VMI Bans Single-use Plastic

VMI has taken great strides to reduce its impact on the environment and continues to do so, going forward, wherever and whenever possible with a new initiative to ban single-use plastic.

Ealing Council praised VMI’s environmental efforts by awarding VMI with an environmental award in October 2016 to recognise its effort in saving energy in a novel IT initiative – something which VMI has been keen to continue.

“I have always been bothered by our reliance on single use plastic”, said VMI’s Managing Director, Barry Bassett, “so we started looking for alternatives and we didn’t have to look far.”

No More Plastic to seal cables

Until recently, all small cables were sealed in plastic sheathing, so that clients knew that cables were working and had been tested and then again on their return, so we would also have a visible cue that cables needn’t be tested. 

Instead, VMI now uses paper adhesive labels to seal cables with, so that we would have a visible indication of whether cables required testing or not.  We were keen to ensure that these were printed on recycled paper for minimum environmental impact.

Biodegradable plastic to seal filters

Just with the cable initiative, we also found a supplier to manufacture Oxo-biodegradable plastic to sheath our filters into.

Whilst a recycle logo can reassure people, what is lesser known however is that even recycled material put into landfill will degrade, however in the absence of oxygen, the bi-product is methane rather than carbon dioxide, which is 21 x worse as a greenhouse gas.  As a result, we print onto the plastic that these should be disposed of with the compost waste, so that they can bio-degrade with the least impact on our environment.

Click here to see a graphical account of how on the plastic material degrades.

I have always been bothered by our reliance on single use plastic, so we started looking for alternatives and we didn’t have to look far.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Of course we also only use recycled paper throughout the group, recycle batteries when they are retired from service and send them back to the Manufacturer for recycling; Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and other harmful waste are strictly taken to Council recycling points for correct recycling.

Eco Building Design

Our building in W3 was designed with reducing VMI’s impact on the environment back in 2012.

The entire building is installed throughout with cool LED lights, which offer a better quality of light, are less tiring to staff, as well as reducing electricity and cooling.  These were not readily available in 2012, so we imported all lighting fixtures directly from China.

The floors of the warehouse are installed with Ecotiles, which are made from recycled tetrapack containers which also helps to keep the building warm.

Less Deliveries means lower carbon waste and cost savings are passed on

Another initiative that we are rightly proud of concerns reducing our fuel useage for our vehicle fleet.  By offering free transport to clients for non-timed deliveries, increases the number of drops per van trip and thus reduces trips saving fuel and emissions.  This strategy has led to a measurable saving in fuel useage since inception.

Water Coolers are so Passé

VMI also discarded the use of water coolers in 2017, which increase fuel use (for deliveries), plastic production (for the bottles) and electricity consumption (for cooling the water).  Instead, we have installed water machines which supply filtered, ground-cooled water straight from the water main for staff and clients to drink.  Very sensible.

VMI has also eradicated towel waste by installing Dyson Blade hand driers in both toilets and encourages its staff to use public transport and sponsors staff to buy bicycles by instigating the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme.  At VMI today, at least 3 members of staff ride to work by bicycle as does Barry Bassett, VMI’s Managing Director.

…and electric cars are cool!

VMI’s media rental arm, VMEDIA, offers a unique delivery service by using an Eco-friendly electric powered BMW.  As a low-carbon service, the vehicle incurs no congestion charge and this saving is passed on to customers by offering a complementary free local and national delivery service * or with a subsidised fixed deliver/collection service, which is equivalent to the cost of a bike courier. 

Besides which, it is really fast and looks cool as well!

Little Changes can make a big difference

We are firm advocates of the idea that a lot of little changes can make a big difference, so by encouraging our Managers to work from home, reduces journeys and reducing our van deliveries achieves the same.  Reducing power, reduces cooling needs and by recycling and reducing our consumables also achieves the same aim as well.

We have only one planet, so let’s work together to maximise the enjoyment for all.

Barry Bassett
Managing Director, VMI

VMI Environmental policy statement

VMI also takes its environmental impact very seriously. The Board of Directors determines the overall environmental policy for VMI paying due regard to the protection of the environment, the effective and efficient use of energy and raw materials, and the minimisation of waste.

The aim of the policy is not simply legislative compliance, we wish to enhance our corporate social responsibility by supporting the development of best practice and innovative solutions to deliver sustainable growth whilst continually improving environmental standards.

VMI commits to:

  • The education and training of employees in environmental issues and the environmental effects of their activities.
  • To continually improve on environmental performance and review this annually.
  • VMI only uses recycled paper and recycles all paper and cardboard waste that it produces. Faxes are now received and filed electronically avoiding unnecessary printing them – likewise with electronic mail.
  • Promoting the use of sustainable transport amongst its staff. Included in this is the provision for home-working which reduces commuting journeys which is supported by at least 3 members of staff on a regular basis including VMI’s Managing Director.
  • VMI also encourages its staff to use bicycles to commute and supports the bicycle to work scheme.- at least 3 members of the team frequently ride to work.
  • VMI promotes the merits of tape-less technology to avoid stock waste.
  • The minimising of unnecessary journeys of delivery vehicles through efficient planning and scheduling and have reduced transit charges to clients for non-timed deliveries to encourage enable multiple drops to be possible on round trips.
  • VMI also promote to West-End clients a subsidised delivery service providing they book their deliveries and collections in advance, thus enabling VMI to efficiently schedule multiple trips to W1 and avoid unnecessary duplicitous journeys.
  • Where possible, VMI try to sub-hire equipment from local companies to VMI to minimise on road delivery miles.
  • Minimising on wasteful packaging, such as the unnecessary bagging of cables, which though they improve presentation, they actually serve no practical purpose.
  • VMI is also discarding the use of water coolers, which increase fuel use (for deliveries), plastic production (for the bottles) and electricity consumption (for keeping the water cool). Instead, it is installing water fountains that supply ground-cooled water straight out of the water main for staff and clients to drink.
  • Efficient use of water and energy by installing water meters to monitor and regulate water usage and avoid costly air-conditioning in the offices where possible.
  • The use of biodegradable chemicals where possible.
  • Minimising use of solvents and lead-based paints,
  • In building projects, VMI require that builders only use timber from sustainable (managed) forests.
  • Minimising noise disturbance to neighbours.
  • The phasing out of CFCs and ozone-depleting substances. VMI use very few chemicals but are sensitive to the environmental damage of using them and so restrict their use. VMI no longer buys canned air but instead uses a compressor to deliver pressurised air to the work benches.
  • Ideally, VMI would choose to work with clients and suppliers to achieve the common aim.

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