Bloomberg, with a company spokesperson claiming "there will be an insane amount of bricks".

While Musk has outlined the plans to sell the bricks, he also noted the future Boring Company offices and even some part of the tunnel could replace concrete constructions with the bricks - delivering a lower carbon footprint while creating a second life for the construction waste of the tunnel. No information is available on how many bricks could be created.

Marine micro-miracles

As of January 2018, UK companies are prohibited from producing products that contain " rinse-off microbeads", due to the damage they cause to marine life. Now, researchers at the University of Bath believe that a biodegradable alternative could not only halt this damage, but actually reverse some of it.

As described in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,  the researchers have developed microbeads made of cellulose found in plants, algae and even shellfish. Despite originally testing how cellulose could be used to make electronics more recyclable, the researchers soon found that by dissolving cellulose and forcing the solution through pores in glass membranes, they could create a microbead alternative.

Some of these biodegradable beads could be used to absorb pollution or the chemicals in sunscreen, according to the journal, both of which impact marine health. The research team are now investigating how the beads interact with ingredients in washes and creams.

You got mail!

Single-use plastic packaging is undoubtedly a hot topic at the moment, having been the focus of this year's Earth Day and the subject of much government debate. In a bid to help big-name online brands phase out flexible plastic bags, packaging firm Duo UK is has created mailing bags made from sugarcane as a sustainable alternative.

The Manchester-based company, which makes mailing bags for brands including JD Sports, Tesco and JD Williams, claims it is the first UK manufacturer to produce mailing bags from GreenPE. While traditional plastic bags are made from polythene derived from fossil fuels, GreenPE is a biopolymer produced using renewable sugarcane. It is chemically identical to traditional plastic and, because sugarcane captures and stores CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows, it is technically carbon-negative.

Duo UK estimates that if all mailing bags produced in the UK were made of GreenPE, the nation's carbon footprint could be reduced by 46,000 tonnes of CO2 annually - the equivalent of the average passenger plane flying around the world 10,000 times.

Nappy Hour

The global market for nappies is booming and is set to be worth more than £55bn by 2020 - but biodegradable nappies can take up to 50 years to decompose in landfill sites, while their non-biodegradable counterparts may require 500 years to fully break down.

A team of researchers at Taiwan's Chung Hua University have created a machine capable of recycling almost 100kg of used nappies per hour using less water than the average toilet. It works by cleaning the nappies in disinfectant before splitting them into plastic, fluff fibres and absorbent material. The used water is then recycled onsite while the clean materials can be sent away for re-incorporation into new household items like plastic bags, sanitary towels and cardboard boxes. The estimated daily carbon emission from this process is 35.1 kg of CO2.

The researchers are now planning to build a larger machine, capable of processing 10 tonnes of nappies each day. If this prototype is successful, it could be rolled out at hospices, care homes, hospitals and nurseries across Taiwan.

Drink your food waste problems away

Supermarkets have been criticised for contributing to the UK's food waste mountain by sticking rigidly to quality specifications, and routinely rejecting "ugly" or misshapen, but edible, fruit and vegetables grown by suppliers. What's more, research suggests that most supermarket customers are only willing to buy imperfect fruit and vegetables at a significant discount.

So, in a bid to reduce the amount of 'ugly' produce going to landfill, two of Tesco's major suppliers have created a range of new juices made from apples, beetroot, strawberries and watermelons that fail to meet produce specifications.

The range is launching this month and will be sold in 350 Tesco stores across the UK, with Waste Not estimating that the juices will save around 3.5 tonnes of produce from being wasted within the first 12 weeks of sale.

House of virtual cards

Of the many plastic items going to landfill, credit cards are often overlooked. They are typically made from PVC and outlive their usefulness after three years, so lending startup Affirm has created a plastic-free credit card alternative which only exists online.

The startup, founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is targeting millennials with its new card-free micro-lending programme, which sees customers either signing up on the Affirm website for financing or applying for it at the checkout on some online stores before making monthly repayments.

Affirm recently announced it was making the programme available through Apple Pay - a step which essentially makes it a credit card provider without physical cards as it enables customers to tap their iPhones for their payments in brick-and-mortar stores. This could help reduce the amount of PVC credit cards produced worldwide each year, which currently stands at roughly six billion according to the International Card Manufacturers Association.

 

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The DuoUK Team jump into the festive season for Christmas Jumper Day

On Friday the Duo UK team put on their winter woollies for #ChristmasJumperDay to help raise money for Save the Children.

We had a woolly wonderful day posing in our festive knits, crowning our King & Queen of Christmas Jumper Day and guessing the festive items in the sweepstake.

In total the Duo Team raised £124.94 which will help Save The Children continue their important work.

If you would like to donate to Save the Children text TEAMDUO30 to 70050 to donate £5. Your support makes a huge difference.

Here are the wonderful Duo UK team in their winter woollies

Duo 's Christmas Jumper Day Collage _FINAL
 

How to avoid costly packaging mistakes and become an unboxing hero

#Packaging Fails

 

Packaging plays a vital role in all online businesses, from protecting the products when stored in a warehouse through to providing protection in transit to its final stage, arriving with the customer. Products come in many different shapes and sizes and couple that with endless basket configurations, selecting the right packaging range can be tricky. If a customer's order is sent out in what they deem as unsatisfactory packaging this could result in them taking their frustration out by sharing the #packagingfail on social media.

We've researched the top #packagingfails making online shoppers blood boil on social media and have compiled a list of our top tips to help you deliver an Instagram worthy unboxing experience every time.

#1 Excess Packaging

According to eDelivery the biggest constraint for online retailers regarding their delivery packaging is cost with 74% of respondents saying it's a major or vital concern. The majority of #packagingfails relating to excess packaging show parcels comprising of at least three packaging items; a box, parcel tape and void fill. Three packaging items that have been sourced, stored, compiled and contribute to the final shipping cost. The packaging itself is just one strand of the total cost.

Packaging is a necessary spend for all online retailers and getting this right can save time, money and positively influence sales. A new packaging innovation developed to tackle the issue of excess packaging is the polythene bubble mailing bag. This packaging product offers a fast to pack compact alternative solution to boxes and void fill. Gone is the box assembly time, pesky costly void fill is avoided and as the outer material is polythene it can be branded. Your customers delicate purchase is inserted into the mailing bag where it is encased in bubble protection, the glue strip offers tamper evident security whilst the polythene outer protects from all weather conditions. An extra bonus for your customer is that they will only have one packaging item to recycle or dispose of.

#2 Unfit for Purpose

Packaging that is too big, too small, an unsuitable material or is not fit for purpose are just some of the common reasons why a customer deems their experience a #packagingfail. To help get your packaging back into shape answer these questions to assess the fit-ness of your packaging range:

  1. Does your packaging design represent your brand?
  2. What delivery options do you offer to your customers? Is this the delivery location the end destination?
  3. What percentage of your sales are returned?
  4. What are the most common basket combinations?

The answers to these question help to identify what functionality you need from your packaging range and provide the starting point to create your perfect range of packaging items for your brand. As your SKU's and customer buying trends change its good practice to evaluate the performance of your packaging regularly. Duo offer a free packaging audit to find out more click here.

#3 Single Use Packaging

According to the Royal Mail's annual tracker study, 49% of e-retailers believe a good returns process will make a consumer more likely to be satisfied with their service. Helping customers to re-pack and return any unwanted items can increase the likelihood that they will make a repeat purchase in the future.

The solution is simple: doubling the use of your mailing bags by adding a second glue strip. The second glue strip provides your customer with a ready to use bag eradicating the need for them to purchase an additional packaging item, enables them to quickly send their products back to your inventory and you can rest assured that your item is adequately protected in its journey back to you.

But what do you do with the packaging that has been returned to you? Polythene is as easy to recycle as cardboard and it can be recycled in the UK. Demand for products containing recycled material has soared in recent years yet there is a lack of scrap in circulation. To incentivise businesses to save this precious material from a life in landfill Duo offer to collect polythene scrap and pay a price per tonne.

Recycling your polythene waste makes economic and environmental sense. Find out more about Closed Loop Recycling click here.

Be a #Packaginghero. We can help you find a perfect packaging product for your product range. To arrange a free packaging audit, send an email to enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk or contact our team on 0161 203 5767.

Download and share this article here


7 eCommerce Shopping Days You Can't Afford to Ignore

The Christmas Holiday season is fast approaching. Whilst the sun is shining many are busy thinking about the impending (and much colder) peak season.

Planning for peak season is currently top of mind and the key to a successful (and stress free) season starts with understanding when peak season is going to hit. According to ecommerce consultancy Salmon this year we could see November overtake December as the year's peak trading month.

78% of ecommerce businesses say that meeting the additional demand for orders at peak times was an ongoing challenge in 2016 and with expectations of next day/same day delivery becoming the norm for customers delivery failures are a big no no!

Managing peak trading is dependent on efficient planning and getting forecasting right. It's never to early to start planning for peak and to kick start your planning we've created a peak season calendar featuring the 7 key shopping dates for 2017.  

To avoid the issue of insufficient stock hampering your productivity and profitability can be tackled by using Duo's free stock management tool which monitors usage against projections and provides you with an insight led delivery schedule. For more information about how we can help your brand maximise productivity and profits during the peak season contact Duo on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

 

7 Ecommerce Shopping Days You Can 't Afford To Ignore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download 2017 peak season key shopping dates here so you're not lastminute.com

Delivery & Returns: Are you meeting customer expectations?

Drapers Image

As featured in Drapers Report Chapter 6: Getting Sustainability Wrapped up

The only consistent thing in fashion retailing is change. Today retailers find themselves being led by, rather than leading, the consumer, who dictates how they want to browse, buy, receive and return. You might be meeting customer expectations now, but are you looking ahead and asking, 'how will I meet those needs tomorrow?'

Duo were asked to share their expertise in Drapers exclusive report which identified some of the business critical trends online retailers need to know about, here are the highlights:

Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. A 2015 study by research company Nielsen of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries revealed that a brand's commitment to the environment has the power to sway the likelihood of a purchase for 45% of consumers.

As scale of distribution of online orders grows, online retailers are under pressure to try to reduce the environmental impact of their online order packaging - as required by their corporate social responsibility commitments. Aside from the volume, type and durability of the packaging needed for home delivery and returns, they are also concerned with the potential waste produced by each order. Consequently, CSR action plans and changes to online order packaging are being put into force.

At the beginning of the supply chain are the packaging companies, who work closely with online fashion and lifestyle retailers to ensure their packaging is sustainable and reaches environmental goals, without impacting processes and productivity.

"Environmental goals differ, depending on the brand's goals, whether reducing waste to landfill, reducing carbon footprint, encouraging customers to re-use packaging, or reducing the volume of packaging used to distribute their products," says Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director for packaging company Duo UK. She adds that a defined environmental target or focus and a team engagement plan often attribute to goals being achieved.

Packaging for online orders should be functional and durable and now thanks to innovations in packaging materials it is possible to also minimise an etailer's environmental footprint. 

Zoe Brimelow explained,"Key innovations in the packaging industry are those that don't pollute the waste stream and [are] easy innovations for companies to adopt. The environment is an emotive topic that can create deeper, loyal relationships between consumers and brands"

Here are the latest innovations in sustainable packaging which will help your brand achieve its sustainability goals.

GreenPE - A sustainable alternative to oil-based polythene, created from sugarcane, can be manufactured in the same way as polythene and is 100% sustainable, 100% renewable and 100% recyclable.

100% Recycled Packaging Material - Made using UK scrap polythene that would otherwise be sent to landfill, the recycled product range is completely odour neutral meaning it can be used to distribute porous products like clothing

Closed Loop Recycling - There is a huge demand for recycled polythene but there's also a shortage of waste material so we've made it easier than ever to reduce, reuse and recycle using our UK - Based closed loop recycling system.

Delighting today's shoppers is no mean feat, but retailers who transform their delivery and returns processes - with convenience at the heart - are those who will have the most success.

 

For the latest innovations in sustainable packaging visit DuoGreen

Drapers, the number one source for breaking news, business advise and expert analysis for the fashion industry.

To read the full report, Delivery & Returns: Are you meeting customer expectations click here

 

Source * http://guides.drapersonline.com/4341.guide

Life at Duo

Nikita Apprentice

Duo Digital Marketing Apprentice Nikita Briggs revealed to the Manchester Evening News what life is like at Duo, why she choose a career in the manufacturing industry and gives her advice about what it takes to become a Digital Marketing Apprentice.

What made you want to get into this line of work? 

When the time was creeping closer to making a decision about whether to go to university or to get a job I decided to be proactive and look for work experience to help with my decision. I approached my neighbour, Anthony Brimelow, as I knew he was a Director at Duo and handed him my CV to consider me for a work experience placement. Anthony was always so passionate and enthusiastic when telling me about Duo, he changed my pre-conceived idea about what manufacturing is like. When I visited Duo for the first time, there was a real buzz about the place and couldn't have been further from my original perception of manufacturing.

How long have you been doing it? How long with this company? 

In August 2014 I started my work experience placement and in September 2015 I was become a full time member of staff as Duo's first Digital Marketing Apprentice. 

How did you get the job? Can you remember your interview?

I started out on a work experience placement - I was only 17 so I was very green! I remember being really nervous on my first day in the office because it was all so new and I'd never really been in a professional environment before. I never really had a formal interview as I worked across a range of different office departments until I came to marketing, which is where I found my calling! 

Give a two-sentence summary of what your job involves

As Duo's Digital Marketing Apprentice, I help to create fresh, new and creative marketing content to share with our clients and attract new customers to help grow the business. I produce reports that analyse the success of our marketing efforts and make suggestions to keep improving and build on our successes.

What's the most interesting thing you've done at work this week?

It's a really busy time for us at the moment as we've just launched the world's first carbon negative mailing bag and we did a big PR push about it last week so this week has mostly been spent responding to the hundreds of tweets and messages we've been receiving from people on Twitter and enquiries via our website! I get a real buzz when it's busy like this and with us doing something so positive for the environment it really feels like we're part of a massive global shift towards more sustainable packaging - it's exciting! 

What do you love about your job? 

I love how enthusiastic everybody is, it's honestly infectious and really makes a difference to your day when you're surrounded by positivity. I also love that as one of only 7% of women carrying out an apprenticeship in manufacturing, I am hopefully helping to carve the way for more females to consider this fast moving and progressive industry. 

And what do you hate about your job? 

There's nothing I hate but it can be hard to switch off from anything social media related as we're surrounded by it all the time - I could probably benefit from a little less screen time! 

What qualifications, skills and personal qualities do you need for the job?

You need to be able to communicate really well and have a natural flair for writing and creating interesting content and a genuine interest in continuous learning as marketing is fast pace and is changing constantly. In terms of qualifications for an apprenticeship you usually just need 5 GCSEs or equivalent including maths and English.

Any advice for those wishing to join the profession? 

Be prepared to work hard and be prepared to fall in love with the manufacturing industry. Get stuck in and don't be afraid of doing something wrong if you're learning on the job like I have - as long as you learn from your mistakes you can't go wrong! 

Source: Manchester Evening News 11/05/2017

 

 

 

 

 

6 Ways Packaging Can Help Reduce Your Company's Environmental Impact

6 Ways Blog Header

Packaging is a critical business necessity, but it doesn't have to put a strain on the earth's natural resources and can actually help improve your company's environmental performance.

Download our handy chart to find simple, tailored, solutions to improve the eco-credentials of your packaging here.

Discover the DUO difference for yourself,
call us on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

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