Beardow Adams Green Team spearheading new environmental initiatives

Beardow Adams, a leading global specialist in hot-melt adhesive technology, has further strengthened its environmental credentials by not only pushing the boundaries when it comes to inventing new eco-friendly products and services but also looking inwardly at their own processes

The latest inventions by the market-leading manufacturer include an adhesive that washes off PET bottles entirely in an alkaline solution, allowing them to be re-used 10 to 15 times over, and an adhesive used for pallet stabilisation; the adhesive replaces expensive layer pads and reduces the need for an excessive amount of plastic pallet wrap.

Beardow Adams’ Green Team acts as a working party within the organisation. It was created to help drive environmental awareness across the business and builds upon their existing accreditation to the ISO 14001 environmental management system.

With the industry continuing to look for eco-friendly adhesive products, Beardow Adams is keen to place itself at the forefront of ‘green’ protagonists, hence the requirement of the Green Team.

The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Lesley Sheldon, who leads the Green Team stated that, “sustainability, in terms of both materials and processes, is a key part of our agenda; we’re taking a 360° approach to this issue.”

A significant part of the product range at Beardow Adams is already based on the use of bio-based materials. This fact is good news for customers, who are increasingly requesting bio-based hot-melt adhesives to help support them with environmental certification for their own products.

As an example of a Green Team initiative in this area, it was decided to definitively assess the percentage of bio-based materials used at the company’s Milton Keynes manufacturing plant.

“Just over 30% of our raw materials are from renewable sources, which is actually quite high – and quite impressive – giving us an excellent platform to build upon,” says Beata Abram Eugenio, Head Development Chemist. “We would like all of our customers to be aware of this and to know that we are already focused on getting to the next level, and how we might achieve 40% or 50% overall. In fact, we have already formulated a number of products that individually hit these percentages. It’s about continuous improvement, which, as a company we are committed to.”

Within the R&D department at Beardow Adams there is an emphasis on using bio-based materials whenever a new product is up for development. Here, detailed dialogue takes place with the supply chain regarding the latest polymers and resins, and whether they are sustainable. In addition, the team is currently evaluating several existing products to see if there is any potential for reformulation involving more bio-based raw materials, without impacting performance or quality.

Beyond product-based initiatives, the Green Team has been tasked with scrutinising internal manufacturing processes across multiple production sites, exploring opportunities to reduce waste, cut emissions and minimise the company’s impact upon the environment. Indeed, Beardow Adams has already invested heavily in equipment that enables it to manufacture adhesive products in an environmentally-friendly way.

“The manufacturing process at Beardow Adams is under constant review,” says Lesley Sheldon. “Water use is closely monitored for example, as are waste levels, which incidentally are very low. As a process, the blending of materials to make hot-melt adhesives produces almost zero waste. Virtually 100% of the materials used by the process emerge as 100% useable product.”

The hot-melt adhesives produced by Beardow Adams offer an inherent environmental advantage over solvent-based counterparts. Holt-melt adhesive is 100% solid as a material, so there is no waste or extraction processes that occur as part of the user’s manufacturing process. In short, supplying one ton of hot-melt adhesive means the customer can use one ton of functional product.

Packaging is another area of focus for the Green Team. Increasing numbers of customers will only accept deliveries of adhesives in paper sacks, rather than plastic ones. Beardow Adams has responded to this trend by making the necessary paper packaging available as part of a structured plastic reduction scheme.

“Our policy at Beardow Adams is to operate the entire business with integrity and recognise that protecting the environment is a key responsibility,” concludes Lesley Sheldon. “The company is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its activities, and to developing new products which do not harm the planet. In fact, we are currently in the process of establishing a core range of bio-based products for the company’s focus markets, the details of which will be made available shortly.”

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