For this month’s blog I wanted to talk “all things green” with you and illustrate what actions AF undertake as a company in order to be sustainable. I will also be talking about how sustainability is evident through our manufacturing processes and how this message is communicated through to our customers.
It’s an absolute given that AF’s intention on environmental awareness is to prevent pollution through the implementation of an Environmental Management System, and to this end have been awarded the BSI registration standard ISO: 14001:2015 for environmental management system.
Now I’m sure that our revolutionary Sprayduster ZERO needs absolutely no introduction at all (there is green at the very core of this product), but did you know about the other eco-friendly contributions that AF makes as a responsible supplier in order to encourage sustainability and wage the war against climate change?
I caught up with European AF Brand Director Paul Hardy to explain a little further…….
Question 1) So Paul, product design and eco-implications must surely be at the very heart of the issue. How do you design products that don’t just look eco-friendly, they are eco-friendly?
Paul Hardy on Product design and Eco implications
When I think of AF products and our eco-friendly status, my first thought is always with the Sprayduster ZERO. The story started in around 2013 and the advent of the changing F-Gas legislation. As always, our research and development teams were way ahead of the game in the creation of the Sprayduster ZERO. As a “world first to market”, this product ticks the green boxes. I’m proud to say that the Sprayduster ZERO achieves an incredible GWP (Global Warming Potential) of just 1 compared to around 150 for an HFC134a sprayduster of comparative size. It is also odourless, non-flammable and has three power settings.
Following the success of our premium Sprayduster ZERO product we have recently launched a product extension within our UtilityAF range. The Sprayduster ZERO Basic comes complete with an economy price tag for a 300ml product with a standard power setting. It has all the additional ‘green’ benefits of our usual Zero product (HFC free and non-flammable). It is a real bonus to have two options available to promote our ‘ZERO’ range. The versions can be easily differentiated by the Core range in AF premium branding and the basic pared back packaging of the UtilityAF version.
We have continued our efforts as a sustainable supplier of office and specialist cleaning products. One of my most recent favourites has to be AF Smartwipes. This supersoft and strong wipe benefits from being washable encouraging less waste and impact upon the environment. Smartwipes are guaranteed to give a great finish and are packaged in neat little sachets. More recently we have launched a larger version called the Smartcloth ideal for use on larger screens, glass and even whiteboards. In addition to this, a large quantity of our tub wipes are paper based and fully recyclable.
Our onsite technical support team are always working hard to review chemicals and concentrates used in our cleaning products with the question in mind, could this be greener?
Question 2) Tell me about Zero waste to landfill Paul and how it impacts AF
Paul Hardy on Zero waste to landfill – What’s that all about?
In 2017 we was awarded with the Zero waste to landfill certification from Valpak Ltd for our commitment to recycling at our Ashby Park head office site.
All office waste is recyclable with colour coded office paper bins and general waste stations. Recycling goes across the board, especially in our factory with specialist recycling conditions for chemical based products and cardboard packaging. Encouraging staff to ‘think green’ has seen us really make a difference and it is great to hold this certification.
Question 3) Does the green theme at AF extend to the offices?
Paul Hardy on How green is the AF office?
As a company we take “being-green” pretty seriously. For example, it’s not very often you will see staff using their cars at lunchtime. We have regular walkers who make the journey by foot to the local supermarket rather than choosing their car.
Our printing equipment in the office is an all-in-one variety. Our multi-function printer also incorporates a scanner so we not only use less energy, we also save on space too. It goes without saying that all of our PCs are switched off each day. Does anyone even use standby mode now?
You don’t have to look far as you walk through the offices to see that we love our plants. They look good and increase air flow around the office, absorbing indoor pollution.
Our green approach also extends to the staff comfort facilities with our newly installed hand driers. We no longer use paper towels and prefer instead use a fast drying motion censored hand drying facility saving on power requirements.
Just recently one of members in Marketing started bringing in a container to recycle tea bags and fruit peelings for a compost heap at home. That’s what you call going the extra mile!
As I write this today, I can see brand new energy efficient LED lighting being extended to all offices throughout the building. I’ve also heard that that there may be some solar panels on the way? The LED lighting in my office has definitely made a marked difference; it’s super bright and highlights fingerprints and smears lurking on my screen. Note to self: Don’t forget to clean screen!
Question 4) Does the eco-friendly theme extend out into the community?
Paul Hardy on AF in the community
I mentioned earlier AF’s love of office plants, well we are also proud supporters of The National Forest in Leicestershire. One area that we participate in annually is the “Free Tree Scheme” to encourage urban planting and make our local area a green one. In 2017 we were part of the project to give away 16,220 trees.
Question 5) What does the future hold?
Paul Hardy on The future environment for AF
As you have read, our ‘go green’ ethos does not simply stop at product design and is rather more an integral part of our commitment to sustainability. AF will always endeavour to remain a responsible supplier in line with our environmental policy. Purchase from AF with confidence and know that you have made the choice to buy from a responsible, eco-aware manufacturer. Watch this space for more eco-friendly AF products in the future…