Eco credentials have never been more important for British businesses. It makes sense for companies to invest in being environmentally aware, not only from a financial point of view, but also in both ethical and practical terms.
The pressure to recycle and show an environmental conscience could not be more pertinent in manufacturing industry. And while every company has a responsibility to recycle and show respect for the environment, we don’t believe there is any reason to only do the bear minimum to meet these requirements.
Here at Bridgewood, we think recycling should be an integral part of any manufacturing operation, which is why we are happy to lead by example.
Identifying the challenges
Plastic is, in many respects, one area where recycling remains difficult – and not only from a commercial perspective. It’s estimated that out of the 5 million tonnes of plastic used in the UK each year, just 29% is recovered or recycled.
In light of this, we have identified several opportunities to make our vacuum forming processes more environmentally sound.
We make every effort during the manufacturing process to keep our waste to a minimum. Adopting the latest, most precise CAD-CAM technology ensures as little plastic is wasted as possible.
Recycling during the vacuum forming process
We make a concerted effort to collect all the offcuts created during the trimming process using dedicated recycling containers.
They are then taken away for recycling, which involves re-grinding the plastic so it can be reconstituted at a later stage and used elsewhere in our operation. The product is cleaned and any additional debris removed so the plastic is ready to be extruded back into a sheet that can once again be used for vacuum forming for appropriate applications. This keeps our costs down, while showing our commitment to the wider environment.
This is a practice that is promoted by the British Plastics Federation, yet still isn’t always prevalent across the manufacturing sector. The group acknowledges that the secondary process of trimming the vacuum-formed material is where the potential for recycling arises – and where we are only too willing to conform.
Choosing the right material
Vacuum forming – and more precisely the use of thermoplastics – is one way in which we aim to reduce our impact on the environment. In the event that a moulding may not go as planned, we can be safe in the knowledge that the sheet of thermoplastic can be reused where appropriate, or recycled for another project.
Got a question or need help?
If you’d like to find out more information about how Bridgewood UK can help you design and manufacture high-quality plastic parts for your business, please give us a call on 01482 646464.