As the climate crisis continues to escalate, businesses and individuals are becoming increasingly aware of their own impact on the environment. And, with the government’s Net Zero 2050 target on everyone’s mind, it’s hardly surprising that UK consumers now rank waste, ethical practices and reducing carbon footprint as some of the most important values in business.

Looking ahead, we can expect big and small brands to continue moving to more environmentally friendly products and practices, such as the reduction of plastic and minimisation of waste.

Sustainability is important for us so we’ve taken a look back at some of our eco initiatives and how they have helped us deliver more environmentally friendly products and processes for our clients.

5R strategy

The 4R’s is a framework widely adopted by companies which requires them to ‘Rethink’, ‘Reuse’, ‘Recycle’ and ‘Reduce’ the materials and energy they consume to limit their impact on the environment. We’ve taken this one step further by introducing a fifth ‘R’ to underline the importance of our environmental ‘Responsibility’.

Having been trusted by leading brands and retailers for over 30 years, we are always looking to offer more sustainable solutions. For example, our recent investments in state-of-the-art printing technology have significantly reduced energy and waste, with the whole printing process now under one roof.

As a growing business in both cards and packaging, an increased focus on sustainability is pivotal. It’s about embedding the 5R’s into everything we do to provide more sustainable options for our valued clients.

LED lighting

As part of our sustainability campaign, we switched from traditional lighting to more energy efficient LED lighting across our Essex and Lancashire sites.

Replacing older lighting technology with LED lighting underlines our commitment to continuous improvement of our operations, whilst doing our bit to help the planet. This initiative alone is set to halve our annual energy consumption for lighting – equivalent to saving over 50 tonnes of CO2 each year!

Changing our lighting was a quick-win solution which has already made a significant difference in reducing our carbon footprint.

Reduction of plastic

The cards we print are traditionally bound using plastic bags to hold batches together. Making this process more sustainable has been an industry-wide challenge, with alternative materials unable to deliver the strength required.

Last year, we partnered with two major industry players to develop a new solution which is more environmentally friendly, whilst maintaining production speed and keeping cards tightly bound. Together with US-based payment card companies Blackhawk Network and InComm, we became the first UK manufacturer to create a solution using a paper band – reducing single-use plastic from our clients’ supply chains.

Finding a sustainable way to wrap cards has been challenging, with no off-the-shelf solutions. However, by working collaboratively with our partners, our development team successfully engineered a sustainable alternative.

And – although single-use plastic bags are only a small component of what we deliver – it’s an international challenge to eradicate them, so we’re proud to have engineered a solution here in the UK.

Eco-friendly products

Offering eco-friendly, innovative products to our customers has been an important part of our sustainability campaign.

With our unique Earth Cards range, we have already helped over 150 major gift and membership card programmes transition to paperboard cards, saving over 4,500 tonnes of plastic since 2017.

In 2022, we were granted the US patent for our all-paper gift card multipack. The pack features multiple cards in a single carrier, all made from paper-based materials. Our innovative design stands out in the market as it makes gifting easier for consumers while encouraging increased revenue for retailers.

With the US market in particular still widely using plastic gift cards – which leads to significant plastic waste – we have created a solution to combat gift card plastic waste and filled a gap in the market.

Our eco-friendly multipack will certainly help the US market make further progress with their green agenda – especially the reduction of plastic waste.

Zero to landfill

Zero to landfill is a drive to divert as much waste as possible from landfill – a target many businesses have taken on as part of their own sustainability campaigns. Rather than simply dumping goods in landfill or destroying them in an incinerator, a zero-waste approach conserves natural resources and reduces pollution from extraction, manufacturing and disposal.

Here at Incodia, 100% of the paper, cardboard and plastics collected from our Colchester manufacturing site are recycled, meaning zero of this waste goes to landfill!

After the paper is pulped in a mill, it is either supplied as the outer liner on plasterboard products or the paper pulp can be used for the manufacture of toilet rolls, A4 copier paper and kitchen rolls.

The polystyrene end caps of reels are sent for shredding and regrinding, where they are compounded into a pellet and used in injection moulding products such as coat hangers or flowerpot trays.

How Incodia can help

Backed by over 40 years’ experience in printing and packaging, we are trusted by some of the best-loved brands across the UK and Europe. Using the latest digital technology and machinery, we deliver the high standards and fast lead-times our customers are looking for.

By working collaboratively, we support your sustainability goals by creating innovative and environmentally friendly print and packaging solutions which make your brand stand out.

To find out more about our sustainable products and processes, get in touch today.