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VIEWPOINT


Green Deal, although we are of course supporting and promoting the scheme and providing the products and services needed to make it a success. The challenge - and opportunity - is to consider how we can lead on this agenda and create continued demand for home improvements and sustainable homes, supporting Government initiatives of course, but not solely relying upon them to create lasting change. We have an opportunity to lead by adopting new products and modern methods of construction, and not wait to be led. We can do more and do better together. For example, we hear from customers how they wish certain products were half the size to reduce offcuts and waste. We hear





To prevent the worst of climate change we need to reduce global carbon by the same amount as was seen in lockdown every year for the next ten years.


from house building contractors that designers have not thought about the waste impacts of their designs and how small changes could significantly reduce waste.





We know that smaller or regional customers do not have large teams with dedicated team members for environment, safety, diversity, modern slavery and other sustainability topics - but they’re keen to learn and to make sustainability work for them. Whether it’s designing more sustainable products, focusing on the durability and maintenance of products - using predictive maintenance where possible to keep assets in use for longer, sharing more sustainability information and knowledge across our whole value chain, educating home owners and buyers on the building sustainability credentials they could benefit from - there is much that we can do - the important point is that by


LEAN AND GREEN Lakes Showering Spaces’ Mike Tattam on the benefits of greening up the agenda.


YOU DON’T NEED to be an eco-warrior or a member of Extinction Rebellion to firmly believe that we all need to improve our environmental credentials. It’s quite astonishing that, in my lifetime, the weight of plastics in the ocean will be greater than the total weight of fish. How on earth can that be right?


As a family-run business Lakes likes to try and lead the way in innovation. We did that with our lifetime guarantee of our products, for example, and that commitment to innovation has now spread to waste management and environmental best practice for our sector.


Our products are heavy; they are fragile and, traditionally, always used a lot of packaging to move the products around.





We used a lot of polystyrene and plastic strapping, plastic bags and staples. This represented a significant cost to us as a business. It also impacted quite heavily commercially because we found that people would use the strapping to pick up and move the product, sometimes that strapping would break and the product would get damaged meaning rejected goods from customers.


We wanted to have something that was 100% recyclable, would ease manual handling, improve robustness and reduce damages and, hopefully, costs. What we ended up doing was employing a specialist packing designer to redesign the packaging. We removed the strapping, added handholds to make moving the product easier and made the boxes smaller so


We wanted to have something that was 100% recyclable, would ease manual handling, improve robustness and reduce damages and, hopefully, costs.


November 2020 www.buildersmerchantsjournal.net


we could offset some of our warehousing and distribution costs. To put that in perspective that is 2,000k of plastic banding that we removed from our packaging - the distance from Tewkesbury to Valetta Harbour. We took out the polystyrene and replaced it with corrugated cardboard, removed the tape and staples and we now use environmental glue to stick the cardboard together





We were the first in our sector to use fully 100% recyclable packaging. Damages were reduced by over 50%, our waste and haulage costs were down and that meant we didn’t need as many vehicles runs as we could get more product the one load. Our waste went down by 75%. Our new products are 100% fully recyclable and we are working with vehicle producers to try and make our delivery fleet as energy efficient as possible. It’s tricky because the vehicles we use are rather large and the vehicle manufacturers haven’t quite worked out how to make electric vehicles that will go the distance we need


collaborating we can accelerate the positive impacts for our industry.


At Travis Perkins, we are developing our plans to take a leading role in sustainability. Our future plans will include a commitment to net zero carbon and more focus on the sustainable products and services we can offer to our customers - and definitely more collaboration with our supply chain. We all have a part to play in making our industry and the built environment sustainable and Travis Perkins is committed to being part of the solution. BMJ


• This piece originally appeared on www.


buildersamerchantsjournal.net


them to. In the meantime, we are also investigating putting solar panels on the roof of our building in Tewkesbury so that we can add electricity back into the grid.


Last year we became the first carbon neutral business in our sector, something we are very proud of. This was done partly by recycling of products and packaging but also by off- setting the carbon footprint caused by our vehicles. We did this by encouraging a corporate social responsibility focus amongst our staff and working with communities. Last year we planted over 200 trees with a local school project, we have another tree planting project in South American, a fresh water project in Uganda and in India we are working with an organisation that is generating solar powered electricity. We all watch the Blue Planet and listen to David Attenborough. It doesn’t matter if you are a merchant, a householder, an installer a plumber or a manufacturer, everyone is concerned about this. We are very proud of our people and proud to be leading the way on packaging and product recyclability and being a carbon neutral business. We’re proving that going green needn’t be an additional cost to the business. BMJ


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