We constantly hear the â€œreduce, reuse, recycleâ€ mantra and it is of course for a very good reason. Arlo seems to have learnt about recycling before he has mastered reading the alphabet. Iâ€™ve been making lots of changes around my home in an attempt to be more Earth friendly because this really does matter.
Iâ€™m determined that Arlo grows up in world which is green, and that he gets to meet all of the different animals he loves so much in the wild. This is why one of the things I spend a lot of time doing is researching brands and companies I buy from in order to make conscious decisions.
My local supermarket for example has committed to reduce the use of plastic packaging overall and has an option to choose loose vegetables which you can place in your own reusable bags. I also have independent businesses locally that are completely zero waste – you take your containers and weigh them at the shop to then use them to take your purchases home – this is great for food ingredients such as rice and pasta.
Making all of these small changes is great for finding that warm feeling – where I feel as though Iâ€™m really making a difference but as an end consumer a lot about the manufacturing process is hidden and it can get quite complex. This is where companies such as MultiPix come in to their own. Their website has so much information on how technology is being used to integrate sustainable processes in to manufacturing.
â€œIt is estimated that the UK generated 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste in 2018, of which 37.2 million tonnes (85%) was generated in England.â€
Itâ€™s easy to look at food labels to find out where food has been grown and identify labels which show if tuna fish (for example) is dolphin friendly or if products are organically grown. Thereâ€™s marks on wood which show if it has been sustainably sourced but between the source and the end user there are so many unknowns. This manufacturing and production process of all products is where a lot more could be done.
Using software for example to generate models and prototypes test programmes in the designing part of the process is key to avoiding waste – instead of throwing away something which doesnâ€™t work itâ€™s as simple as undoing steps and tweaking a programme until youâ€™re at the final stages of the design process.
Using imaging to inspect products is a game changer – for example this technology can be used in the inspection process – checking the fill levels in bottles which would be invisible to the eye and require opening and damaging products which wound otherwise be wasted, and allows for example the ability to look for and find a foreign body should anything untoward happen during the manufacturing process.
Imaging software can also be used to test accuracy – measuring products and using these in batch and mass production to eliminate minute margins of error. To put it simply using this kind of software means you can tesselate with increasing accuracy and cut packaging and materials in a way which creates minimal wastage.
Looking at companies which choose to invest in this kind of technology and product development is important, and yes 6.7 million tonnes of food waste is huge, but it pales in comparison to the 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and Industrial waste – consumers are the final touch point but what goes on behind the scenes is contributing massively to the damaging of our environment. Choosing where we spend out money and making conscious choices can and does have a positive impact.