Sustainability – The Ongoing Journey

Considering that the vast majority of people are in agreement that we should be aiming for a more sustainable future, it’s amazing how much controversy this burning issue has already created. For a start, the one thing that becomes obvious when you begin to engage in discussions about green issues is that everyone has their own ideas about what it is actually meant by sustainability. Put in its simplest terms, the most common definition used (Bruntland) is sustainability means meeting the needs of today without compromising future generations.  The wider implications for which now extend into the sphere of ecological, social and economic responsibility, and we can all play our part.
Last year, Altro hosted an energy awareness week and participation was invited form one of our local schools.  One of the things that struck the organising team was how much more environmentally aware today’s children are than those of previous generations, and how much we can learn from them.
We can all do our bit and whilst individually we may feel our efforts are insignificant, collectively we really can start to make a difference.  We can all switch to low energy light bulbs and turn lights off when the room is not in use. We can all turn equipment off rather than leaving it in standby mode and turn the thermostat down by a couple of degrees. Recycling our rubbish is also becoming ever easier.
As a manufacturer Altro is constantly looking at ways to reduce its environmental impact in both its production processes and the way we do things as an organisation, never forgetting that the only way we can protect tomorrow is by changing the way we do things today.  We have underlined our commitment to sustainability and continued innovation with the launch of our 6 Steps to Sustainability programme. The 6 Steps encompasses all areas of sustainability including product development, energy saving, recycling, waste reduction, carbon footprint and corporate social responsibility.
Altro is leading the way in safety flooring recycling.  It is often perceived that aggregates added during the manufacturing process to give safety flooring its non-slip properties make it difficult or even impossible to recycle. At Altro we believe it can be done and lead the way in developing a process to allow us to do this. .  All of our safety flooring is 100% recyclable and contains post consumer recyclate as an integral raw material.  We are investing in the necessary technology and have begun collecting waste material, ready for recycling. The material we recycle will be used in the manufacture of new safety flooring.
Our safety flooring packaging is also fully recyclable and we have been engaged in energy and water saving projects for many years.  Last year the company saved over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and water consumption has been reduced by 99% in the past 10 years.  We are also taking part in pioneering initiatives which will enable us to recycle production and site waste and even used flooring, thus avoiding landfill.
Sustainable construction aims to use methods and materials that protect our resources and that will not compromise the health of the environment, for those using the building or future generations. Sustainable buildings should also use less virgin material and less energy, cause less pollution and less waste.
We are extremely proud that Altro Suprema is the very first, and so far the industry’s only safety flooring on the market to have achieved a BREEAM A rating – which means that it has been independently assessed by the BRE and achieved the highest award for it’s environmental credentials. The use of products achieving an A rating is becoming an increasingly important consideration in building design, and public funding is becoming more dependant on the finished building achieving an “Excellent” rating.
All of these initiatives are steps in our ongoing commitment to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. The safety flooring market is well established in the UK and this gives us all a great opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable approach to construction, for the benefit of future generations.