Green Business Network
Amble Electrical is a distributor of quality branded electrical equipment, which employs 20 people at its Luton site. Expanding into the public sector marketplace prompted the company to look at achieving ISO 14001 as this is now becoming a requirement before contracts are awarded. The company joined the Business Environmental Training Initiative Plus (BETI+) with Chris Edwards, health and safety and quality manager, undergoing CIWM Waste Awareness Certificate training.
This resulted in Chris going back on-site and starting to look at reducing the waste the company generated. Amble has gone from a recycling rate of zero to 60% in the space of just eight months. Plastic cups, milk bottles, paper, and cardboard are now all separated and sent for recycling.
Even more effectively, Chris started to look at how the company could eliminate and re-use packaging. Redundant plastic crates from a supermarket are now used to deliver goods to customers, who then return them for re-use. Pallets and cardboard are also re-used.
“If someone loaded a six-chamber gun with one bullet and fired it at you, would you duck? There’s quite a small chance that you’d get hit, but you’d duck anyway. That’s the way I look at climate change. Besides, tackling environmental issues usually results in financial savings and better working practices, so it’s a win-win situation.”
Managing director Robert Hinkley then continued on to successfully complete the stringent CIEH Level 3 Certificate in Environmental Management, which has also had a significant impact not just on how Amble conducts its business, but also on advising others about their responsibilities. Robert said, “The course exceeded my expectations – it really captured my imagination. I now feel that I have the ability to evaluate environmental aspects and impacts as a matter of course.” As a result of legal knowledge gained from the course, Robert noticed that a nearby diesel storage unit wasn’t properly bunded, which could potentially cause contamination if left. He notified the landlords and the tank is now being dealt with.
Other changes brought about include more people cycling to work, vehicles not being washed on site – the company now uses a specialist car wash to avoid potential contamination of surface water drains - and company vehicles being selected for their low carbon emissions and fuel economy.
In addition, management and staff have been involved in all initiatives and have had much of what Robert learnt on the course cascaded to them. While ISO 14001 registration may still be a way off for Amble, the company has reduced its environmental impacts in terms of waste elimination and reduction, and increasing the awareness how its activities affect the environment.