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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Firm’s blueprint for environmentally-friendly future

A new paper folding machine which cuts down wasted paper by 60 per cent and consumes less energy is being installed today by a Cumbrian printing firm.

And it is only the latest in a huge package of environmentally-friendly measures which has seen the company’s total rubbish fall from three wheelie bins per week to just two bin bags. H&H Reed Printers, based in Penrith and Carlisle, has introduced a number of eco-friendly policies and practices to save both money and resources.

The firm employs 40 people but managing director Andy Jackson points out: “We now put out the same amount of rubbish that a typical household puts out in a week.”

Mr Jackson explained that the waste reduction had been achieved by strict recycling policies. Metal plates used in the printing process are made from aluminium, so can be recycled in the same way as aluminium cans.

“The inks it uses are vegetable-based, so can be recycled along with vegetable waste.

“Paper is separated into different types before recycling, so as to reduce contamination and make it easier to process. And all employees’ leftover food is turned into compost – which employees can receive back if they wish for use as liquid garden fertiliser.

“We have bins for tin cans, plastic, all the materials on site,” the managing director said. “Everything can be recycled – even the lightbulbs.”

The new Heidelberg Stahl folding machine which arrives today is computer-controlled and requires less paper for run-offs, so the company estimates it will cut paper consumption by 60 per cent. It is also more efficient, so energy bills are expected to fall.

Mr Jackson said employees had been receptive to all the company’s green schemes and were quite enthusiastic about them.

“We have monthly environmental meetings where we have to come with new ideas,” he said. “We don’t stand still.”

The firm has introduced a cycle-to-work scheme at its Penrith premises with bicycles which employees can buy at half-price. And employees who live in Penrith are no longer allowed to use the company car park.

“If you’re coming in from Carlisle you can come by car,” Mr Jackson explains. “But if you live locally you are expected to walk or cycle in. It has freed up more space in the car park for customers. Every new employee has an environmental induction where they are taken through our policies. They are all on board with them, and a lot of them take the same attitudes as home now as well.”

He also believes other companies could adopt the same approach. “From a business point of view it makes sense to save energy and work more efficiently. It has a financial advantage as well as an ethical one.”

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