3. Environment

We are serious about waste reduction

As a company that uses acrylic (sustainable plastic) as its main material, we are mindful of everything we do and how we can do it better to reduce waste and our impact on the environment. We are committed to continuing to drive down our landfill waste and reduce our carbon footprint. We have invested heavily in recent years in new equipment and ways of working to stay true to these commitments. Here are some of our success stories, from recycled acrylic chips to changing elements of our packaging.

Midton goes bio

Midton’s heat energy is produced from our biomass boiler which we installed during 2015.  We invested an initial £95,000 in this project and our woodchip is sourced locally from a Community Interest Company called Our Power.  Based further up Loch Fyne, Our Power sources all its wood within a 30 mile radius to keep carbon emissions to a minimum.  Wholly owned by Here We Are, this company reinvests profits into the local community which is something that midton shares their passion in.  We are proud to support a local business who are striving for sustainable community development.

What has been the outcome? In year one of the biomass being installed Midton reduced its carbon footprint by over 23,800kg Co2 and saved over £3000 in fuel costs. These funds were reinvested into the company, allowing us to continue to push the boundaries for our customers.

Acrylic recycling - now available

While acrylic cannot be recycled in the same way that plastic bottles or cardboard can be, this doesn’t mean that there are no options.  Any products that are purchased from us which are no longer required can be sent back to us.  Depending on the dimensions, there is scope for us to reuse these products in new projects via recycled acrylic chips. Where this isn’t possible, we currently send unwanted projects along with our off-cut cast acrylic to an acrylic recycler who is able to disassemble and transform the solid acrylic into acrylic granules. These granules can be put back into the industry, meaning that new projects will have a higher recycled content percentage.

Please contact us at recycle@midton.com to find out more.

A step towards greener packaging

The final step of a product’s journey is it’s time during dispatch.  We hand package all of our products before shipping them to our clients and we understand how important first impressions are.

Midton made simple, but effective, changes to our packaging to show our commitment to our environment.  Wanting to reduce unnecessary plastic waste, we carefully invested in a machine that converts regular cardboard sheets into outer carton packaging.  This means that we can reuse cardboard we receive in the factory, and protect our client’s projects without the use of bubble wrap.

The next step was to reduce the plastic tape we used to seal our client’s projects.  We replaced plastic tape with recyclable paper tape.  However, as we invested correctly, we were able to source paper tape that was in fact stronger than plastic tape, meaning that we use less of it!

Reducing the cost of lighting

On the back of the success of our biomass boiler, we looked at how we could reduce the amount of energy we were producing in the factory.  When we refitted the production plants, we changed the lighting to low energy LED.  This helped us to reduce our energy usage by an incredible 30%.  In doing this, not only did it contribute to our bid in helping the environment, but it also meant that our team could work more efficiently.  By improving the lighting source, this helped the team spot any potential flaws.

Our Sustainable Future

As we keep progressing as a custom manufacturer, we want to keep moving forward and improving our sustainability.  So what will this look like for Midton?

Currently, we are looking at improving our moulds during the casting process.  We are reducing our reliance on single-use thermoforming plastic by investing in metal tooling, which comes with a 5-10 year lifespan.  We are also exploring how we can use recyclable cardboard moulding.  For the future, we are looking to promote a circular economy to reuse cast waste products internally in the hope to reduce waste output and give a cost-benefit to our clients.

Following our success with switching to recyclable tape, we are looking to further explore our R&D options.  We are looking at creating new product lines as part of ‘Made by Midton’ using chipped materials.  While our offcuts and unwanted products are currently being sent to a third party acrylic recycler, we are looking to invest in our own acrylic chipper to reduce our carbon footprint.  We have been exploring what the possibilities are with our recycled acrylic chips and using green cast materials as part of our manufacturing processes, creating beautiful products like this light made from recycled chips.

We’ve also been working closely with our suppliers to have a stronger understanding of our carbon footprint and other sustainable plastic alternatives, and how we can work together to reduce this.

While we are in the early development stages in some aspects, we are optimistic about what our future looks like.