Sustainability practices at Industrial Packaging

Seedling growing in the sunlight

So what is sustainability? To achieve sustainability in business - as a producer, employer and contributor to society and the economy - lots of things come into play:

  • maintaining high quality, lean and efficient production
  • using quality, responsibly sourced materials
  • setting realistic pricing
  • providing excellent customer service
  • ensuring compliance
  • mitigating risks. 

All of these are key in ensuring our future. Strong financial performance is also critical, because without that, we could not invest in sustainability efforts.

But in this section, we are going to focus on environmental sustainability and social sustainability policies and practices. We believe that strong performance in these areas is a responsibility, as an established Irish manufacturing business. But we also believe that our efforts provide a competitive advantage for ourselves AND our customers. 

Valuing the environment: moving towards a circular economy

We have an Environmental Sustainability Policy in place, to ensure that business needs are balanced with environmental concerns. This helps to ensure we are reducing emissions and combating climate change as much as we possibly can.

75 litre fibre drum with fully kraft body Enviroloc 75 litre fibre drum with fully kraft body

EFFICIENT MANUFACTURING WITH A LOW ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

We manufacture our products as efficiently as possible. The majority of the products we manufacture are fibre or cardboard, made with mainly renewable materials; requiring much less water or energy use than alternatives made of other materials; and producing much less emissions.

(The European Association of Fibre Drum Manufacturers lists the full environmental qualities of fibre drums and commitments of their European producers.) Still, we have energy efficiency and emissions reduction targets in production, as throughout our operations.

We also constantly think about how to make our product range even more environmentally friendly, to help our customers be more sustainable and extend our impact beyond our walls. For example, in 2021, we further improved the climate credentials of our Enviroloc drum, by removing the plastic base reinforcement option, making these drums fully kraft.

Reconditioned 1000 litre IBC tank with wooden pallet Reconditioned 1000 litre IBC tank with wooden pallet

In addition to manufacturing our own products, we distribute products manufactured by others. When we enter into these partnerships, we inform ourselves about these producers’ sustainability practices, aiming to work with companies who are as committed as we are. You can find more information about the commitments of the main suppliers of our plastic industrial containers on their respective websites: Greif and Curtec. We have also started in recent years to supply reconditioned containers from Packaging Laundry, to encourage packaging reuse, in a move towards a more circular economy.

MEASURABLE TARGETS

Not only have we processes in place to ensure compliance with all Irish and EU legislative requirements on a continuous basis, but we also continually assess activities with the specific goal of preventing pollution and minimising environmental impact. We set measurable annual targets to help us improve all the time. This results in undertakings such as replacing old equipment, altering processes to reduce energy demand and implementing energy efficiency practices throughout the premises, where possible.

A recent example is the implementation, throughout our factories and production areas, of LED lighting which automatically adjust up and down depending on the amount of natural light coming into the factory through the roof. This has reduced energy consumption on lighting by 20%. Our next step is to install solar panels on the roofs of both factories to power our lighting and production. We hope to achieve this by 2023 (although this goal may be affected by the increases in costs which have resulted from Covid).  

A factory operator undertaking quality assurance paperwork A factory operator undertaking quality assurance

WASTE REDUCTION

Waste reduction is a major priority for us.

In our sort of business, high volumes of waste can be generated due to poor quality product being produced, then rejected at Quality Control stage. This happens for a number of reasons, including technical failure of machines, operator errors and raw material quality or specification issues. We make great efforts to prevent these things occurring, firstly by meticulously cleaning, maintaining and routinely upgrading our machinery. We also ensure that good operator training and staff retention measures are in place. And we only buy raw materials from approved tested suppliers and quality check the material before it goes into production.

Unavoidable waste is separated by waste stream so it can be recycled.

ENGAGEMENT

We ensure that employees have the knowledge, resources and authority to implement the guiding principles of our Environmental Policy and we communicate about environmental issues on a continuous basis with staff at every level.

Our Environmental Management System has been independently assessed by Certification Europe, who awarded us the relevant certification: ISO 14001:2015.

Symbols showing three different types of quality certification
Valuing people: ensuring health and safety

We recognise the social and economic importance of protecting the health and safety of anyone affected by our operations and we are committed to leading by example in social sustainability.

This commitment includes the provision of safe and healthy working conditions, as well as training, instruction, supervision, safety devices and protective equipment to enable employees to perform their work safely and efficiently.

It includes consulting with employees on issues relating to occupational health and safety and seeking expert advice from both in-house and external specialists.

We also communicate regularly about the importance of human health and safety with staff at all levels and conduct regular risk assessments, with the participation of employees.

Our Occupational Health & Safety Management System has been independently assessed by Certification Europe, who awarded us the relevant certification: ISO 45001:2018.