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Focus on Recycling

6th March 2007

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It’s the L.A.W.W.

In these environmentally conscious times, it is becoming increasingly important for manufacturing organisations to minimise waste and dispose of any by-products responsibly. The 3 R’s – Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle is still the mantra of Environment/Health & Safety departments across the UK - but we need to continually re-visit these as business and industry grapples with ever more restrictive legislation. In this article, Ultraframe gives a glimpse into how its tackling many of these waste reduction objectives, the importance of recycling and the income potential this can generate.

Nick Brown Commercial Director at Ultraframe, commented:“Here at Ultraframe we take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and have implemented various initiatives to encourage buy-in to the 3 R’s across the business. The results have been outstanding – not only are we doing our bit for the environment, legally and morally, but the cost savings to the business have been welcome too.”

What is Waste?

The Ultraframe Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) team use the LAWW acronym as the basis for their continued efforts to reduce waste in all its various forms and as the basis of compliance to the various pieces of legislation that apply.
Remembering LAWW:

- from Land (e.g. contamination)
- the Air around us (e.g. emissions, noise pollution, solvent disposal from lamination machinery)
- Water on the site (e.g. discharges to groundwater)
- and Waste, which can take many forms (e.g. packaging, energy conservation)

The LAWW acronym is a useful tool to keep to keep to hand, and it should be deployed from time to time to keep waste under scrutiny, be it disposal of waste/residual products through to wasted electricity and other utilities.

If we take as an example the final `W` in LAWW – Waste - this aspect has been under the microscope at Ultraframe for many years. Firstly, an improved waste management system was introduced where a contract was made with a strategic waste management partner who coordinates all the various waste material streams across the site and ensures that only clean and sorted waste is placed in the collection bins.

This improved management/collection system was simultaneously coupled with a product simplification programme to reduce the number of component variants in the business, and together this twin activity has yielded impressive reductions in the amount of waste being disposed of. These projects take time to bear fruit as a key part of the project is winning hearts and minds of the staff in the manufacturing cells – however, between 2005 and 2006 there was a 200-tonne reduction in the amount of waste being sent to landfill and an associated increase in recycling recoveries of over 20%.Many of the measures are simple ideas, and many of them are suggested by the staff which illustrates the benefit of buy-in. Two examples of this are; 1) the purchase of re-usable plastic crates for the transportation of components from suppliers into Ultraframe`s bulk stores and manufacturing cells which lead to an £8k annual saving on cardboard boxes and 2) the simple provision of recycling bins at the right location around the shop floor, thus making it easier to recycle than it is to dispose of recyclable material in general waste bins.

Other non-physical types of waste such as heat loss have also been reduced, by removing any inefficient procedures such as heat shrink wrapping and introducing thermostatically controlled roller doors for fork lift access which minimise heat loss from buildings. This project alone had a payback of 33% in year one alone. Overall, the combined savings from heat conservation projects yielded £100,000 during 2006, proof that saving the environment it not all hard work with few visible financial rewards!

And finally, talking about rewards, whilst these can sometimes be financial they can also take other forms too. There has been a tremendous sense of well-being and goodwill generated by all the staff involved in the many projects and yes, a sense of achievement that they are helping the local and global environment too. The team at Ultraframe recently scored top in the 2006 Lancashire Business Environment Association’s awards in the Energy Efficiency category, in recognition of the company’s improvements by the removal of inefficient process equipment, the introduction of the rapid roller doors and a ‘switch off’ campaign within the offices, which together saved a staggering £100,000 across the year.


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