Promoting your green machine

Dave Broxton, managing director of Bohle, explains how sedimentor technology represents an effective way for glass processors to demonstrate a genuine commitment to greener manufacturing.

As we emerge from Covid, sustainability has returned to the top of the news agenda, and in the wake of Cop26, organisations are coming under even greater pressure to demonstrate how green they are in order to win business.

While this should be seen as a positive step forward, it has also highlighted the issue of ‘greenwashing’, including the use of buzz words such as ‘eco’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘green’ in advertising and marketing without the evidence to back up those claims.

According to a recent online study by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN), 40% of websites use tactics to mislead consumers about the true environmental impact of their products or services.

It is not an entirely new phenomena. In 2019, The Advertising Standards Authority banned a Ryanair advert that claimed it was the airline with Europe’s lowest emissions, because it lacked sufficient evidence to support the claim.

Similarly, a Hyundai advert, which boasted that one of its cars could ‘clean the air’, was also judged to be misleading.

There have also been plenty of examples of companies that have promoted a ‘sustainable’ product or service but failed to mention that the rest of their offer is not environmentally friendly. That includes Shell, which was penalised in 2007 for claiming that it used waste carbon dioxide to grow plants – this was true, but the quantity was only a fraction of its total emissions.

Some corporations will even attempt to mask their real environmental impact by trading through smaller companies that can promote a ‘clean’ brand.

While the pressure may be on for consumer-facing brands to prove how green they are, suppliers in the b2b sector are now also increasingly expected to demonstrate the measures they are taking to operate more sustainably. This could include a recycling scheme, the use of recycled materials, or the use of solar power. At Bohle, we have introduced an energy saving initiative by replacing all our lighting with LEDs.

Companies should also consider research that predicts that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. According to a survey by consultancy firm, Global Tolerance, 62% of the generation born between 1981 and 1996 want to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the world.

For glass processors, our sedimentors represent a practical, affordable and highly effective step towards achieving more sustainable manufacturing processes by eliminating wastewater, extending tool life, and reducing energy costs.

Clean water, especially when combined with coolant, can increase the performance of machinery by up to 20% and the service life of tools by up to 30%, but the cost of keeping it clean can add up. Using just 400 litres of water as part of a weekly cleaning cycle, equates to a yearly consumption of around 20,000 litres – plus the associated cost for disposal.

Suitable for a wide range of grinding, drilling and sawing glass equipment, sedimentors use a sophisticated and automated multi-stage process to remove contaminants from coolants and water.

A sedimentor is capable of filtering glass particles as small as 5 microns (for comparison, a human hair is 70 microns). The energy it requires to do so is minimal as gravity is the main element of filtration. Installing one not only ensures that processors are better equipped to eliminate wastewater, it also means that valuable water can be recycled over and over again.

And by reducing the maintenance requirement to clean machinery and water tanks as well as replacing tooling, a sedimentor can save £thousands a year in downtime, while improving product quality. Reducing maintenance can also increase manufacturing capacity by as much as 15%, which is a big gain, and a significant one in light of the continuing high demand that’s expected into 2022.

In terms of return on investment, a sedimentor can pay for itself in as little as 12 months. By introducing greater efficiency, recycling water, and reducing energy usage, it’s also a perfect way for a company to demonstrate that it’s taking positive action to act more responsibly.