21st Dec 2021

How to Spot Environmentally Friendly Manufacturing Companies

Sustainability is a topic that's becoming more prominent on business agendas across the world. Today, both consumers and auditors want to see that you're doing everything in your power to reduce your carbon footprint. Not just from your operations, but from the companies you work with too.

So, when looking for a manufacturing partner, it's vital to keep a close eye on how they prove their green credentials. Many manufacturers claim to be eco-friendly, but how do you tell if they practice what they preach? 

As a starting point, look at their environment protection policy. Check whether their environmental management system is accredited to ISO 14001:2015 or similar. This is an international standard that shows they're taking a systematic approach to how they manage their eco responsibilities. 

Next, you need to find out what actions they're taking to honour the Waste Hierarchy. 

What is the Waste Hierarchy?

The Waste Hierarchy is a model used to rank waste management options according to what's best for the environment. It features five stages:

  1. Reduce: Extending product life while using fewer materials in the manufacturing process
  2. Reuse: Repairing, refurbishing, or cleaning items to give them a second life
  3. Recycle: Any process where waste is repurposed into a new product
  4. Recover: Recovering energy and materials from waste
  5. Disposal: Disposing of waste in landfills or via other methods such as incineration  

Download our whitepaper. Discover how the right filtration partner can benefit  your people and your process. 

How environmentally friendly manufacturing companies reduce waste

Environmentally friendly manufacturing companies focus their waste reduction efforts at the top of the hierarchy. They prioritise preventing waste from being created in the first place, and ensure disposal is the last resort.

Here are some of the best practices to look out for when deciding who to partner with:

Minimising waste in the production process

Green manufacturers are dedicated to ensuring their facilities and operations are as eco-efficient and waste-free as possible. This could mean:

  • Fitting solar panels onto the roofs of buildings to harness renewable energy
  • Minimising water usage in operations via methods such as reverse osmosis
  • Setting timers on air-con controls so they aren't left on overnight 
  • Regularly upgrading tools and equipment to be more energy efficient 
  • Saving energy by replacing incandescent lighting with LED lights 
  • Recycling waste generated in production 

Reducing packaging waste

While robust packaging is essential for damage-free delivery in the supply chain, it can also be highly wasteful. Green manufacturers reduce this waste by keeping the packaging used in high-volume shipments to a minimum. This might involve wrapping items in bundles rather than individually, and packing them together in larger quantities so fewer boxes are required. 

Where possible, the packaging itself should be made of recyclable cardboard, rather than plastic. At Amazon Filters, we've seen how big of an environmental impact this can have. By using and recycling cardboard packaging, we reduced CO2 by 33,500kg in 2020. That's the equivalent of 32,359 trees planted.  

Extending product life 

The less you use, the less you waste. Eco-friendly manufacturers ensure you get the optimal products for your process, so they last as long as possible. This doesn't just benefit the planet - it also helps you save costs. 

For example, at Amazon Filters we work with our clients to ensure filters are correctly sized. This extends their life and reduces the number of used filters sent to the landfill. To give you an idea of how much this saves, the total lifetime costs of an incorrectly sized filter can add up to £1.55m. For a correctly sized filter, it's just £600k.     

Choosing a green manufacturer matters

Being a sustainable business isn't just about saving the planet or complying with regulations. Today's consumers want to feel good about the companies they buy from. Nearly 1 in 3 have stopped purchasing certain brands or products because of ethical or sustainability concerns.

To satisfy consumer demand, you need to ensure that all suppliers in your supply chain can prove they're committed to their environmental responsibilities. If you know how to spot an eco-friendly manufacturer, you can rest assured that your choice is green. 

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