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.
We have 3 areas where we control and can pass on our reduced carbon footprint and sustainability:
As one of the very few UK POS Display accessory manufacturers, Alplas is working towards a carbon neutral future with projects aimed at energy reduction and maximised re-cycling. Alplas has adopted an energy efficiency programme including things such as PIR sensor controlled LED lighting), the near 100% re-cycling of our polymer waste and both in-house and waste stream recycling of packaging.
Most of our products are made right here in Essex and some of these have equivalents that other companies source around the world, particularly the Far East. UK/EU production for UK/EU product use dramatically reduces the supply journey (by 5000+ miles), reducing carbon footprint emissions.
The greatest impact we can have in helping reduce the wider carbon footprint is with the products we place upon the market. Alplas is continually researching, testing and adopting sustainable polymers as well as avoiding unsustainable and problematic polymers as follows:
Most POS accessory products are made from general purpose plastics such as nylon, polypropylene and styrene, like other plastic, multi-use household products – safe, clean, strong and generally fully recyclable (subject to waste stream availability). They will not bio-degrade in the environment and therefore, with misuse have the potential to reside in the environment with long term implications. However, conventional polymers are best for recycling and Alplas assists waste stream management be ensuring that our products are marked with their polymer type.
These are usually conventional plastics with an additive and these are known as Oxo-degradable or Oxo-biodegradable plastics. There is no substantive European certification for these products and residue substances, including the additives themselves, or micro plastics can remain in the environment. Alplas does not use so-called degradable or biodegradable plastics.
These are plastics that have been sourced from other earlier use and recycled into new usable polymers. Alplas is the first company in our sector to adopt AO Recycling’s (see https://ao- recycling.com High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) for some of its products. This polymer is made from the recycling of old refrigerators and in doubling the use of the polymer the overall manufacturing carbon footprint is significantly reduced. Alplas also uses recycled polypropylene (PP) from post- consumer waste and has an ongoing R&D programme to expand use of recycled polymers.
These plastics 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 types of polymers, including production from bio based materials such as corn. In the right industrial composting facilities these polymers are fully compostable into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. This leaves no toxic residue and is known as renewable carbon. The polylactic acid polymer (corn based) used by Alplas meets the available European standard EN13432 for compostability related to packaging, subject to maximum layer thickness criteria. The technology, commerciality and applicable standards of these polymers continues to develop and Alplas follows these developments.