Melbec Sustainability Update: In-House Neutraliser

Since November last year we have been on a journey to reduce the waste associated with a key element of our testing process, our in-house neutraliser. We have created this blog post to detail how we have reduced our waste and moved one step closer to our net zero goals!

Here at Melbec we are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint and some day hope to be a net zero company. As such we are always running projects to see if there is anything about the way we operate that we can change to be closer to hitting our sustainability target.

One of the things that we identified was that we were using a lot of single use glassware for our in-house neutraliser. Although the glass is fully recyclable when taken away, we noticed that we could also reuse it if it was sterilised thoroughly. We asked the outsourced partner that manufactures our neutraliser if we could sterilise the glass bottles here and send them back to be filled again, unfortunately this wasn’t something that they were comfortable with. After many months of planning, testing, and validation, we found a way to produce and bottle our neutraliser at our facility in Haslingden, Rossendale.

Beginning November 2022, we started recycling and reusing the 30ml glass bottles that we use for our in-house neutraliser, this is roughly around 20,000 to date (June 2023) that have so far been recycled that would otherwise would have been thrown away. This has saved in transport emissions to take the bottles away once we were finished with them as well as the energy that would have been used to process the glass being broken down when recycled.

Since April, we have been manufacturing and making our own neutraliser for our routine cosmetics and personal care testing laboratory, we have so far made 17,000 bottles. All 17,000 bottles are from the “Recycled” stockpile and have again gone back into use/recycled for the next batch.

Aside from the obvious cost saving to us, this has also meant that the neutraliser hasn’t had to be couriered onto site. Due to the size and volume, this would usually have been shipped on a lorry, as a tail lift is also needed. Although this has resulted in a huge CO2 reduction on the delivery process alone, it has also reduced the plastic used in this process. The neutraliser would have come wrapped in plastic, in card boxes, in packs of 25, and again each pack plastic wrapped.

We have also been making our own in-house neutraliser for our biocides lab since February, this again is something that we used to buy in, in 450ml bottles. The result of this again means less CO2 emissions, reduced cardboard waste and no plastic or glass waste.  Everything made in house has been done by recycling these bottles, zero card and zero transport emissions. Since February, we have made a total of about 150 bottles in-house.

In short, the key environmental factors from bringing this in house are as follows,

  • Zero carbon emission from transport as this is now all in house, some small transport emissions will have come from ordering the ingredients to site.
  • Zero plastic and card used in the process now (aside from again, what the ingredients come in)
  • All materials used have been ordered in bulk, and in as large quantities as possible, to reduce delivery costs/carbon footprint and to reduce plastic waste by having one big tub, as opposed to many smaller ones.

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