Our thoughts on sustainability…
Written by Hollie-Beth McGregor Updated Nov 20 –
At Midton, we are serious about sustainability and waste reduction. As a company that uses acrylic as its main material, we are conscious to stay mindful of everything we do and how we can do it better to reduce waste and our impact on the environment. So far, we have embraced going bio, (with our biomass boiler installed in 2015), offering acrylic recycling, using greener packaging, switching to LED lighting and most recently planting a tree with every £100 spent. However, we are always pushing forward to do more.
In January 2020, we embarked on a 30-day research project with Zero Waste Scotland. The project helped identify areas in which we could improve our use of raw materials and resources responsibly.
Who are Zero Waste Scotland?
Zero Waste Scotland is a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund. The organisation exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, choosing to focus on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. Using their evidence and insight, Zero Waste Scotland’s goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy.
What do we mean by circular economy?
Our current linear economy is no longer effective, or viable for a sustainable future. A circular economy is part of the solution to our global climate emergency, with the ultimate goal to design out waste. The term is an all-encompassing approach to both life and business, with the thinking that everything has value, and nothing should be wasted. Put simply, a circular economy follows “make, use, remake”, as opposed to “make, use, dispose”.
With our world’s population expected to peak at 10bn in 2050, it is important to remember that the earth’s raw materials are not limitless. The rise in population has meant global labour and raw material costs are on the increase. As businesses, we must start engaging in responsible production which supplies products and services that achieve the maximum life and value that a natural resource can offer. The idea of “making things last” is a moral, environmental, and economic imperative.
How can we embrace the circular economy?
Here at Midton, we can embrace the circular economy in five ways:
So, what are Midton going to do about it?
Working with Zero Waste Scotland, the project helped us identify several waste streams with the potential to become feedstocks for their own product. For nearly a year now we have been working with machine manufacturers and suppliers trialing different shredding and granulating technologies to find the most appropriate re-processing solution. Having now identified and purchased the equipment Midton are now full steam ahead developing the circular processes and creating new product solutions utilising re-processed materials.
To ensure new materials are driven into Midton’s product offering quickly we have created a graduate placement, for a Sustainability Champion. The placement was aimed at a graduate product designer, who would join Midton’s design team and focus on developing products that utilise materials derived from the waste streams. The inclusion within the design team was intended to help embed circular ideas within the team as a whole. This leads to the increase in uptake of recycled materials and driving more sustainable solutions, in line with the company’s COVID recovery plans. This project was a perfect alignment for the Highlands and Islands ScotGrad programme.
What are the outcomes of this project going to be?
The hope from this project is to solve Midton’s current waste issue, and create a more diverse range of recycled products and reduce the volume of raw materials consumed. By embedding the circular economy into our daily life, we will help boost our future sustainability and resilience.
Through this project, we hope to achieve four key points:
- Documentation produced on R&D and sustainability regarding recycled material.
- Increase in sustainable concepts to 40% of all designs, this is the base measurement to be as part of the project.
- 30% conversion of waste stream into a value stream, with the current conversion sat at 0%.
- Expansion of our portfolio for embracing sustainable solutions.
- Our waste and removal costs will be reduced, providing a large saving, allowing us to reinvest the money.