Arco reduces plastic packaging consumption and carbon emissions

Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, has successfully reduced its carbon emissions and plastic use by adopting a more ‘circular’ approach to the packaging used in the distribution of its products.

Arco colleagues involved in the project to implement new mailing bag and void fill solutions at the National Distribution Centre with one of the new bags.

As part of its recently launched sustainability strategy – A Safe Tomorrow – Arco has committed to reducing packaging waste in its own operations and throughout its supply chain.

The introduction of new mailing bags, made from 80% recycled polythene, which in turn is widely recyclable in the UK, has secured a 35% reduction in the amount of plastic used across its operations. Their production has also been relocated from China to Europe, resulting in an estimated carbon emission saving of 38%.

Arco uses approximately 400,000 mailing bags per year and, as part of its wider efforts to minimise climate change impacts and optimise efficiency, the company is analysing how it can apply more circular thinking within its products and, in turn, how this supports customers’ sustainability aims.

Arco has also changed to a new ‘void fill solution’, to improve the sustainability of packaging which protects products in transit. The new alternative provides a further 13% reduction in plastic usage and carbon emissions and results in 17% less waste. Arco’s overarching sustainability aim is to be carbon net zero by 2045.

Jim Harbidge, Head of Sustainability at Arco, said: “The introduction of these changes is a small, but important step that we have taken in support of our sustainability aims and is part of a planned approach to ensure we are carbon net-zero by 2045.

“We would like to thank our packaging supplier, Hazel 4D, for their advice and support in identifying and implementing these changes.

“As a responsible choice of safety partner, we are committed to taking action to reduce climate-related impacts and are focussed on wider sustainability opportunities that we can bring forward, including how we support our local communities.”

Arco’s new packaging has been developed in collaboration with Leeds-based packaging supplier Hazel 4D. The fifth-generation family business has worked with the packaging consultancy for several years, including on a previous project that reduced its plastic usage in pallet wrapping by 55%.

Sam Smaldon, Packaging Consultant at Hazel 4D, commented: “When we got the opportunity to work on the mailbag project with Arco we jumped at the chance.

“At Hazel, sustainability is a critical consideration for us every day and we’re recognised for this by EcoVadis. We believe one of our key roles is taking our knowledge and expertise to our customers, helping them to realise real benefits.

“The outcome of the project has not only been a sizeable reduction in plastic consumption, but considerable cost savings and a cut in carbon emissions.

“Arco are a great partner as they are always looking for new opportunities to make sustainable improvements. We also worked together on the void fill project, which saw further reductions and savings.

“These projects are not only helping the environment, but they’re also improving operator efficiency, reducing costs and supporting the values of the business.”

Principles of sustainable development have long been embedded in the way Arco does business.

Arco’s Sustainability Action Team has committed to ensuring the business behaves responsibly in all areas, investing significant time and resources to identify ways to expand its recycling efforts and reduce the usage of plastics and packaging.