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Waste Minimisation Award: Nampak Plastics

Nampak Plastics, one of the UK’s leading producers of high density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles, manufactures around two billion bottles every year. Sustainability is at the heart of its business: from its commitment to creating innovative, lightweight packaging solutions to staff understanding of how its manufacturing processes impact on the environment.

In 2012, after a four-year design process, Nampak launched its Infini bottle which uses up to 25% less material than a ‘standard’ bottle, depending on size. That means annual savings of 16,000 tonnes of material and 34,000 tonnes of carbon. To minimise waste even further, Nampak recently started trials of a 32g four-pint Infini bottle, which is 20% lighter than a standard four-pinter. But more importantly, if Infini was to become the bottle of choice, it would reduce the overall amount of resin used in UK milk packaging by 30,000 tonnes - a 25% saving.

Another important aspect of Infini is that it uses 15% recycled HDPE and Nampak is currently taking this even further and conducting trials with 30% rHDPE. More than 80 million Infini bottles have been produced and sold to date in retailers including Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

In September 2012, Nampak also achieved a key goal of ‘zero waste to landfill’ following a company-wide drive to enhance sustainability through recycling and waste management.

The judges said: “For mainstream waste prevention and technical achievement this is great. This organisation has set a whole new benchmark – 25% less material is huge.  In the context of plastic recycling we are putting this up as the best, it has a huge impact even though it seems like a small thing.”

University of Bradford – Highly commended

From 2007 University of Bradford has operated a very successful and holistic programme of waste minimisation projects, using all of the elements of the waste hierarchy.

It achievements include a 31% drop in total waste production and a 76% reduction in the amount sent to landfill per full-time equivalent student. Its landfill diversion rate was 83% in 2011/12 and despite rising waste disposal costs, its total waste disposal costs have been brought down by 59%.

Savings from the project of £261k dwarf the £111k invested, giving a payback time of 3.8 years. The project has not required any net increase in operational staff, simply a reorganisation of activities within the facilities management teams. Communications and engagement form a major part of the initiative, as well as partnering with external organisations to maximise reuse opportunities.

Initiatives include collecting up end of term reusable items and giving them to new students the year after at no cost and composting food waste for use on staff and student allotments.

Finalists:

  • Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering
  • Freegle Brighton
  • OiLChef c/o EcoFriendly4U
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Plastic Surgeon

Sponsor’s comment from CDEnviro:

CDEnviro offers a range of waste reduction and recycling equipment to the sewage and wastewater treatment sectors.

CDEnviro have developed a reputation as market leaders in the design and manufacture of high performance, high efficiency materials recovery and recycling systems. These systems have been developed for application in a wide variety of areas to substantially reduce waste to landfill and maximise the production of commercial grade products from a number of waste streams.

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