Since its formation back in 2008, sustainable manufacturing practices, along with environmentally friendly products, have been at the heart of Spectra's business values.

We have made significant efforts to ensure we operate as a responsible manufacturer with continual measures to maintain an environmental ethos. These efforts range from building a bespoke manufacturing facility, specifically created with the environment in mind, to internal recycle, reuse and reduce initiatives, to the ongoing development of sustainable products for customers looking to reduce the amount of virgin materials in their packaging.

Amid sustainability concerns about the vast amount of manufacturing waste still being sent daily to the UK’s two thousand or so active landfills, Spectra has made “Zero to Landfill” another goal in its quest to minimise its carbon footprint.

Christopher Bridges, Spectra’s Technical Director, said, “Responsible waste management is hugely important to us. As a company operating in the polymer industry, we feel it is our responsibility to decrease the amount of waste we generate, to reduce our carbon footprint. For this reason, we have made enormous strides in ensuring our manufacturing waste is diverted away from landfill by being either reused, recycled, or sent to energy recovery”.

He went on to add, “We’ve always considered our waste as a valuable resource and not simply garbage destined for landfill sites”.

At Spectra, materials are carefully gathered, classified and segregated so they can be reused wherever possible, ensuring none of our manufacturing waste goes to landfill.

100% of our manufacturing waste is collected to be used in future manufacturing. Those materials that can’t be reused internally are sent to UK based recycling plants to ensure they are repurposed and don’t end up in landfill waste sites.  

Because Spectra manufactures products that require different processes, waste management procedures require careful consideration at every stage.  

For example, unlike the injection stretch blow moulding (ISB) process where there is little to no waste produced during manufacture, the extrusion blow moulding (EBM) process is somewhat different. 

The EBM process creates what is known as ‘flash’, excess plastic, trimmed from the bottle after it has been moulded. Flash can account for a significant amount of the total weight. Often referred to as ‘Post Industrial Recycled (PIR) materials, or in some cases, Pre-Consumer Waste products. Spectra are careful to reuse materials such as these for future manufacturing whenever possible, grinding the materials for the production of new bottles. 

Like a growing number of manufacturing businesses, Spectra understands the benefits of adopting a ‘Zero to landfill’ commitment, as Christopher was keen to point out.

He said, “To lessen greenhouse gas emissions, we believe reducing, reusing, and recycling practices can play a vital role in a climate change strategy. A ‘Zero to Landfill’ approach helps save natural resources and decreases pollution from extraction, manufacturing and disposal”.  

Spectra has also instigated several other measures to minimise its waste across all parts of the business, looking carefully at how waste can be regenerated instead of discarded.

Employees at the firm’s 17.4 acre Suffolk plant are actively encouraged to recycle at every opportunity with designated bins located throughout all departments. Furthermore, food waste is carefully segregated from Dry Mixed Recyclates (DMR) in staff canteens to ensure as much waste is recycled again. 

Spectra also participates in the PRS circular pallet reuse scheme, where transport pallets are recovered, reused and at the end of their life recycled into press-wood products or for use as biomass.

Other measures include purchasing practices that always consider environmental impact, whilst materials used to pack our products are only ever made from recycled card stock, which is also fully recyclable. 

Many sectors are seeing the environmental benefits of capturing potentially valuable streams of waste plastic and channeling them into efficient recycling and recovery processing routes. For example, the manufacturing industry has focused on minimising production waste and increasing resource efficiency, which has led to a decrease in the plastic waste created as off-cuts or surplus scrap. In contrast, many larger manufacturing sites operate their own onsite recycling facilities.

Christopher said, “Companies like Spectra have made zero waste a core aim by implementing gradual targets, whilst celebrating small, yet significant achievements. By gradually improving and fine-tuning our systems, we believe we are making a difference. However, to effectively implement such a commitment, we have had to ensure everyone is on board – from employees to those working within existing supply chains. Our ‘Zero to Landfill’ pledge has helped change the way we look at waste”.

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