As a company, we believe that finding ways of being more sustainable is crucial. Everyone’s talking about the ‘Blue Planet Effect’, and many individuals are doing their best to reduce plastic consumption as a result.
We believe that business also has a duty with regard to sustainability, as it is here that the big impacts will take effect. In fact, we have ambitious plans for making our company and our products much more sustainable, but more of that in future blogs.
However, we’ve already begun the process of rolling out sustainable products and processes. Like many companies, we are changing our lighting to LED throughout the business, are recycling more, and are changing our waste company from one that burns all its waste to one that will recycle as much of it as possible.
We have already begun selling a more eco-friendly product – our Marine Display Fabric is made entirely from plastic bottles that have been taken from the ocean. Not only does this substrate come from recycled products, but the material is also recyclable itself – once it’s served its purpose, it will be made into surfaces for horse riding establishments to lessen the strain on horses’ joints when they’re being worked. When it comes to the end of its equestrian life, the materials will then be recycled again, this time into traffic cones.
There is much debate about the sustainability of PVC, but the fact is that PVC is one of the best-suited materials for use in our industry. The main problem with using non-PVC polymers is that if you want to mount something, there’s not much choice when it comes to materials you can use, and you may end up using a combination of polymers that’s ultimately not recyclable. Additionally, more energy is consumed when making non-PVC polymers than when producing PVC.
The downside of PVC is the toxin – phthalates. However, these are locked in and will only be released in temperatures of 250oC and above.
A key plus point is that, unlike the alternatives, PVC is recyclable. So if you continue to reuse it and not put it in landfill or incinerate it, it is surely a more sustainable material than the single-use alternatives.
Apart from being the right thing to do, there are solid business reasons why all companies, including ours, need to take bigger sustainability steps, centred around the old-fashioned values of supply and demand. There is such a big demand for sustainability that even the major brands are embracing it. For example, one of the main sponsor of the 2020 Olympics is Nike which has put a heavy emphasis on sustainability, including in the official USA team uniforms, all of which are made from recycled materials. It is demanding the same commitment to sustainability from all its suppliers as well, meaning that in order to get a Nike contract, a company must be able to use sustainable materials, even down to using cardboard packaging and eco-friendly sticky tape.