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Eco Products Explained

Making an ECO friendly choice for your promotional products is a good way to help preserve our environment and keep down your carbon footprint.

Recycled

Recycling helps conserve raw materials and protects natural habitats for the future. Material that would otherwise be destined for landfill is collected, separated and remanufactured into a range of environmentally friendly products reducing the need to extract new raw materials from the environment. The following are some examples of recycled materials:

Paper - In total the UK population uses 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard annually. It takes 24 trees to make 1 ton of newspapers and the average person in the UK gets through 38kg per year each. It requires 70% less energy to recycle paper and produces 73% less air pollution than manufacturing it from raw materials. Although the pulping process will eventually have a detrimental effect on the fibres, cardboard can be recycled four or five times.

Tetra Pak Cartons - Approximately 105 billion of these containers are manufactured each year worldwide. They contain aluminium and polyethylene that can be reclaimed and processed into a new secondary material called ECOALLENE which has excellent moulding properties and is a good alternative to virgin plastics in many applications.

Plastic - Since the 1950’s the annual worldwide consumption of plastic has risen from 5million tonnes to nearly 100 million tonnes today. In the UK nearly half of all goods are packaged using plastics and it accounts for 35% of the total UK plastics consumption. The main types of recycled plastic are clear and opaque both of which are chopped into flakes, formed into pellets and then melted down to make new products.

P.E.T. (polyethylene terephthalate) - This is made from a mixture of recycled plastic bottles and polyester in different proportions. A recycling symbol is displayed next to each product giving the percentage of P.E.T. used in each range. Recycled P.E.T. can be used to make a wide variety of different products including fibre for polyester carpets, fabric for tee shirts, sports shoes and also lanyards.

Non-woven polypropylene - This is used to make re-usable, lightweight and sturdy bags as used in supermarkets to replace the old single use bags thus reducing the impact on the environment. At the end of its useful life this material can be successfully recycled.

Biodegradable

Biodegradable materials break down easily through natural decomposition and cause no long term harm to the environment.
The following is just one example of biodegradable material:

Maize - Mater-Bi® is a bio-plastic derived from agricultural sources which reduces the consumption of energy and greenhouse gas emissions. It will also return to the earth as part of the natural cycle decomposing without releasing pollutants.

Sustainable

Materials from sustainable sources cause little or no damage to the environment and are easily replenished by natural means. The following are some examples of sustainable materials:

Natural Products - Some ECO products are made from entirely natural products such as the following:

Wood is obtained from managed forests where the trees are thinned out to allow new growth thus creating a sustainable supply for the future, it is also completely biodegradable.

Algae, which can be harmful to pond life, can be harvested and recycled to make a range of products.

Cotton is made from the soft fibre growing around the seeds of the cotton plant which is spun into yarn or thread before being made into a breathable textile. The fibre is so rich in cellulose, a natural polymer, that less than ten per cent of the weight is lost during processing.

Canvas is a heavy duty fabric woven from cotton which is traditionally used in the manufacture of tents and sails and anything else that requires sturdiness and durability.

Jute is one of the strongest natural plant fibres available due to its composition of cellulose and lignin. It is 100% biodegradable and recyclable. There are some limitations to printing on its surface but water-based screen inks can be used.

Juco is a fabric produced from a blend of jute and cotton resulting in a smoother finish.

Energy Saving

Products which are described as energy saving are powered by alternative energy supplies such as solar power, water power, wind-up recharging or clockwork.

Organic

Materials derived from agricultural products which have been certified as having been cultivated without the use of artificial chemicals are regarded as organic and have a reduced impact on global eco-systems.