Embracing the Circular Economy: How Midton is Taking Sustainable Action and Reducing Waste
As an acrylic foundry, we are conscious of our environmental impact. We are always asking ourselves how we can better reduce waste. Embracing the Circular Economy provides a prime example to develop our sustainable practices.
To date, we have invested in our Biomass heater, developed in-house acrylic recycling processes, developed greener packaging, and switched to LED lighting. Most recently we established a tree planting scheme for 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. Identifying areas where we can improve our use of raw materials, the project has taught us to manufacture responsibly using the Circular Economy.
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.
Existing to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, the organisation uses evidence and insight to inform policy. In turn, this motivates 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. Responding to the global climate emergency, the Circular Economy presents a solution. With the ultimate goal to design out waste, this is an all encompassing ideology to both life and business. The Circular Economy explains that everything has value, and nothing should be wasted.
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. 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. There idea of “making things last” is imperative.
How can we embrace the circular economy?
Here at Midton, our aim is to embrace the circular economy in five ways, as shown below.
So, what is Midton going to do about it?
Working with Zero Waste Scotland, the project helped us identify several waste streams that could become feedstocks for their own product. For nearly a year now we have been working with machine manufacturers and suppliers to trial different shredding and granulating technologies. This has allowed us to find the most appropriate re-processing solution. Investing in this new equipment, Midton is now pushing forward to develop circular processes. From this, we will create new product solutions to utilise re-processed materials.
To ensure these new materials are driven into our product offering, we have created a graduate placement for a Sustainability Champion. A graduate Product Designer will join Midton’s design team and develop products that utilise materials derived from waste streams. Including this champion within the design team will aid in embedding circular ideas within the team as a whole. In turn, this will lead to an increase in the uptake of recycled materials in design, encouraging sustainable solutions. This project aligned with the Highlands and Islands ScotGrad programme.
What are the outcomes of this project going to be?
The hope from this project is to solve our current waste issue, creating a more diverse range of recycled products. Therefore, our volume of raw materials consumed will significantly reduce. Embedding the circular economy into our daily life, we will help boost our future sustainability and resilience as a business.
Through this project, we hope to achieve four key points:
- Research & Development around sustainability and recycled material,
- Increasing our sustainable concepts to 40% of all designs as a base measurement,
- A 30% conversion of waste stream into value stream. Our conversion currently sat at 0%,
- Expanding our portfolio to embrace sustainable solutions,
- Reduce our waste and removal costs, to provide a large saving for reinvesting.
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