Staff at local manufacturer of uninterruptible power supplies Riello UPS are showing a lot of bottle in the fight to cut plastic waste.
The Wrexham-based business, which supplies award-winning standby power products to data centres, public sector organisations and companies across the UK, has issued every member of its 70-plus team with reusable stainless steel drinks bottles as part of its drive to eliminate single-use plastics.
The company has also changed its milk supplier to Merseyside start-up Milk In A Box. Instead of standard plastic bottles or cartons, Riello UPS now receives fresh milk in a cardboard box lined with a Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) bag.
Once used, the cardboard is recycled while the LDPE bags generate energy from waste, meaning nothing ends up in landfill. Based on the current average consumption of 12 four-pint bottles of milk a week, each weighing 50 grams, the business believes it will save almost 600 bottles and 30 kg of plastic waste a year.
As well as slashing plastic use, the new method of milk storage also reduces milk waste. Milk stored in the specially installed chilled dispensers lasts for up to five days once opened and 11 days unopened, which is a 40% increase on the lifespan of a standard plastic container kept in the fridge.
“Plastic waste… causes huge harm to the environment”
Leo Craig, Managing Director of Riello UPS, commented: “The amount of plastic waste we all generate causes huge harm to the environment. A single plastic bottle can take up to 450 years to fully decompose.
“We all share the responsibility to do something about this issue and to safeguard our planet for future generations.
“The steps we’ve taken with our milk supplier and eliminating single-use drinks bottles are relatively small changes in our day-to-day lives, but they have the potential to add up and make a big difference, especially if other organisations follow suit.”
The issuing of reusable drinks bottles and moving milk suppliers follow on from several other green initiatives introduced by Riello UPS in recent months to cut plastic use throughout the business.
“Replacing all disposable plastic cups at its Wrexham Industrial Estate HQ”
These include replacing all disposable plastic cups at its Wrexham Industrial Estate HQ with ceramic containers, swapping plastic water bottles for visitors with recyclable glass versions, and ditching plastic stirrers for an organic bamboo alternative.
All plastic pouches used in coffee and tea dispensers are also disposed of in dedicated bins which are then recycled in bulk.
Leo Craig added: “Working in the energy sector we are well aware of the role we play in ensuring reliable power for a sustainable world. Our R&D teams work constantly to improve the efficiency of our products and we are at the forefront of smart grid-ready UPS and battery storage systems that help harness the power of renewable sources like wind and solar.
“While we were the first UPS manufacturer in Europe to rate our products by their efficiency using an Eco Energy Level that enables customers to make informed decisions based on the environmental impact of their choices.”
Cllr David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “I’d like to comment Riello UPS for this fantastic initiative. We all have to take our role in reducing our use of plastic and this shows how small steps can make a huge difference. I hope other firms in Wrexham are able to follow suit and help pave the way for a plastic free Wrexham.”
Riello UPS has also provided us with some tips for how to cope if there’s a power outage – we’re happy to pass on these tips as power cuts can happen anywhere across the county borough without notice and can have a major impact on the operation of a business and their bottom line. This is particularly the case during the winter when power problems are more likely.
- Keep a torch handy with fully-charged batteries. You can also buy battery-powered lights that plug into power sockets and automatically turn on when there’s a blackout
- Ensure you’ve got at least one phone that doesn’t run off the mains supply (i.e. a charged mobile or an old-style plug-in landline). Most modern, cordless models require electricity to operate.
- A battery-powered radio is handy so you can receive updates if the power cut lasts for several hours.
- Portable heaters can be used instead of central heating systems that don’t tend to work during a blackout. Many gas-fired heating systems need electrical pumps or control systems to operate.
- Try to keep car fuel tanks at least half-full. Petrol station pumps won’t work during a blackout.
- Ensure any essential medical equipment you rely on at home has its own standby power. It’s also recommended sign up to the Priority Services Register – this prioritises potentially vulnerable people who might need additional support during an outage.
- Protect any sensitive electrical devices, such as computers, by turning them off or using a surge protector plug to minimise the risk of damage when the electricity comes back on.
- Keep your fridge-freezer closed as much as possible, this will stop your food from going off. Frozen food should keep for around 8 hours without any power.
- If you’ve got advance warning of a planned power cut, boil some water and keep it handy in a flask. Also make sure you recharge your mobile phone.
- Save the number 105 in your mobile phone. That’s the number you should call to report a blackout to your local electricity network operators.
Many organisations will also have contingency and business continuity plans in place that include the provision of standby power sources such as UPS systems and generators to keep their essential equipment and IT systems up and running while the power’s off.
If you’ve got an uninterruptible power supply on site, it’s essential you have it serviced regularly and the batteries tested so you can be sure they’ll work properly when downtime strikes.
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