SFS Leeds and Welwyn Garden City partner with Reconomy Group company ACM Environmental to design out waste from its business

SFS’s Construction Division is the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of carbon and stainless-steel fastening solutions for roofing, cladding, and façade systems. As part of sustainability initiatives, Leeds and Welwyn Garden City sought out the expertise of national full-service waste and recycling operator, ACM Environmental, a Reconomy Group company.

Since 2017, all waste services at SFS Group Fastening Technology Ltd have been managed by ACM. With zero waste to landfill the standard, SFS was confident in ACM’s ability to help achieve its wider sustainability ambitions. Eager to develop further sustainable initiatives, and turn waste into resources, it was necessary for SFS to adopt alternatives to its packaging.

The standard SFS procedure for protective packaging was to use bubble wrap to safely deliver its materials to customers. There was a desire to move to a more sustainable alternative material to reduce the impact on the environment due to its inability to be broken down by natural organisms. In addition to its environmental effects, it also has a high expenditure, with the sites spending £6,000 per annum to source. ACM explored alternatives to find an innovative solution that would significantly increase recycling and reuse opportunities.

ACM analysed and identified an approach that would offer a fully closed loop solution. By utilising the cardboard skips that SFS had on site, and which were managed by ACM as part of the overall waste management partnership, the cardboard waste could instead be used as a packaging alternative, that was also fully recyclable to the customer.

Thanks to its extensive supply chain, ACM was able to source the best machine both operationally and commercially to shred the cardboard, ready for SFS to then use for its packaging. Communication was critical during this period, as there was a vast offering of different machines at different sizes, with different operational capabilities. It was also vital that the material could withstand all different product weights, and with the priority to ensure all products arrive to customers safely. Using its account management expertise, ACM supported with the identification of, and setup of the Profipak 425 cardboard corrugator over a two-week trial period.

After the successful trial, SFS introduced the cardboard corrugator from March 2022. Since the roll out, it has eradicated the expenditure on bubble wrap within the business. SFS have only ordered one cardboard exchange, which means they have shredded around 1.5 tonnes of cardboard in two months. Additionally, they have seen a reduction in the number of cardboard skips being used on site, which has then reduced the customer carbon impact with less exchanges taking place on site.

Luke Wood, QES Manager at SFS Group Fastening Technology Ltd said: “We are incredibly proud of how far we’ve been able to develop our sustainability initiatives through our partnership with ACM over the years. Working together we were able to find the best and most efficient approach to offer a fully closed-loop solution. We are thrilled that as a result we have managed to shred 1.5 tonnes of cardboard in just two months, and completely eradicated the expenditure on bubble wrap within the business. SFS remain committed to delivering a sustainable workplace and are excited to continue our long-term collaboration with ACM.”

James Henshaw, Regional Account Manager at ACM Environmental commented: “Over the last 5 years ACM and SFS have built an amazing partnership and it’s great to see them embrace the principles of managing waste more sustainably. Our client is incredibly committed to delivering a more sustainable workplace and by working together we have been able to identify opportunities that not only reduce waste but also remove cost from their supply chain, this is already having a positive impact on SFS and we look forward to continuing our working relationship with them.”