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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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

National Apprenticeship Week 2016

National Apprenticeship Week 2016

My Digital Marketing Apprenticeship in Manufacturing

By Nikita Briggs

National Apprenticeship week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships, traineeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and also the wider economy. The theme for the week is 'Rise to the top!' This means focusing on progression and opportunity to show you how apprenticeships can make you rise to the top and gain skills whilst experience also.

Marketing is truly where my passion and enthusiasm is and I am fortunate that Zoe Brimelow the Brand Director at Duo UK gave me the opportunity to 'rise to the top' and become a Digital Marketing and Social Media Apprentice. For Duo UK digital marketing is an integral part of our strategy to increase brand awareness in new markets and promote our products and services. Digital Marketing and Social Media is changing every day and although at first some people may not see the connection with manufacturing, technology is very much at the heart of modern manufacturing.

I loved the idea of working in the manufacturing industry, and I have been well and truly inspired by everyone I've met and I truly believe it's a great and rewarding industry to work in. However, only 7% of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships are filled by women and I want to bring more awareness of the great apprenticeships and careers available for women in manufacturing and engineering.

What I love about my apprenticeship is that I am gaining skills on my course that I bring back an implement at work plus I am also learning more skills on the job. Apprenticeships enable businesses to grow their skill base which can result in increased profits, lower prices and better products. My apprenticeship is with The Juice Academy where I study a day every two weeks, this gives me the opportunity to network with other apprentice's and the academy staff are there for any advice I need. The academy also informs me of lots of events to attend to help my development, one of which was the North West Young Apprentice Ambassador Network Conference. The event was held at UK Fast and during the day we heard inspiring speeches from Olympic athletes, business leaders and apprentices about their achievements and received some invaluable advice. I am now a proud North West Young Apprenticeship Ambassador. To become a North West Young Apprenticeship Ambassador (NWYAA) you had to be passionate about apprenticeships and be keen to tell young people and employers about the benefits, also most importantly telling them about your own experience of becoming an Apprentice.

An unfortunate common view many people still have is that apprenticeships are second option and not as credible as other career paths. This is not true at all. Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles covering more than 170 industries, including manufacturing. As an apprentice you are rising to the top and becoming who you want to be, this is true of my experience and I would encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship as a way forward to achieving their career goals.

Retailers 'must embrace technology'

Insider Breakfast

 

Retailers that don't take an omni-channel approach and use modern technology face becoming obsolete, according to delegates at Insider's Changing the Face of Retail Breakfast.

The event at Manchester's Imperial War Museum North was attended by more than 130 people.

Gareth James is the chief executive of Chester-based Intilery and previously worked for MoneySupermarket. His new business uses technology to track customer journeys in real-time both online and offline at every touchpoint.

He said: "Retailers will now be able to fulfil the individual needs of every customers across any channel [online, call centre, in-store, in-app, email, social, etc] whilst being able to be competitive in the retail landscape.

"Customers now expect this level of service by default."

Ian Walker, managing director of Wigan-based 3P Logistics, which works with a number of retailers and has 4.5 million units in stock, added that third-party logistics was creating "virtual entrepreneurs" who never needed to touch the products.

He said: "We'll take goods in from overseas, we'll store them, process the orders and deliver them through the normal delivery network. We're processing about 2,000 consignments a day.

"We have to be regimental. We have a 99.7 per cent approval service level. We do that because we embrace technology. You can't afford negative feedback."

Matthew Williamson, a real estate partner and head of retail and leisure at Weightmans, said there was no denying the migration to online shopping had damaged town centres. He argued that the advent of things like next-day delivery had raised the ante in terms of supply chain requirements.

"Consumers are driving this," he said. "People aren't prepared to wait.

"Look at Amazon Prime Now - you can get your goods delivered within an hour. Just think of the infrastructure and the distribution network that needs to go into that service.

"You could say none of this is an issue if retailers and their logistics providers can charge for it but of course there needs to be a cost somewhere in the supply chain in order to service it."

Kerry Wright is the marketing director of Purple, which spotted a gap in the market for public Wi-Fi.

She said: "There are three parts to the product - access, getting people online, analytics - providing insightful reports back to the business about the data that's being collected, and action - ways for the business to take meaningful action from that data. We like to call Purple an 'intelligent spaces platform'.

"Examples of how technology has changed how people shop include omni-channel shopping [eg the rise of click-and-collect), the ability to price check or 'showrooming' changing pricing models, social influence on product [eg Instagram], mobile payments. What's starting to come next is digital engagement as opposed to human.

"But technology has also changed how retailers operate."

Robert Brigham, managing director of Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports & the Snowboard Asylum, said online retail only accounted for 10 per cent of sales. He said: "It's still a very touchy feely market. We're trying to do more. Loyalty is a huge part of what we've got planned for the future.

"We're not doing 'spend = points' because that's Tesco but we're trying to be clever about it. That could include random acts of kindness. For example if you buy a Spider jacket that could cost £600 we might send you the matching Spider hat for free."

Asif Hamid is the chief executive of Birkenhead-based the Contact Company, which works for a variety of retailers and sees itself as part of the shopping journey.

He said: "We're the non-facing side of the brand. We work with the likes of River Island, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Argos and the Great Little Trading Co and we are an extension of their branded proposition.

"We're integrated. Retail is constantly changing because of technology."

Meanwhile, technology specialist UKFast provides the platform online for all kinds of companies to run websites, emails and applications that make their business work. Managing director Jonathan Bowers said that it works with a lot of retailers, with website speed being increasingly critical.

"One thing we discovered back in 2009, that still remains extremely relevant now, is that speed plays a huge role in relation to success on the internet," he explained.

"Nobody likes to queue so speed should be considered alongside conversion techniques, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click and email marketing as a crucial part of turning visitors into customers."

Zoe Brimelow (pictured) is the brand director of £25m-turnover company Duo UK, which manufactures three million plastic mailing bags a week and works with the likes of JD Williams, JD Sports, Tesco and ASOS.

She said: "Perception of postal packaging has changed, companies used to see this as nothing more than protection and opted for the lightest, most robust material that was functional and fast to pack outbound goods into.

"However, now design enhancements like carry handles, twin glue lines and engaging branding that captures the attention of passers-by as well as the shopper has transformed the mailing bag from a practical item to a marketing tool."

The breakfast was sponsored by 3P Logistics, UKFast and Weightmans.

As Featured in Insider Magazine

What do you get when you cross Social Media with Packaging?

Packaging that includes brand icons taps into the heart and minds of consumers. 

Social media and packaging may not seem in any way related but together they form a powerful marketing force that can really bring a brand to life! 

For brands, packaging is an important marketing tool to engage consumers and persuade them to buy a product.

Smart brands are using packaging concepts to increase online exposure, a great example being the use of hashtags on packaging to spread a social message. 

But the key to grasping the power of packaging and social media is to make the shopping experience personal to the customer in every way possible.

A great example of this is Coca-Cola's campaign #ShareACoke, where the company replaced its logo with first names. 

 Share A Coke

Coca-Cola's personalised packaging helped to make a personal connection with customers and certainly increased motivation to share on social media! 

Coca-Cola then went a step further to ensure everyone was included in the campaign, adding a feature on its website where customers could personalise their own bottle.

The campaign went down a storm on social media, especially on Twitter, with 235,000 tweets shared throughout the campaign, from 111,000 fans, using the #ShareACoke hashtag.

By using unique social media icons on branded packaging, businesses aren't just creating something to look good - they are selling and engaging people into the brand itself.

Social networks are used by 2 billion people worldwide and more than two thirds of the UK are active on social networks. This huge audience provides the perfect channel to promote a brands personality and values and connect with customers on a more personal level.

Packaging is a really versatile and powerful marketing tool. Packaging items such as mailing bags used for ecommerce deliveries and luxury paper bags used for retail store sales, can be printed with anything from bold designs to intricate images. With small print runs available, it is now possible to order specific packaging to coincide your social media campaigns. View our full range of packaging products that can be personalised for your brand.

This is also featured in The Juice Academy Blog

Get social with Duo @DuoUK

Bucking the 'FOUR ELEMENTS' Trend

The design of packaging can now make or break a company's sales success.

Sales success is about first impressions and reflecting a brand's ethos in the way it wraps its products. The four key elements of packaging design used to be; it must be seen, it must be engaging, it must communicate a message, and it must sell.

We've seen a significant shift in attitude to packaging over the past couple of years. Mail order companies used to see packaging as nothing more than protection and opted for the lightest, most robust material that was functional and fast to pack outbound goods into.

However, now design enhancements like carry handles, twin glue lines and engaging branding that captures the attention of passers-by, as well as the shopper, has transformed the mailing bag from a practical item to a marketing tool.

Packaging designs are now also frequently including social media icons to encourage customers to engage with the brand online. We carried out a study that showed a clear link between how luxury items are packaged and repeat purchases. The study showed a number of halo effects with gift-wrapped purchases, including an increased propensity to repeat order (35%) and more likely to recommend to a friend (20%). 

As featured in Packaging Gazette 

February 2016

Investors in People Assessment In The Bag

Blog post by Nikita Briggs, Digital Marketing Apprentice

Duo have successfully passed their Investors in People assessment! Before joining Duo I was unaware of what Investors in People was, but after learning about the principles and seeing how Duo have accomplished this, I now understand value the benefits this accreditation brings to a business and its employees.

I started here at Duo in August 2014. This was a summer placement and I gained work experience in each of the Office Departments. Once my summer placement had ended in September I returned to college. At this point in time I was a little unsure whether I wanted to go to university but knew I wanted to work in marketing. Zoe Brimelow the Brand Director sat with me and discussed the different routes and options I could go down and one was to do a marketing apprenticeship. I loved the idea of this and I was given the fantastic opportunity of being an apprentice here at Duo. Zoe had guided me to the first step of my future which I was very grateful for and I feel my career path is starting to build the way that I need. I have regular training and also attending The Juice Academy where I learn about Social Media and Digital Marketing. Marketing as a whole really interested me and I loved the concept that it is constantly changing.

As an Investor in People Duo has a strong focus on employee training and development. This is a great benefit to my career journey because I have the opportunity to constantly improving my performance and in turn help the business achieve its goals. Earlier this year Duo launched their new Key Performance Indicators and all employees were asked to contribute their ideas about how Duo can achieve the KPI's. I took part and I found this was a great task for me as I had just started in the business and I was learning lots of key things about marketing particularly in Duo. Each department brainstormed what we thought could improve Duo and help achieve the KPI's. Then each department had their own objectives and all of these together created the business plan. This gave me a good understanding of how the business runs as we knew these would help us achieve the ending results. By setting objectives and the four Key Performance Indicators together we will get the results that we need to succeed.

Duo have an employee Performance Development Review System which I feel is a great idea to give the manager and employee to talk and listen to how the employee wanted to develop their skills. The PDS has links to the Key Performance Indicators and also the brand values. All the team had training on how to get the most out of their PDS and how to complete this. This helped me because it made me think about what I wanted to achieve and the skills I wanted to develop in the next 12months.

Working with a company who is an Investor in People is a benefits to you as a customer because it shows they are focussed on future improvements offering you stability and confidence. Duo has many long term customer relationships and always looks for customers' feedback about how we can improve our products and services to add value to their businesses.  

During my time at Duo I have gained a lot of confidence in myself. I've learnt so many things and I am very grateful to all of Duo for the support and efforts so far in my career. If you asked me 2 years ago where would I be? I wouldn't believe or have the confidence to be where I am now. And that's all because of Duo being an Investor in People! They helped me believe in myself.  



Make your packaging all part of the selling point

As featured in Retail Packaging

Claudio Lugli

Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director at Duo UK, explains how…

The four key elements of retail packaging design used to be:

1. It must be seen

2. It must be engaging

3. It must communicate a message

4. It must sell.

However, with e-commerce named as the fastest growing retail market in Europe, consideration must also be product protection and customer convenience which is specifically relevant for online retail packaging.

Here at Duo UK, we've seen a significant shift in attitude to packaging over the past couple of years. Mail order companies used to see packaging as nothing more than protection and opted for the lightest, most robust material that was functional and fast to pack outbound goods into. Design, aesthetics, customer convenience and usability were usually a secondary concern.

However, design enhancements such as carry handles, twin glue lines and engaging branding that captures the attention of passersby, as well as the shopper, has transformed the mailing bag.  The mailing bags has transitioned from a practical item to a marketing tool that can increase brand awareness as well as improve the customers shopping experience and increase likelihood of a repeat sale and recommendation.

MY BAG

Navid Salimian, Marketing Manager at luxury Italian clothing brand Claudio Lugli agrees the design of the packaging is critical to the success

Absolute attention to detail is essential of e-commerce brands. Navid said: "When we were preparing our online store launch, packaging was high on our priority list - we were looking for packaging that reflected the luxury and heritage of our high-end Italian tailored products. Our customers are buying luxury garments and we want them to feel excited by our packaging - it creates a first impression that lasts a long time and reaffirms the brand ethos and values. Our products are renowned for their loud prints and we're not shy about making a statement, but for that reason our packaging design is very minimalist, sleek, and professional. This way, the product does the talking and the excitement builds as the customer opens the package to find their purchase."

Mailing bag designs have become more elaborate as retailers capitalise on the increased visibility these bags get outside of the home through the rise of click and collect services. From new product launches to seasonal trends reflected in the colour of the bags, packaging items are now embraced by marketing teams to promote the brand and key marketing messages.

Marketeers and designers are so tuned-in to the clout social media has with certain audiences, packaging designs are now frequently seeing the inclusion of social media icons to encourage customers to engage with the brand online.

FIRST BITE

Get your packaging pitch right for e-commerce.

Sales success is about first impressions and reflecting a brand's ethos in the way it wraps its products - a luxury brand for example, may require elaborate luxurious packaging materials so the opulent customer experience begins from the minute they collect and touch their parcel or leave a store with their newly purchased products.

We carried out a study that showed a clear link between how luxury items are packaged and repeat purchases. The study found that 61% of men and 63% of women felt that receiving a professionally gift-wrapped product made the item 'extra special'. Among 18-24 year olds this figure rose to 72%. Consumers also associated a number of positive halo effects with gift-wrapped purchases including:

  • An increased propensity to repeat order (35%)
  • An improved perception of value for money (25%)
  • Improved brand image (25%)
  • More likely to recommend to a brand to a friend (20%)
  • A belief that a brand invests more in customer service (20%)

In the same vein, for the growing number of eco-conscious customer (a report by Perception Research Services showed that 65% of UK consumers welcome environmentally friendly packaging), brands are keen to operate in a more sustainable way and promote their environmental credentials. Responsible retail giant, and Duo UK client, JD Williams, are always looking for ways to conduct business in a more socially responsible way and have incorporate this commitment to sustainability in their packaging design by communicating to the consumer how to recycle or reuse the product. This sort of direct call to action is an effective way to engage with consumers on a subject they're passionate about.

SUS IT OUT

Advancements in packaging materials, and in particular in polythene make it possible to use a 100% sustainable packaging material that is also carbon negative (GreenPE), and we've found many brands want to share this commitment to the environment in the design of their packaging. In the competitive retail environment, brands that connect with their audience through shared beliefs and values plus offer a customer centric purchasing journey can benefit from an increase opportunity for repeat sales.

Download the full article here

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.

 

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