DUO Completes Second Sustainability Investment

Manchester-based packaging specialist DUO has invested a further £700,000 in its North-West headquarters to support the continued growth of its packaging solutions.

This follows a £1.85 million investment into new equipment and the expansion of its facilities in 2020, with the latest round of investment going to new conversion equipment and improvements in the company’s print department to help customers boost the environmental performance of their packaging.

The company, which provides packaging solutions to retailers including N Brown Group, Joules and Thrift+, is working closely with customers to further improve packaging sustainability ahead of the introduction of next year’s Plastic Packaging Tax in the UK. From April 2022, a new levy will be applied to companies using plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content.

So far this year, DUO has already helped around two thirds (62%) of its customers to adapt packaging to include at least 30% recycled plastic, and more than 50% of the products it has produced contain more than 30% recycled content. The new conversion equipment will enable DUO to increase its production output by approximately 10% each year to support growth in demand for its products, while delivering greater energy efficiency for the business.

Solvent Solution

Investment in the company’s print department has seen the installation of a solvent recovery machine. This filters usable materials, which are produced as a by-product during printing, enabling them to be reused and reducing wastage. The investment in its print department will also streamline cleaning processes and reduce the amount of solvent used.

Dale Brimelow, operations director at DUO (pictured), explained: “We continuously review and scrutinise each step of our production as part of our Pact for the Planet to ensure that we can confidently offer the most sustainable packaging solutions and processes to our customers at the time. The pact looks at how, as a supplier, we can reduce our carbon emissions by investing in smart machinery and reduce our reliance on fossil-derived polymers. Since 2018, we’ve reduced our use of virgin polymers by almost 25%.

With the introduction of the UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax, companies are typically coming to us thinking about material first. Our role is to help educate businesses to take a full lifecycle view of any packaging product to show how material weight, material type, carbon footprint and end of life options all play a part, which enables companies to properly appraise the environmental performance of packaging throughout the whole supply chain. This will often prove a more sustainable approach than focusing solely on recycling or recycled content, and the improvements we’re making to our production processes will go further toward supporting this.”

Seeking Seven

To support its continued growth, DUO is also recruiting for a further seven roles across the business from administration through to specialist flexo print supervisors and a sales and service manager.

Dale added: “By investing in improving our own processes and building the expertise within our team, we can contribute further to supporting our customers to reduce their overall environmental impact more effectively.

“Meeting the requirements of the UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax is just one part of a complex environmental picture. While utilising a minimum of 30% recycled plastic content will become a taxable requirement, it shouldn’t be the only factor that businesses are focussed on when it comes to evaluating their sustainability strategy to make genuine, long-term improvements.”

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