Sustainability and the conservation of resources is a global issue that is now having a profound effect on Point of Sale industry. Multiple factors from material sourcing, design and manufacturing techniques, life cycle analysis, recycling and waste management, can influence sustainability and our attitude towards the environment.
Alplas is committed to environmental responsibility and minimising environmental impact. Our published Environmental Policy heads up our whole approach to the environment and the help we can give you to help your customers and the public care for the environment.
Alplas is certified to UKAS accredited ISO 14001 - the international environmental standard which gives a systematic way to discover, control and reduce the impact on the environment.
Two areas impact most significantly on carbon footprint & sustainability:
Alplas manufactures many products at its UK factory and some of these products have equivalents sourced from around the world, particularly the Far East. UK/EU production for UK/EU product use reduces the carbon footprint when compared with Far East production and 5000+ miles shipping.
The products that a company places onto the market directly affect sustainability. Alplas continually researches into and tests new materials to reduce the carbon footprint and improve sustainability. Injection moulded and extruded products can be made from different plastics as follows:
Most general purpose plastics include materials such as polypropylene, PVC and styrene. Display products made from conventional plastics are like any other plastic household product, safe, clean, lightweight, strong and fully recyclable (subject to practicable waste stream availability). They will not biodegrade in the environment and therefore, with misuse, have the potential to reside in the environment with long term implications. These polymers are in worldwide commercial use but substitutes are being introduced, especially for single use packaging.
These are plastics which are intended to degrade or biodegrade with micro-organisms over time. Additives can be used in conventional plastics to help this process but to there is no substantive European certification for biodegradable products and residue substances, including those of the additives, can still occur in the environment. Alplas does not use degradable polymers.
These are products which are made from natural substances like starch or cellulose and will compost down into bio matter that will not harm the environment. ISO 17088:2012 sets the standard for these types of polymers including production from bio based materials such as corn. These polymers are fully compostable into carbon dioxide, water and biomass, leaving no toxic residue and this is known as 'renewable carbon'. The Polylactic Acid (PLA) products used by Alplas meet the European Standard EN13432 for compostability related to packaging, subject to maximum layer thickness criteria. The technology and commerciality of these polymers and the applicable standards continue to develop.