Re-Use and Recycling

Re-use vs Recycling: A plastic recycling failure in Indonesia

We've heard whispers of a myth in the industry that recycling is more sustainable than re-use. To get straight to the point, this isn't the case; re-use is more sustainable than recycling.

There are several arguments for this, but two points stand out:

  • Recycling requires significantly more energy than re-use
  • Re-use keeps materials out of the waste stream and produces less pollution.

We recently read a compelling article from Friends of the Earth, which put one of the failures of recycling into perspective.

Surabaya on East Java in Indonesia has a thriving waste paper recycling industry. However, the bales of paper imported from the UK are contaminated with plastics.

This rouge plastic is separated and taken by truck to dumps of plastic waste at small suburban villages. Residents, including children, pick through plastic waste to find PET plastic bottles to sell them on for recycling.

When it rains the rubbish is swept into the local rivers, and the plastic is often burned as fuel in small factories with the ash blowing into nearby fields. You can only imagine what the toxic fumes from the burnt plastic are doing to residents lungs, local wildlife populations, soil and vegetation.

Of course, we have to respect the residents of the villages who must sort through the plastic to make money and instead look at failures of our waste sorting at recycling facilities in the UK.

Stories like this one keep us focused on our mission: To re-use as many plastic products as physically possible and design new products that do not create waste and pollution.

Read the full article:
https://friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics/plastics-hidden-journey-indonesia

Images courtesy of Friends of the Earth

Waste Management

At Braiform we pride ourselves on our recycling and waste management, some of our achievements include:

  • Managing our own waste stream
  • Less than 1% into general waste
  • Card sorted and reprocessed at our recycling partner
  • Steel sorted and reprocessed at our recycling partner
  • Plastic polymers processed on site and moved on to our compounding partner
  • PS and PP polymers are reused in a circular economy in producing virgin products

In 2017, Braiform achieved:

In the UK:

  • Saving of 2,982 metric tonnes in raw production materials
  • 2,117 metric tonnes of hangers were recycled.
  • 865 metric tonnes of recycled plastic went into virgin production.

In the US:

  • Saving of 12,702 metric tonnes in raw production materials.
  • 11,504 metric tonnes of hangers were reused.
  • 1,198 metric tonnes of recycled plastic went into virgin production.

Sustainability Sponsorships

Ocean Recovery Alliance

We now sponsor the Ocean Recovery Alliance who are behind the “A Plastic Ocean documentary.”

The focus of Ocean Recovery Alliance is to bring together new ways of thinking, technologies, creativity and collaborations in order to introduce innovative projects and initiatives that will help improve our ocean environment. This includes creating business opportunities for local communities when applicable, in order to address some of the pressing issues that our ocean faces today.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition

We have recently joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s vision is of an apparel, footwear, and textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities.

The Coalition develops the Higg Index, a set of standardized supply chain measurement tools for all industry participants.

The Higg Index includes facility, brand, and product tools that measure environmental and social labour impacts across the supply chain. With the Higg Index, the industry is addressing inefficiencies, resolving damaging practices, and working to achieve the environmental and social transparency consumers are demanding.