October 07, 2019

Is enough being done to reduce the use of plastic packaging?

Last month, Bluepoint’s Managing Director Kathryn Aves, was interviewed by Inside_Networks magazine to get Bluepoint’s perspective on the question, “Is enough being done to reduce the use of plastic packaging within the structured cabling industry?”.

Over the past 12 months, the reduction of plastic packaging and organisations’ sustainability practices, have become a large part of the network infrastructure industry, with some manufacturers certainly leading the way with recycled and/or plastic free packaging.  As an installer, it’s key for us to be able to promote this, especially after having completed a carbon neutral cradle to grave project on an installation in 2018. The installation was declared carbon neutral and produced a reduction in the carbon emissions for the data cabling infrastructure on the customer’s site. As far as we’re aware, this project was the first of its kind in the UK – which is an indicator in itself that the network infrastructure industry still has a way to go in terms of its impact on the environment, now and into the future.

Are manufacturers doing enough? I do think that all are doing their bit, although my perception is that some manufacturers are definitely doing more than others. This could be more due to their method of marketing, rather than their actual effort, as I do believe every key manufacturer in the industry is working hard to reduce plastic packaging, but there are always challenges that go hand in hand with this, and the protection of the product in shipping from manufacturing to the end user also has to be of paramount importance. As a business, we make every effort to understand what our supply chain partners’ sustainability practices are – so we can communicate this with, and educate, our end users.

Whilst currently we observe that buying decisions tend to be weighted in favour of functionality, quality or price, over the sustainability efforts of the companies that are manufacturing and distributing the products, we do anticipate this changing in the near future. In 2019, the use of plastics, especially in product packaging, has garnered a lot of media attention, and as more industries and organisations get on board, we anticipate a stronger buyers focus on products whose manufacturers have incorporated a strong sustainability culture into their organisation.

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