During a strategic review of the ANIGENE range it was identified that we could move some of our best-selling products to packaging made from post-consumer recycled high-density polyethylene (r-HDPE) plastic. In November 2022 we updated the range and introduced recycled plastic packaging for the first time at Byotrol. One year on from that change we have stopped to take stock of how much plastic has been saved and discuss what other steps we’re taking to make ANIGENE a more sustainable brand in the future.
Why prioritise the use of recycled plastic and not just encourage customers to recycle ANIGENE packaging after use?
Doing ‘the right thing’ is in our DNA at Byotrol, we go above and beyond the rest of our industry and push ourselves to constantly improve our products, our processes, and our impact on the environment and our community.
While HDPE, PET and PP plastics used in components for chemical products are widely recyclable in the UK, using recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic offers several benefits, both environmental and economic.
Benefits During Manufacture
Using recycled plastic reduces the need for raw materials. This means less petroleum or natural gas is extracted and processed to produce plastic, conserving these non-renewable resources. Manufacturing products from recycled plastic typically uses less energy compared to producing the same products from virgin plastic. Due to the lower energy requirements, producing recycled plastic generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to virgin plastic production.
Demand for recycled plastic sends a signal to the market that there’s value in waste, encouraging further investment in recycling infrastructure and technology. Using recycled materials promotes the concept of a circular economy, where products and materials are reused and recycled for as long as possible, minimising waste. In April 2022, a plastic tax was introduced by the UK government, which applies to plastic packaging produced in or imported into the UK that does not contain at least 30% recycled content. Suppliers who continue to use virgin plastic may need to pass on price increases to customers based on increased costs of packaging.
Benefits After Use
By recycling and reusing plastic, less waste is sent to landfills or incinerators which reduces the environmental impact of landfills, such as methane emissions. Recycling reduces the amount of waste that might end up in the environment, thereby reducing potential pollution. Over time, plastics break down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which can be harmful to marine life and even end up in the human food chain. By recycling plastics, we can reduce the amount of microplastics in the environment.
Sustainable Products by Design
It’s important to note that recycling is just one part of the solution to plastic waste. Reduction in the use of plastics and the design of products to prioritise easy recycling or composting are also crucial strategies in addressing the plastic pollution challenge. Upon examining our ANIGENE reusable trigger sprays, we noted that the trigger contained metal parts that were not suitable for recycling, so as well as introducing a recycled plastic bottle we upgraded the trigger to a new design that is fully recyclable, and more comfortable to use.
How Does the UK Plastic Tax Affect ANIGENE?
Apart from the environmental benefits of using recycled plastic, in April 2022, a plastic tax was introduced by the UK government. Moving our products to recycled plastic where possible, has reduced the need to implement price increases based on the implementation of the new tax.
Reusing vs Recycling
Our 1000L formats require UN-grade packaging by law, and as yet, we can’t find a manufacturer of intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) made using recycled plastic. We have however worked hard with our manufacturing partner to introduce a strict reprocessing procedure to allow the reuse of the 1000L IBCs.
Are there any risks of using recycled plastic?
Recycled plastic can be less robust than virgin plastic, to mitigate any risk caused by the change we strengthened the cardboard cartons that contain our recycled 5L jerry cans. We’re happy to report that in the last 12 months since our introduction of recycled plastic packaging, we’ve had zero reports of leakages on those products from our customers.
Is ANIGENE packaging recyclable after use?
Yes, we’ve ensured that 100% of the plastic used in our ANIGENE range is widely recyclable.
Our cardboard cartons are 100% recycled card and again, suitable for recycling after use.
How much plastic have you saved?
By volume, an incredible 97% of ANIGENE disinfectant products are now packaged in containers that use recycled plastic.
Each ANIGENE 5L jerry can contains 35% recycled plastic, over the last 12 months this has saved almost 3500 kilograms of virgin plastic from being produced and disposed of after use.
The introduction of our reusable trigger sprays, which are made with 30% recycled plastic, has produced a further saving of 22 kilograms this year, and investing in the EasySpray trigger and screen-printed safety information ensures it lasts longer than traditional trigger sprays.
By collecting empty 1000L IBC containers from our customer’s sites when we replenish their stock, and implementing strict reconditioning protocols at our manufacturing site, we have been able to recondition them and reuse them, saving approximately 14.5kg of plastic each – resulting in 6% of ANIGENE total plastic packaging waste being reused each year.
These initiatives combined have resulted in an annual total saving of 4249 kilograms of plastic, which is 38% of the plastic waste generated by ANIGENE products. A result that our team is particularly proud of, particularly given that this has been achieved in just 12 months.
What other steps are you taking to make the range more sustainable?
The 20L products in the ANIGENE range are still currently made with virgin plastic, as until now our packaging suppliers have not been able to offer recycled plastic versions, however, we hope this option will be available to us over the next year.
Sustainability doesn’t just mean reducing the use of plastic, having introduced 100% recycled cardboard cartons to the range our next step is to implement the use of paper tape instead of plastic to seal our cartons with.
Training our customers in the best-practice use of disinfectants means that less chemical waste is produced, which needs to be disposed of later. We ensure our training materials cover the responsible disposal of chemicals, to prevent avoidable environmental damage.
We are always striving to improve our environmental impact, as a small company this can be a challenge, but we’re committed to making it happen. Our company values fuel our commitment to our corporate sustainability aspirations.
For more information about our products or to speak to a member of our team, please contact us.