How Solarglide is helping the marine industry to fight climate change

Founder and CEO Paul Pringle outlines the changes his company is making to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing and transporting its window treatment products

How Solarglide is helping the marine industry to fight climate change

Solarglide

Solarglide's team is all involved in its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint

Protecting the oceans and improving environmental sustainability is a key goal for almost every company in the cruise and ferry industries, and many are modifying their operational processes to ensure they can play their part in helping to fight climate change.

Solarglide, which has a long history of suppling window treatment solutions to the maritime industry, is committed to helping the industry achieve this aim and remain successful long into the future. To help us accomplish this, we applied for the ISO 14000:2015 Environmental Management standard at the start of 2020. While doing this, we also realised we could make our business more environmentally friendly by making immediate changes to our packaging process.

Historically our packaging had a very high proportion of plastic, which can take up to 500 years to decompose and often ends up in landfill sites or in our oceans. Although we already used a lot of recycled and recyclable materials in our packaging, we knew it could still end up in landfill if it was not processed correctly. Consequently, our team made a collective decision to make all packaging for our marine products 100 per cent biodegradable.

Since making this decision, our team has proactively sourced environmentally friendly packaging products and so far, we have replaced our branded polythene tape with strong paper tape, switched to fully biodegradable bubble wrap and component bags, and introduced paper pillow rolls filled with air to cushion the contents of packages. In addition, all products are secured in recycled and biodegradable cardboard boxes, while wooden crates are used for larger orders. Our products are transported internationally, often in damp or wet conditions, so we support boxes and crates with strong cardboard edge protectors and a plant-based shrink-wrap made from sustainable sugar cane. This new packaging will be fully implemented in December 2020.

We are now in the process of evaluating how we can improve the sustainability of our products, aiming to replace all non-recyclable parts with more environmentally friendly alternatives. We also aim to attain Cradle to Cradle certification in 2021. This will involve examining the environmental footprint of each of our products from raw materials to manufacture and the end of their lifecycles. Like with our packaging, we want to have peace of mind that when our products reach the end of their life, they can be recycled or, even better, biodegrade over time.

Paul Pringle is the founder and managing director of Solarglide

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By Paul Pringle
27 October 2020

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