Inspiration is free, sustainability the goal
At Alligator Plastics, we review opportunities to make our own business operations more sustainable, every day. However, real success can be achieved when the whole chain is involved. We are therefore happy to discuss the possibilities of generating more sustainable impact with your product(s). How? We are happy to inspire you with some examples on this page.About our sustainable way
In the quest for sustainability, the consumption of materials, and thus indirectly raw materials, is an important theme. With regard to the consumption of material, we, as an injection molding company, focus on the loss of raw or rest material in the process. An example to decrease or even eliminate the rest material (branch) is the use of a hotrunner in the mold. This saves the material of the ‘branch’ and allows us to make more products from the same amount of raw material. If we are unable to use a hot-runner, we investigate alternative for possibilities; for example to regrind the branch and mix it with the virgin raw material. We are able to recycle within our own factory and also use less raw materials if we can use the regrind opportunity. In addition, we like to produce your products in as few separate production runs as possible per year, in order to save the fixed start-up losses and material in the screw (waste). In addition to the use of a hotrunner and the use of regrind, ecological stock management also ensures sustainable use of materials. Naturally, we also involve toolmakers and material suppliers in the search for a more sustainable production process.
One of the most discussed elements is the use of ‘second-hand’ materials, or so-called recyclates. The variety of these recylced materials are developing rapidly and the applications for your products are becoming more and more realistic. Alligator Plastics performs experiments with recycled material to seek for (new) opportunities. These experiments are performed in cooperation with the raw material suppliers and/or our customers. Depending on the application and requirements we see a positive trend in the possibilities. This goes hand in hand with the development of the waste streams that are getting more and more attention. Would you be interested in looking at these possibilities? We invite you to join us in this interesting conversation.
Our engineers are always ready to help you with the product design and especially the recyclability of the whole product(ion). Even though Alligator Plastics usually produces a semi-finished product for its customers, we think ahead how our parts can be easily disassembled. In the design for disassembly principle products are designed in such a way that materials can be easily separated after their life cycle and each part can be included in its own waste stream for reuse. Our technical team will be happy to help you on your way to a sustainable design in an informal session.
As a material, plastic is one of the most sustainable options for manufacturing products, because it can change shape at “low” temperatures. Especially in comparison with, for example, steel or aluminum, the application of plastics is a good starting point. However, it is inevitable that we need energy for the production process. At Alligator Plastics we manufacture the products with 100% green generated electricity. In addition, we intensively search for ways to generate, collect and reuse energy and reduce consumption. For example we insulate the cylinders of our machines. To prevent energy leakage through heat loss. Producing long production runs is often an improvement in this area as well, since this would provide the opportunity to reduce the total energy consumption per 100 products compared to multiple smaller runs. The start-up phase requires quite some energy which can be decreased with longer runs.
Transport & packaging
An important element in overall sustainability is the method of packaging, reusing packaging, limiting transport movements and reducing transport weight. Alligator Plastics works closely together with a packaging supplier to use packaging more efficiently, without affecting the recyclability. In some examples we no longer work with disposable packaging but with re-usable options. We also keep track of the number of products per box, the number of boxes per pallet and the number of deliveries to our customers. The other way around we are also keen on the way of packaging and the number of deliveries from our suppliers towards us. Our ambition in both ways is to transport as little air as possible and thus save on transport movements. Let’s challenge each other and see how we can make improvements together. Naturally, business economics and risk management will be part of the discussion. Did you know that Alligator Plastics has the possibility to assemble (your products) in house? This also contributes to less transport movements because of the one-stop-shop principle.