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Archive for tag: Going Green

Delivery & Returns: Are you meeting customer expectations?

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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

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.

H&M's 'Conscious' effort keeps clothing in the loop and out of landfill

Last year 350,000 tonnes of used clothing ended up in landfill and a huge 95% could have been reworn or recycled. This is estimated to be worth £100 million of clothes going to landfill.

Global fashion giant H&M have launched their strategy 'Towards 100% Circularity' to create a better future for fashion. One strand towards achieving their vision is to extend a garments life and send zero waste to landfill. Fabric recycling is achievable using a closed loop recycling system and is arguably the best option for garments than can no longer can be used. H&M have successfully used 20% recycled fibres without the loss of quality or durability in their range 'Conscious'.

H&M Conscious Collection

What is Closed Loop Recycling?

Closed loop recycling is the process where waste is returned back to its original raw form and this recycled material is then used to make a new product.

This recycling process is used to recycle many different types of material from fabric to polythene packaging. At Duo we're committed to creating a future where it's easier than ever for companies to close the loop when it comes to their waste polythene packaging. To achieve our vision, we invested in a polythene closed loop recycling system. Demand for packaging made from recycled content is on the increase as companies are actively adopting a more sustainable business model, however, there is a still a shortage of waste polythene. We've made it easier than ever to reduce, reuse and recycle waste polythene by introducing a waste polythene collection service for our customers.

 Closed Loop Recycling Process Flow Diagram

 For more information about closed loop recycling please click here

Every year more than 2,500 tonnes, which is equivalent to 500 pallets of polythene scrap material, is recycled using Duo's closed loop recycling system. This results in 2,500 fewer tonnes of polythene waste going to landfill and less oil used for polyethylene production!

Thanks to polythene closed loop recycling it has been possible to produce 100% recycled content mailing bags - the perfect solution for companies looking for an economical, sustainable option for their ecommerce packaging requirements. The quality and performance of a recycled content products compared to 'new' used to questionable. However, thanks to advances in recycling capabilities and better quality scrap, recycled material can now be used for critical applications such as mailing bags and can also include an intricate print design.

H&M's commitment towards 100% circularity is proving to be a great success as in 2015 12,000 tonnes of fabric garments were collected in their stores and recycled saving them from a destiny in landfill - that's equivalent to more than 60 million t-shirts! H&M also produced 1.3 million garments which were made using closed loop material - that's an increase of over 300% more garments than in 2014.

We're committed to helping promote sustainable alternatives and reduce our own and our customers environmental impact. In 2015 we launched DuoGreen as a platform to celebrate new environmental innovations and to share ideas to help packaging users achieve their environmental goals.

Be inspired and learn how packaging can help you to achieve your environmental goals visit DuoGreen.

It’s that time of year again – Packaging Waste Regulations

It's that time of year again

Does your company turnover more than £2million per year or handle 50tonnes or more of packaging material in a year? If so the time is almost here to submit your packaging weight data to the Environment Agency. 

**The UK generates 13 million tonnes of packaging waste every year** much of which can be reused or recycled. In 1997 the Government introduced packaging waste regulations for 'obligated' packaging producers, which aim to manage and reduce packaging waste in the UK.

In the UK more than 6,000 companies are classed as an 'obligated' packaging producer, it's easy to find out if that includes you just by answering yes to these two simple questions:

  • Did you handle* 50 tonnes or more of packaging material or packaging in the previous calendar year?
  • Do you have a turnover of more than £2 million per year (based on financial year's figures)?

*Handle means you:

Carry out one or more of these activities AND own the packaging on which the activities are carried out:

  • Produce raw materials for packaging manufacture
  • Convert raw materials into packaging
  • Put goods into packaging or put packaging around goods
  • Supply packaging to the end user
  • Import packaged goods or packaging materials outside the UK
  • Supplies packaging by hiring it out or lending it
  • Supply packaging or packaging materials in any stage in the chain or to the final user of packaging

If you are an obligated packaging producer you need to take these simple steps to meet the Government guidelines:

  • Complete an annual data submission detailing the amount of packaging handled (you can contact your packaging supplier who will provide you with the weight per packaging type delivered the previous year)
  • Register with the Environment Agency before April
  • Calculate your obligation (this is how much packaging waste you will need to pay towards being recycled)
  • Show evidence of the recovery and recycling of a specified amount of packaging waste with Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) or Packaging Export Recovery Notes (PERNs)
  • Prepare an Operational Plan detailing how compliance will be achieved
  • Submit a Certificate of Compliance and you're done!

It's not just the Government trying to reduce the amount of excess waste that goes into landfill. In 2015 Duo launched DuoGreen to help brands wanting or needing to improve the environmental credentials of their packaging, learn about the new sustainable packaging products and solutions available.

 ** The Guardian 4 January 2016**

 

Featured Article: Impact Protection

Featured in Retail Packaging

Anthony Brimelow, Commercial Director at Duo UK gives us his take on the green trend and discusses how his long-established firm has reacted…

Many of our customers have been keen to operate in an environmentally responsible manner for many years, but over the past 18 months there's been a real intensification of this. Our retail customers tell us that they are reacting to consumer demand and these on-the-ground observations are backed up by the figures from the statisticians.

A report by Perception Research Services tell us that, broadly speaking, UK consumers welcome environmentally friendly packaging, with 65% noticing the associated messaging and 71% willing to pay more for it. This puts the UK consumers ahead of Germany, India and USA, in terms of environmental sensitivity.

These figures add to the genuine desire 'to do the right thing' that many of our customers have and make investing in environmentally friendly packaging a business imperative; and that's before we even look at the impact of EU legislation.

GOING DUOGREEN

 

Footprint reduction in a bag: Green PE

Footprint reduction in a bag: Green PE

The EU has signalled its clear intention to impose a 40% legally binding reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2016 which, coupled with predictions that electricity prices will increase by half over the same time span, will have a major impact on many businesses. Many astute business leaders are acting now, and at Duo we are acting in tandem to help them prepare for this change.

We have always taken a responsible approach to minimising the environmental impact of the products we produce, but in April we took this a step further and launched our new offering: DuoGreen. DuoGreen helps brands wanting or needing to improve the environmental credentials of their packaging learn about the sustainable, environmentally low-impact, packaging products and solutions available. As well as putting the spotlight on 'green' products and services, developed using Duo's expertise, we also hope DuoGreen will become a hub for sharing expertise and promoting new sustainable technologies.

Key for a business looking to reduce the environmental impact of its business is to review the packaging they use. Not just the packaging itself, but consider its entire lifecycle, which begins with the packaging's design and ends with how used packaging is processed. However, we often find clients just aren't sure what alternative packaging options are available or which innovations are credible. The lack of certification of the products or services which claim to be green has resulted in a nervousness to make a change, but that's where we can help.

REDUCE, RECYCLE

At Duo, we minimise a packaging product's lifecycle impact by offering clients regular onsite packaging audits where we analyse the packaging used and product range shipped, then we advise on the best range of packaging to minimise waste, environmental impact and cost. We also implement pro-active stock management which, combined with the short lead times of our UK-based manufacturing operation, means we can forward plan transportation to deliver products in bulk, thereby reducing road mileage.

When it comes to helping customers dispose of used packaging, we've built on our existing investment in closed loop recycling and introduced another closed-loop recycling machine. We pick, up, weigh, and pay for used packaging when we drop off new supplies and return it to our plant for processing. The recycled polythene can be used in several ways - it could be included in the middle layers of co-extruded (or layered) polythene, thus reducing the amount of virgin polythene used, or it can be used to make 100% recycled content packaging products.

Previously the uses for 100% recycled polythene were restricted because of the smell (think bin bags) associated with it. This smell is caused by contaminates, but research and development conducted in our quality control lab has allowed us to eliminate this and we can now offer odour-free 100% recycled content packaging products. This makes the product suitable for distributing porous goods such as clothing, which means brands that previously wouldn't have been able to use polythene with such a high recycled content, can now do so and reduce consumption of natural resources.

PE TEACHERS

A ground breaking new innovation which delivers substantial reduction to a brand's carbon footprint is Green PE, a thermoplastic resin made entirely from sugarcane ethanol. We have recently become the first UK-based manufacturer to produce mailing bags using Green PE, meaning we can now offer customers a product which is created from 100% renewable material and is also 100% recyclable and reduces greenhouses gases in the atmosphere.

Planet-saving packaging

Planet-saving packaging

What is particularly exciting about Green PE is its environmental credentials extend all the way down the production chain, with each kilogram of green plastic produced using this method saving over 2kgs of CO2, when compared to the production of conventional oil-based polythene.

These new technological developments, coupled with a thoughtful approach to product lifecycle offer a real opportunity for retailers to work with their packaging suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging. The business benefits of this are significant, allowing companies to prepare for the legislative changes which are coming over the next few months, communicate a positive message to their customers and help towards achieving their environmental targets.

 

Client Case Study: JD Williams

Objective:

Help JD William's meet Corporate Social Responsibility objectives by empowering the firm's customers to recycle old and unwanted clothing. Specifically, this will be achieved by designing a collection sack that can be included within JD William's outbound packaging.

Duo UK solution:

Clothing giant JD Williams has signed up to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) and pledged to play its part in reducing the carbon, waste and water footprints of the clothing they supply or receive in the UK by 15% by 2020.

As part of this commitment, senior managers at JD Williams were keen to develop a scheme aimed at encouraging customers to recycle old and unwanted clothing.  The clothing collected will be given to leading textile recycler Triad which fundraises to stop the exploitation of people and the environment caused by the global clothing supply chain.

The recycling scheme is designed to use JD Williams' existing distribution network and aims to reduce the amount of clothing that goes to landfill and will work by placing a specially designed collection sacks within all outbound mail order packages . This will allow customers to bag up unwanted clothe before arranging a collection by the firm's delivery drivers giving JD Williams' customers comfort that their unwanted items are collected by a brand they trust.

With this in mind, JD Williams approached Duo UK, which currently designs the company's outbound mailing bags, to develop the collection sack concept.  Andy York, Ethical Trading Manager for JD Williams, explained: "As a responsible retailer we are always looking for ways to conduct our business in a more socially responsible way. The recycling bag scheme is a simple yet efficient way to do just that - at no cost or trouble to our customer."

Duo advised on the most appropriate polythene material blend to achieve a lightweight but strong sack and helped develop a design to communicate user instructions, whilst also aligning with the JD Williams brand image.

Devising an efficient logistics and delivery strategy was another area of consideration and Duo was able to dovetail delivery of this product with deliveries of outbound packaging, ensuring JD Williams benefit from a seamless, cost-effective service and eradicating any additional road mileage. 

Is the future of polythene surprisingly green?

CLOSED LOOP_4

 

As the EU debates introducing a mandatory charge on single use plastic bags, Anthony Brimelow,  commercial director of polythene manufacturer Duo UK, takes a look at how technology is helping to 'green'  a material that's often viewed as an environmental L'Enfants terribles.

Although the EU proposal to introduce a mandatory plastic bag tax is unlikely to receive the unanimous backing it needs, it is the latest in a series of measures designed to curb the use of single use plastic bags, which are often perceived by politicians and the general public as being environmentally harmful.

Setting aside the 'science' behind the proposals for now, what seldom seems to be recognised is the fact that single use polythene bags are just one, relatively small, incarnation of the world's most common plastic. Polythene is deeply ingrained in our world - it's used in everything from shampoo bottles to medical equipment to bullet proof vests, - so it seems a fair bet that it's going nowhere fast. Given this state of affairs, I'd argue that it makes far more sense to minimise the environmental impact ofallpolythene, rather than concentrate so much effort on trying to dissuade the public to use just one polythene product. (And for the sake of clarity, no, single use carrier bags aren't a significant part of our business!)

In truth, a lot is already being done within the polythene industry to firstly make the production process of polythene as efficient and waste free as possible, and then to recycle used polythene in better and more creative ways. There's also promise of more improvements on the horizon, including switching from oil - the raw ingredient of polythene - to a sustainable alternative.

Measures such as gravimetric dosing used during the production process, are instrumental in cutting waste and reducing the amount of virgin material required. The technology works by weighing the raw materials of polythene as they are dosed directly into the extruder, thereby virtually eliminating the need for 'pre-mixing ' from the process.  The result is a more accurate blend which generates less scrap and uses less energy.

As well as improving the manufacturing process, responsible manufacturers have realised the good business sense of working with clients to reduce the amount of packaging they need - thereby saving them money - and to implement effective recycling processes.

At Duo we do this by offering clients an annual onsite packaging audit where we analyse the products used and goods shipped and advise on the best range of packaging to minimize both waste and cost. We also implement active stock management which, combined with the short lead times of our UK-based manufacturing operation, means we can forward plan transportation to deliver products in bulk, thereby reducing road mileage.

Recycling is another area where we work closely with our clients. We predict the demand for recycled products to increase dramatically over the next few years, driven largely by consumer demand and by improvements in technology.

Previously recycled polythene could be less consistent than its virgin counterpart and its smell - think bin bags - limited its application. Both these problems are caused by contaminants  in  the polythene blend, but work we've done in our quality control lab has helped to eliminate these problems, so much so that we've just launched an 'odour free' recycled mailing bag line.  In addition to being used in standalone products, recycled polythene also has numerous other applications including on the inner layers of multi layered -or co-extruded - polythene, which itself has various benefits.

We've seen so much growth in demand for recycled products that we've recently invested in a second closed loop recycling machine and we're working with clients to encourage them to make use of it. We collect waste from our customers and pay them per tonne, however despite these steps we still need to go to third parties to buy more scrap to meet demand.  We know many companies which are otherwise keen to recycle are hampered by waste contracts and this is one area where concerted industry-wide effort is badly needed.

On top of the measures which have already been implemented, there are also exciting developments on the horizon. Just a few months ago we signed an agreement with international polymer distribution company Resin Trade Ltd, to be the first UK-based manufacturer to produce mailing bags using Green PE, a thermoplastic resin made entirely from sugarcane ethanol.

Green PE itself has been developed by petrochemical producer Braskem, and means we can now offer customers a product which is created from 100% renewable material, which is also 100% recyclable. What is particularly exciting about Green PE is its environmental credentials extend all the way down the production chain. The raw ingredient sugarcane is a water efficient crop that also captures carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and is planted and grown in accordance to strict ethical guidelines. Further CO2 is sequestered from the atmosphere by the ethanol used to make Braskem's green polyethylene. As a consequence, each kilogram of green plastic produced using this method saves 2.15kg of CO2, when compared to the production of conventional oil-based polythene.

Meanwhile, from a manufacturing point of view, we can use the same processes and machinery we use to create standard polythene products, which makes it a very practical product.  Having said that, there is no denying that Green PE, like many new technologies, is currently more expensive than its standard equivalent. Nonetheless it is a great example of how technology can radically reduce the environmental impact of a product, assuming that there is the appetite to do so.

Of course, so far we've discussed how the environmental impact of polythene can be lowered both now and in the future, rather than comparing the environmental impact of polythene to other packaging materials. Given legislators' ongoing determination to crack down on single use plastic bags compared to other forms of packaging, it's entirely understandable that the average consumer would think plastic bags are particularly environmentally damaging, however the science simply doesn't support this. 

An Environment Agency report* which was published in 2011 compared seven types of bags,  and found that single use carrier bags had the lowest environmental impact in nine out of 10 impact categories. The same report showed that paper bags would need to be reused four times and cotton bags 173 times, in order to ensure they have lower global warming potential than a normal single use carrier bag.

Given these facts I would argue that placing so much emphasis on reducing single use carrier bags is a red herring.  The science simply doesn't stack up and of course it does nothing to address the vast quantities of other polythene being produced for other purposes.  A more productive approach would be to encourage the industry to maximise efficiencies and minimise waste in producing all types of polythene and to explore, develop and commercialise new technologies. Given these parameters, I'd say yes, the future of polythene is green.  Whether it's 'surprisingly' so, depends on where you're coming from.

 

* Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags, Dr Chris Edwards and Joanna Mehoff  Fry https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291023/scho0711buan-e-e.pdf

Article featured on: http://www.edie.net/

A Responsible Path to Luxury

Individual Agency 95523

While the overriding trend in most industry sectors over the last few years has been to reduce the amount of packaging used, one group of companies has eschewed this new convention. For purveyors of luxury goods the mantra appears to be "packaging sells".

They can't afford to cut corners and skimp on materials or finishing embellishments. The packaging of a luxury item is almost as important as the product it's protecting or showcasing. That's why during the recession, while other industries looked to cut costs, luxury goods companies continued to pump cash into creating ever more eye-catching packs.

But is this tried and tested approach changing? There is growing consumer pressure on luxury goods providers to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging and offer more clarity around where materials are sourced. What are the luxury brands doing in response to these calls and is there such a thing as environmentally responsible luxury packaging?

In the luxury goods sector, arguably more than in any other sector, packaging has an important role to play in persuading the consumer to part with their money, with consumers generally willing to spend more on an item if the packaging screams 'luxury', says Sharon Crayton, head of marketing at Ardagh Group.

"During research for its report on The Future of Packaging to 2019, Smithers Pira found that the packaging of a product is part of the brand's image, thus it is important for the packaging to correctly represent the premium value of the product it is encompassing," says Crayton. To 2019, Smithers Pira forecasts that the luxury packaging market will grow by 4.4% reaching $17.6bn, and consumption will reach 9.9bn tonnes with growth of 3.1%.

If these projections are accurate the pressure placed on luxury goods manufacturers to reduce the impact of their packaging will continue to grow, leaving companies faced with addressing the difficult question of how can you design packs in a way that helps them be sustainable, but continues to look luxurious?

Christiana Mitchell, senior graphic designer at Sheridan&Co, says that there are a number of luxury brands out there that have made major progress towards becoming greener. "Other brands have been following suit, particularly due to the regulation that passed in 2012 requiring European Union companies with a turnover in excess of £2m and using over 50 tonnes each year of packaging to comply with the EU Producer Responsibility Obligations by making a proportion of their packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable," says Malham. "As a result, developing a luxury packaging solution that is sustainable is not really an option; it is a requirement, and packaging manufacturers are developing ways to make this possible."

"Manufacturers are opting for more environmentally friendly inks and materials such as paperboard and glass instead of plastics, are reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process and are using light-weighting techniques," she explains.

Mitchell concurs, adding that there are a number of further techniques that luxury brands looking to go greener could adopt, with the most effective approach being simply to reduce the amount of material used in the packaging.

Some brands are also using their sustainable packs to create a point of difference in the marketplace, says Susan Wilson, luxury packaging manager at James Cropper.

"More and more brands are going further than seeking formal certification and are thinking hard about how their packaging can differentiate though ethical sourcing, going as far as to reuse non-pulp waste products from their own production methods in their packaging," explains James Cropper's Wilson. "For example, our cocoa shell paper is made with a percentage of ground cocoa shells, repurposing a primary waste product of the chocolate industry - in this case major cocoa trader Barry Callebaut - to then wrap around confectionery products and other items. Brands are increasingly recognising sustainability not only as a responsibility, but potentially a great story to share with their customers."

This story telling process only serves to strengthen the relationship between a brand and a consumer - especially in the current day and age where consumers have an increasingly high awareness of product lifecycles.

"They don't just look at the end product in isolation," explains Zoe Brimelow, brand director at polythene packaging specialist Duo. "They want to understand where it has been produced, if it has been ethically produced and the values of the company that has produced the product, and only then will they form an opinion on a product's sustainability.

The packaging a product arrives in is all part of a product's lifecycle and has a significant impact on the product's sustainability and green credentials. Therefore a luxury brand can only strengthen its relationship with consumers by improving its green credentials and making a commitment to sourcing locally."

So perhaps it's likely that consumers will start hearing some loud messages about sustainability emanating from luxury goods manufacturers any time soon.

This article was featured on Packaging News

 

Supply Chains: Looking closer to home?

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In a year when supply chains have hit the headlines in the mainstream media on a regular basis, Duo UK's operations director Dale Brimelow reflects on how some big players are shifting their procurement focus a little closer to home.

Supply chain issues have stalked the headlines this year, ranging from the horsemeat scandal which knocked millions off the share prices of leading supermarkets, to the collapse of a Bangladeshi clothing factory which cost more than 1000 lives. As well as the human and financial cost, both crises also caused much consternation and soul searching among the British public and an associated slew of negative publicity.

Of course these aren't the first supply chain stories to hit the main stream press - Nike, for example, has been dogged by accusations of child labour for years, but there are signs that other factors are now aligning with CSR concerns, leading at least some big British buyers to review their processes.

At Duo UK we provide postal packaging to the likes of John Lewis, Tesco and JD Williams and undoubtedly, along with the quality, service and technical expertise Duo has, the fact that we manufacture our polythene in the UK is viewed as a big plus point.  Backing this up is quantitative research we conducted into the buying preferences of procurement professionals which revealed that, particularly among bigger corporations, there was a strong affiliation to buying from UK manufactures.

Almost 80% of corporates we spoke to believed British businesses should buy from British suppliers where possible,  with just over 40% claiming there is a 'moral case' for taking this stance.  What's more, 52% of corporates are doing more than just talking and are actively looking to increase their UK supplier base.  Key motivators for this action are revealing - 78% identified shortening supply chains or ethical concerns with some overseas suppliers, while almost 50% cited increased transport cost as a driving factor. Around a third said they struggled with longer lead times and reducing competiveness of overseas goods.

So far so promising for British manufactures, but it would be naïve to assume there are no hurdles left to overcome. The same research shows that a third corporations believe that British made goods are uncompetitive, while a very similar proportion (31%) claim the goods they need aren't manufactured in the UK.  

This latter point is particularly interesting. Obviously there will be some products that simply aren't made in the UK - no country could claim to manufacture every product businesses could ever need - but time and again we come across people who are surprised that polythene packaging can be manufactured competitively in the UK. The common perception is that this type of manufacturing will long since have shifted to China or East Asia. However, as Duo's success has shown this patently isn't the case and I've got no doubt that there are many other manufactures working away, day-in day-out to produce world beating goods that not enough people know about.  

As an industry changing this perception, so those procurement professionals who automatically look overseas to at least investigate home grown options, would be a massive step forward. In turn, this should start to shift perceptions that British products are always more expensive than overseas goods, particularly if we educate buyers on the whole life cycle of the product. There's no point in embarking on a race to the bottom in terms of creating low skilled jobs or cutting corners on health & safety or pay & conditions, but very often the purchase price is just the start of a cost to a business, and doesn't reflect the real expense.

If as a sector we can work to highlight both the strength and variety of British manufacturing and its relative competiveness, we are pushing at an open door - British businesses are keen to buy closer to home, now our task is to make it easy for them.

 

This article was featured on The Manufacturer

Economic Benefits of Closed Loop Recycling

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With the government and local councils investing millions of pounds into encouraging and enforcing recycling at a domestic and industry level, leaders are looking at businesses like Duo UK to facilitate the reprocessing of excess plastic and waste materials to help achieve ambitious recycling targets. The government is encouraging manufacturers to contribute to a more circular economy in which a circular flow of materials and energy is endorsed for environmental gain in addition to monetary benefits in the form of cost savings. The government aim to reduce the amount of waste that was sent to landfills in 1995 by 65% in the year 2015.

The introduction of the landfill tax in 1996 has been the major influence for companies to look for alternative, sustainable and resource efficient options for treating their waste as apposed to relying on landfill. A dramatic increase in this tax in the past 5 years has acted as a catalyst for firms to rethink their waste disposal methods. Current rates stand at £72/tonne meaning firms must act fast in order to sustain profits as yet another tax increase is forecast for 2014.

To offer our customers a solution to overcome these rising costs and aid environmental sustainability Duo UK invested in a closed loop recycling machine. Closed loop recycling reprocesses excess or waste polythene back into polythene pellets which can then be fed back into the extrusion process to produce recycled content packaging products. Using the recycled polythene pellets Duo UK has been able to successfully produce 100% recycled content retail carrier bags and mailing bags with 25% recycled content mailing bags while still maintaining the products high quality.

Our client Keep Britain Tidy changed their packaging waste sack from natural polythene to 100% recycled polythene to help them achieve their objective of reducing their carbon footprint, read more about the positive impact on their business here.

With the fluctuating price of oil having a direct correlation to the cost of polyethylene, the production cost of polythene products has increased dramatically in the last few years. Closed loop recycling reduces dependency on raw materials and with 1.8 tonnes of oil saved for every tonne of recycled polythene produced the benefits are clear to see. However, there is still a lack of scrap polythene available to re-process in the UK as awareness of polythene recycling scheme such as Duo UK's closed loop recycling facility is low.

For more information on closed loop recycling and the potential benefits to your business click here.

 

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