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Fujifilm reduces the carbon footprint of its inks with innovative cleaning technology at its Broadstairs ink manufacturing facility

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  • Fujifilm switched to a more environmentally friendly cleaning technology at its Broadstairs ink manufacturing facility.
  • The company partnered with Terrafend, which develops and supplies sustainable cleaning solutions.
  • Fujifilm becomes the first company in the world to install an Ambimization® Proteus machine.
  • Ambimization® technology provides a revolutionary approach to cleaning by combining chemical and mechanical engineering.
  • The water-based cleaning fluids are non-flammable, non-carcinogenic and non-toxic.
  • Since installing the new technology, Fujifilm has significantly reduced its waste, carbon footprint and VOC emissions.

The FUJIFILM Specialty Ink Systems (FSIS) award-winning factory in Broadstairs, UK, manufactures high performance inks for a range of markets, including Uvijet wide format UV inkjet inks, and Sericol screen and flexo inks. The factory has implemented several sustainability initiatives over the last ten years and in the summer of 2022, it became the first ever company to trial the new-to-market Ambimization® fluids and Proteus pot wash machine from Terrafend.

Terrafend’s patented Ambimization® technology combines chemical and mechanical engineering to provide a revolutionary approach to cleaning. Ambimization® water-based fluids are non-flammable, non-carcinogenic and non-toxic. They work at ambient temperatures and can be used repeatedly before reaching end of life, thus reducing workplace risk, energy consumption, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Last year, Fujifilm onboarded Ambimization® technology in its analogue ink department in Broadstairs to clean its UV, water-based and solvent-based ink pots. The use of Ambimization®, in turn enabled Fujifilm to implement the Proteus pot wash machine. These new innovations replaced legacy cleaning equipment that used chemical solvents.

The Proteus machine cleans pots with a water-based Ambimization® fluid in a time-efficient manner, facilitating cost and energy savings, as well as reducing the use of VOCs and creating a safer working environment. It is a sustainable cleaning solution that aligns with Fujifilm’s commitments to promote the use of green technology.

Moving from solvent to water-based cleaning

Fujifilm’s old pot cleaning process involved solvents being sprayed on the walls of the mixing vessels at pressures in excess of 70 bars, thereby removing traces of the ink and decontaminating the surfaces of the pots. This method used around 72,000 litres of chemical-based solvent and generated around 22,000 litres of waste per year.

After the cleaning process, the used solvent, saturated with ink, was pumped into a 24,000 litre storage tank at the Broadstairs site. When full, the tank was drained by a specialist contractor and the solvent waste was removed from the site, via road tanker, to a chemical re-processor. At the re-processor, the waste was separated through distillation, enabling 75% of the solvent to be returned to Fujifilm and used again. A limitation of this method was its inefficiency, with 25% of the material being lost in the recycling process.

In stark contrast, the new Proteus machine and water-based fluids, generate minimal chemical waste and VOCs. With Ambimization®, Fujifilm has managed to reduce solvent waste output at its Broadstairs site. This is not only better for the environment, but safer and more pleasant for the on-site Fujifilm team who handle the ink pots before and after cleaning. Fujifilm has reduced its VOC emissions by 91% since switching to the Proteus and Ambimization® process.

Reduced fire risks & energy consumption

An additional safety benefit of Ambimization® is that it eliminates fire risk – and this is further facilitated by the Proteus machine. With the traditional cleaning method, the solvent formed fine aerosol particles during each cleaning event, because of the high pressure deployed. This created an explosive (ATEX) atmosphere. Although ATEX equipment was installed and steps were taken by staff to reduce this fire risk, the risk still posed a threat.

Moving forward with the more sustainable cleaning solution provided by the Proteus machine, Fujifilm will be able to remove all ATEX rated equipment and save on time that would otherwise have been spent on ATEX health and safety measures within the pot wash area. The Proteus machine is also expected to reduce energy usage by 110,000 kWh per year, making it a hugely worthwhile investment.

Key takeaways

Fujifilm’s ink R&D and manufacturing facility in Broadstairs, Kent, has regularly made the news as a four-time winner of the UK’s Best Process Plant in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, but it is for its sustainability initiatives that it is now rapidly creating waves.

Fujifilm has paved the way for more ink and coating manufacturers to implement Ambimization® by being the first company in the world to pioneer the technology. Since Fujifilm onboarded Ambimization® – and the Proteus pot wash machine – Terrafend has introduced the technology to seven additional international major coating and composite manufacturers.

Switching to Ambimization® has delivered the following objectives:

  1. Provided a green / sustainable pot cleaning process
  2. Reduced VOC emissions at the Broadstairs site
  3. Reduced energy consumption by approximately 110,000 kWh per year during the pot cleaning process
  4. Future-proofed the Broadstairs site’s pot cleaning capability
  5. Eliminated the Broadstairs site’s DSEAR risk

Gary Burgess, Manufacturing and CI Manager at FUJIFILM Speciality Ink Systems, comments: “We’re thrilled to be the first company in the world to have trialled an Ambimization® Proteus machine, installed at our Broadstairs ink manufacturing site. Although the digital ink market continues to grow, screen and flexo inks are still used for a number of printing applications. We’ve taken a step to reduce waste and energy when it comes to cleaning our ink pots. During the process, we’ve also reduced VOC emissions and eliminated the site’s largest risk.”

Emily Cassius, Head of Business Development at Terrafend, adds: “This cleaning technology has huge potential to help leading brands – like Fujifilm – to operate more efficiently while reducing risk, waste and carbon footprints. We are pleased to have helped them boost their sustainability credentials and look forward to a continued partnership.”

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Case Study: Jet Press 750S HSM & 720S Commercial Printers

Ebro Color

Étude de cas

Packaging printer Ebro Color benefits from multiple Jet Press installations, thanks to quality and food-safe ink.

Ebro Color

Albstadt, Germany

Jet Press 750S HSM & 720S

Highlights

  • Ebro Color is a cardboard packaging print specialist based in Albstadt, Germany, with a 90-year history.
  • The company invested in Fujifilm’s Jet Press 720S in 2018 to be more cost-efficient and offer greater flexibility to customers.
  • Has now become first adopter in Europe of Fujifilm’s new FS-1 food-safe ink, used in combination with the Jet Press 720S Commercial Printer.
  • Invested in the Jet Press 750S High Speed Model in late 2021, which has resulted in even more business growth.
  • Also use an Acuity B1 for large format packaging products.
  • Values their partnership with Fujifilm and considers their investment a success.

With our Fujifilm investments, we make significant savings on waste, downtime, and consumables, helping us and our customers to contribute to a more circular economy.

Allemand Brodbeck | Couleur de l'Èbre

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Based in Albstadt, southern Germany, Ebro Color is a modern, cardboard packaging print specialist with more than 90 years of history behind it. Founded in 1925, it has continually invested in new technologies over the years and now produces cardboard packaging and display units for a huge range of customers in a variety of sectors, from cosmetics to food, jewellery, and tourism. The business is run by brothers, and joint CEOs, German and Simon Brodbeck.

Back in 2018, though already something of a short-run specialist, offering run lengths as low as 25 units, the company decided to give itself even more flexibility and lower its costs further by making its first digital press investment. After a careful decision-making process, it chose to invest in the Fujifilm Jet Press 720S Commercial Printer, after being impressed by its quality and reliability.

“The Jet Press 720S gave us the ability to offer ultra-short-run jobs (down to runs of one) both quickly and profitably, enabled us to produce high quality samples and prototypes, and to seriously target the end user market and move our business to an online model for the first time.” Explains German Brodbeck.

More recently, the company has become the first in Europe to use the Jet Press 720S Commercial Printer with Fujifilm’s new FS-1 food-safe ink.

“In the past, we had to produce all food safe packaging for our customers on offset, regardless of run length.” continues Mr. Brodbeck. “Using the Jet Press 720S with Fujifilm’s food-safe ink has given us the option to produce food safe packaging products quicker, at a much lower cost, offering us the flexibility to produce both short and long run lengths. The press is much easier to use with significantly less downtime, and greater environmental benefits, so we could not be more pleased with the investment. One of our main concerns was if the quality of print produced on the press would be affected, but we were delighted that both the quality and reliability has remained the same and the difference to offset is undetectable.”

“We are using it to produce not only food packaging but also toy and cosmetic packaging, due to customer health and safety concerns and regulations surrounding these products. Ultimately, it is helping us to run our business more efficiently and take on a broader range of work.”

Additionally, Ebro Color invested in the Jet Press 750S High Speed Model in October 2021.

“Following the business success we saw after using the Jet Press 720S, we decided to invest in the 750S High Speed Model to keep up with growing customer demand. Our main reason for choosing this press was the output and large print volumes it could produce. It has enabled us to keep downtime to a minimum, especially during our peak season, and alleviated pressure elsewhere in the factory, allowing us to move many jobs from offset to digital.

“Another key reason for this investment was the sustainability benefits it offered. As a packaging business, sustainability is at the forefront of our customers’ minds. With our Fujifilm investments, we make significant savings on waste, downtime, and consumables, helping us and our customers to contribute to a more circular economy.”

Ebro Color also has an Acuity B1, which it is using to print large format packaging products.

“Typically, there are a lot of teething problems when a new press is installed, but with all of our Fujifilm investments, we were able to start using them out of the box, with seamless integration into our existing workflow. Communication with Fujifilm is excellent, and they are always readily available to support us. We’ve worked with Fujifilm for many years, and for both commercial digital and wide format solutions.“ Concludes Mr. Brodbeck.

“The first use of the food-safe ink in Europe represents decades of innovation from Fujifilm and marks an exciting time for the digital print industry.” Comments Taro Aoki, Head of Digital Press Solutions, Fujifilm EMEA. “We are delighted to see how the combination of the Jet Press and our food safe ink have been real game changers for Ebro Color’s business over the years. We are excited to be able to continue this long term partnership with Ebro and look forward to seeing what is next for them.”

Jet Press 750S High Speed Model

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Technologie d'impression numérique pour une économie circulaire

This white paper has been published by Fujifilm as part of its commitment to deliver technically advanced and sustainable printing solutions for the print industry

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Where does print fit in the circular economy?

From books, newspapers, magazines and brochures to folders, annual reports and packaging, print remains a vital and highly effective branding, marketing and communications tool. But in an age of heightened environmental concern and ‘net zero’ carbon reduction targets, how can print be used in the most efficient and responsible way? In this white paper, we take a look at how the latest digital printing technology is dramatically cutting waste and making recycling much easier.

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We must do more

As part of the “European Green Deal” project, there is an action plan for the EU to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy, restore biodiversity and cut pollution, and be climate neutral by 2050. To achieve this goal, action must be taken at all levels. Switching to renewable energy will, on its own, reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by only 55%. The remaining 45% of emissions come from the way we make and use products, which means working smarter and wasting less.

Fujifilm is committed to fully integrating print into the circular economy. Net zero doesn’t have to mean online only – print will always have a vital role to play, and we’re committed to making sure it can always play that role efficiently, effectively and sustainably.

The way we print is changing

The graphics industry has many analogue techniques which, especially when used for bespoke or short run work, have an enormous impact on the environment.

Now, thanks to the latest developments in digital print technology, there are machines which can print while also:

• Massively reducing raw material use
• Using fewer and more sustainable consumables
• Needing far fewer parts replacing
• Producing less waste
• Consuming less water
• Producing 100% recyclable printed products

This technology is moving print from the linear to the circular economy in which everyone has a role to play in keeping our planet liveable and our prosperity intact.

Design for Environment

The FUJIFILM Group undertakes environmentally conscious product development based on its design for environment initiative.

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As part of its wider global Sustainable Value Plan 2030 (SVP2030), Fujifilm undertakes environmentally conscious product development based on its design for environment initiative. This considers the entire lifecycle of a product, from procurement, manufacturing, transportation, use to the eventual disposal, to set targets from the perspective of climate change mitigation (reduced power use, etc.). From the design stage, the “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle” principle of resource saving, risk reduction of chemical substances, and biodiversity are all considered as part of the development process.

This approach is applied not only to materials and standalone equipment, but also to software and solutions in a bid to reduce environmental impact in the society as a whole. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is conducted to achieve a quantitative and objective assessment of the environmental impact of a product. The environmental label is also used for active dissemination of information.

“Green Value Products” Certification Program

In an effort to “contribute to resolving environmental issues in society through our products and services,” as set out in the Sustainable Value Plan targeted for FY2030, Fujifilm introduced a “Green Value Products” certification program in FY2018.  This program compliments the company’s existing internal regulations on design for environment, and aims to clarify any product’s environmental values and involves the certification of products exhibiting outstanding environmental credentials.

This certification program sets certain priorities to the certification criteria according to the product category and the use and features of each product through its entire life cycle. Fujifilm then clarifies the environmental value of each product by conducting environmentally conscious design assessments based on such certification criteria at the time of product development. Certain products are then selected for certification based on the total score of each assessment item. These products are reviewed and approved by the Group Certification Council, and finally certified as a Fujifilm “Green Value Product”.

The certification criteria are determined for the entire life cycle of each product with a different weight for each assessment item, by comprehensively assessing the environmental items such as “measures for climate change,” “resource saving and recycling,” “risk minimisation for chemical substances,” and “biodiversity” as well as considering the social requirements for each business/product category.

This certification program is implemented in compliance with the requirements of the international standard “ISO14021 Self-declared Environmental Claims” and obtains the opinions of external experts in order to ensure the objectivity, reliability, and transparency of the program.

Certification ranking and criteria

Fujifilm classifies its products into three certification ranks (diamond, gold, and silver) according to the degree of their contribution to the reduction of environmental impact.

RankCertification criteria
DiamondProducts and services that user their respective industries’ innovative technologies to substantially contribute to reducing environmental impact
GoldProducts and services that reduce environmental impact at their respective industries’ highest level
SilverProducts and services that reduce environmental impact at a higher level than their respective industries’ standard

Product examples

In Fujifilm’s Graphic Arts business, the following products have been certified for their environmental performance:

Jet Press 750S High Speed Model:  GOLD

Effects on reduction of environmental impact:

  • Many of the consumables associated with conventional offset printing are eliminated
  • Significantly reduces the amount of wasted paper
  • Smaller footprint compared to previous models
  • The efficient drying mechanism reduces drying times, contributing to significantly higher speeds, and saving power
  • Excellent paper recycleability (de-inking ability)

Overall, there are significant reductions in resources, water use and waste compared to equivalent offset presses, with excellent paper recycling.

Revoria Press PC1120:                      SILVER

The requirements of major environment labels for energy consumption, hazardous substances, audible sound levels during operation and recyclable design are satisfied.

Revoria E1 Series:                             SILVER

The requirements of major environment labels for energy consumption, hazardous substances, audible sound levels during operation and recyclable design are satisfied.

Sustainability targets and the environment

Fujifilm has comprehensive targets relating to sustainability and the environment which lay the foundations for its business management strategies to achieve sustainable growth

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Fujifilm’s Sustainable Value Plan 2030 (SVP2030)

The Fujifilm Group announced its Sustainable Value Plan 2030 (SVP2030) in August 2017. The new plan set targeting FY2030 as its long-term goal, which is expected to lay the foundations of the Group’s business management strategies for sustainable growth. One of the key pillars of the SVP2030 is dedicated to the environment.

The environment and sustainability

There are four priority issues, regarding the environmental part of the SVP2030, each with its own set of targets:

  1. Address climate change
  2. Promote the recycling of resources
  3. Address energy issues towards a decarbonised society
  4. Ensure product and chemical safety

1. Address climate change

Reduce the Fujifilm Group’s own CO2 emissions

Reduce CO2 emissions across the entire product life cycle*1 by 50% by FY2030, compared to the FY2019 level

So far (2020) the progress is 15%, 29% of the way towards the target

 

Reduce CO2 emissions from its operations (Scope 1 and 2) *2 by 50% by FY2030, compared to the FY2019 level, aiming to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by FY2040

So far (2020) the progress is 6%, 13% of the way towards the target

 

Convert 50% of purchased electric power to renewable energy-derived power by FY2030

So far (2020) the progress is 9%, 18% of the way towards the target

Contribute to reduce CO2 emissions in society through the use of Fujifilm’s products and services.

Contribute to a reduction in the CO2 emissions generated by society by 90 million tons by FY2030

 

Fujifilm has recently increased its target for contributing to reducing CO2 emissions generated in society from 50 million tonnes to 90 million tonnes.  The aim is to achieve this by replacing conventional products with products that are more sustainable.

So far (2020) the progress is 20 million tonnes, 23% of the way towards the target

 

Increase the % of products certified as “Green Value Products” to 60% of group-wide sales by FY2030.

The Fujifilm Group operates the “Green Value Products” certification scheme, a mechanism for continually creating superior environmentally conscious products and services. In fiscal 2020, 30 new products were certified, bringing the total to 166 (32%), and the company increased the target for the number of products certified to 60% of group-wide sales. As such, Fujifilm is over half-way towards this target.

So far (2020) the progress is 32%, 53% of the way towards the target.

*1 Including phases such as procurement of materials, and manufacturing, transportation, usage and disposal of products.

*2 Direct emission from the company at the manufacturing stage of the product (Scope 1) and indirect emission due to the use of electricity / steam supplied from other companies (Scope 2).

Promote the recycling of resources

Reduce the amount of water the Fujifilm Group uses by 30% by FY2030 (compared to FY2013 levels)

The result in FY2020 was 16%, so the company is over half-way towards the goal of 30% by FY2030.

Contribute to the treatment of 35 million tonnes of water per year in society by FY2030

The result in FY2020 was 8 million tonnes, so the company is around 23% of the way towards the goal of 35 million tonnes by FY2030.

Reduce the amount of waste produced by the Fujifilm Group by 30% by FY2030 (compared to FY2013 levels)

Fujifilm has managed to ensure that the amount of waste produced by the Group did not increase in FY2020, despite rising revenues and an expansion of the business, but has not yet managed to make the reductions planned.  This is a key area of focus for the future.

Achieve a recycling index*3 of more than 10 by FY2030 (was 6.5 in FY2020)

Achieve a valuables conversion index*4 of more than 1 in FY2030 (was 0.63 in FY2020)

*3 Recycling index = (Recycled volume + Valuable-converted volume) / Simple disposal volume

*4 Valuables conversion index = Valuable-converted volume / Recycled volume

Address energy issues towards a decarbonised society

By contributing to the creation and widespread use of renewable energies through advanced materials, Fujifilm aims to help address energy issues and the move towards a decarbonised society. In particular, a New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) started the development of an “all solid state lithium-ion battery” – a next generation storage battery for electric vehicles, under an industry-government-academia collaboration. Fujifilm is participating in the project as one of 23 manufacturers of cars and batteries.

Ensure product and chemical safety

Under this objective, Fujifilm’s aim is to minimise the adverse effect of chemical substances on human health and the environment. In particular, Fujifilm completed the replacement of 2 of 7 chemical substances within the high priority substances for risk management, a new classification established in 2020.  In addition, Fujifilm held online briefings for business partners and achieved 90% understanding of the chemSHERPA chemical information communication system, contributing to further improvement of management accuracy for hazardous substances used in products.

Durabilité dans la fabrication

Fujifilm’s award-winning UV ink factory in the UK has implemented a wide range of initiatives to accelerate change towards a more sustainable operation

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Fujifilm’s award-winning factory in Broadstairs, UK, manufactures high performance inks for a range of markets, including Uvijet wide format UV inkjet inks, and Sericol screen and flexo inks. The company has implemented a number of sustainability initiatives over the last ten years, and more recently the recruitment of Antonina Realmuto as Group Sustainability Director, and Craig Milsted as Sustainability Advisor for the site, has brought about a much greater focus to accelerate change towards more sustainable operations.

When it comes to sustainability and protecting the earth, it’s important for us all to do more. Whether it’s consuming fewer products, opting for products with less packaging, or reducing waste – we must all play our part.

Fujifilm’s ink R&D and manufacturing facility in Broadstairs, Kent, has regularly made the news as a three-time winner of the UK’s Best Factory Award in 2011, 2013 and 2015, but it is for its sustainability initiatives that it is now rapidly creating waves.

Craig Milsted outlines the initiatives that have been implemented so far: “With the recent changes in personnel, including my own role, there is now a renewed focus on sustainability, and therefore a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes to help us operate more sustainably. This work is ongoing, but we have made a number of notable recent changes to our equipment and processes which are enabling us to operate in a more environmentally friendly way.

Big energy savings

“Firstly, we have massively cut back on our conventional energy use and have instead turned to alternative energy sources to help power our site. Back in 2016, we started to buy renewable electricity to power our factory, and in the same year installed many solar panels on the grassy grounds of our site. But in March this year, we expanded our solar power generation with the addition of panels on our site roof.

“We have an ongoing objective to generate more solar power over time and steps towards achieving this goal include reviewing our current processes and equipment. Through these checks, we have found that the solar panels on the roof are more effective than the ones on the ground, so we have repaired and improved those on the grass, while also scoping out new areas on our site where panels can be installed to effectively generate more solar power in the future.

“Our efforts so far have been successful – this year in June alone, our solar panels produced 82,240 kW of power. This is enough to power a typical  UK household for 26 years and is also 181% more power than the 29,185 kW produced in June 2021.

Since 2013, we’ve significantly cut back on the waste produced at our ink factory, and last year (2021), 689.7 tonnes of waste produced on site went for recycling.

Craig Milsted | Sustainability Advisor, Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems

“Another way that we have saved on conventional energy is by turning our factory HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems off overnight, which achieved savings of £183,000 – and 1 million kW – per year. We have also upgraded our factory’s gas boilers – some of which were more than 50 years old – with condensing boilers, and replaced gas heaters in the International Logistics Centre with infrared heaters.

“Meanwhile, in our R&D facility, we operate our air conditioning on a timer system to save energy, as well as turning off equipment overnight, where possible, when it is not being used. Additionally, we have installed multiple free-to-use electric car charging points across the site for our team members to use.

Impressive waste reduction

“But it’s not only energy consumption that we have been targeting.  Since 2013, we’ve significantly cut back on the waste produced at our ink factory, and last year (2021), 689.7 tonnes of waste produced on site went for recycling.

“Other initiatives include: 100% of our raw materials packaging is reused and recycled; we return 1000 litre IBCs for cleaning and reuse, rather than disposing of them; and a number of moulded components used as part of our ink pouches are made from recycled materials. Additionally, we now secure our pallets with straps rather than using shrink wrap, which reduces our waste by around 8 tonnes annually. We are also in the process of swapping plastic tape for paper tape.

“In R&D we have also achieved a 50% reduction in glass jar testing; a 38% reduction in end container testing for one litre bottles; a 74% reduction in end testing for five litre cubitainers; and we have cut back on the use of one, two and three litre pouches by 29%, 33% and 20% respectively. We are literally looking at every single part of our operation and making changes to reduce our environmental impact.

Smart cutbacks on solvents

“Overall, thanks to the printers we sell becoming more technologically advanced over the years, less ink is required during the printing process.  This is obviously a better and more sustainable situation in itself. However, you can’t print without ink – it’s the most crucial element of printing. So for the inks that we produce at our factory, previously we would typically use around 140,000 litres of oil-based solvents to clean the vessels used in our ink-making and mixing equipment.

“However, very recently we replaced our oil-based solvent cleaner with an 80% water-based (aqueous) cleaning solution, manufactured by a company called Safe Solvents. Coinciding with this, a first-of-its-kind pot washing machine, also supplied by Safe Solvents, was installed at the factory.

“Suitable for use with the new aqueous cleaning solution, the machine offers a significantly more efficient pot washing solution on our site. The aqueous cleaner and pot wash machine combo makes it possible for us to separate solvent and aqueous waste, and in the future, it could enable us to reuse the pots after they have been cleaned, and then when they are beyond reuse, have the clean plastic shredded and sent for further recycling.

Measuring and analysing is key

“The recently installed pot washing machine at Broadstairs is a world-first, so we look forward to reviewing our credentials in the future and seeing the difference it has made. The most important thing is that we continue to measure and analyse everything, as only by measuring can you improve.

“It really is a painstaking, but ultimately very rewarding process – we have achieved a great deal in the last 12 months with our renewed focus, but we are confident we can continue to make iterative improvements all over the site, across all areas of energy, waste and material reductions, to make this award-winning factory a world-class, sustainable one too.”

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