With the proliferation of new technologies, the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) often show up in the news, lauded for their rapid industrialization but chastised for the negative environmental impact their growth causes. While it’s hard to balance the two competing goals and dodge the double edged sword, a few of these emerging markets, and even some more established manufacturing hubs, are beginning to combine their industrial progress with environmental best practices.
Heather Caliendo, in her recent Plastics Today article, “Emerging markets look to recycle PET locally” illustrates this trend with an interesting case study:
In many Eastern European countries, PET recycling projects are just starting to take off. While several of these industrializing nations were originally focused on growing their infrastructure and economy above other concerns (like the environment), countries like Uzbekistan are starting to recognize the potential of secondary materials or products formally categorized as waste.
Rather than pitching roll cores and dumping polyethylene flakes, their manufacturing hubs are now working towards increasing efficiency and sustainability by recycling secondary raw materials rather than inputting new raw materials into the system. And when it's necessary to utilize primary raw materials, Uzbekistan is reducing imports to foster local production and “maintain and increase the growth of the national economy." With a focus on flexibility and localization, Uzbekistan is looking to drive modular manufacturing in the near future.
Similar to developing countries like Uzbekistan, we too are looking to decrease our environmental impact while also optimizing our manufacturing efforts – and do so by examining supply chains for each project to identify a variety of strategies to control costs, streamline workflows, and increase sustainability.
This is precisely what we did when we redesigned workflows for Kaz’s Bruan ear thermometers by onshoring their supply chain to keep the entire product lifecycle within the United States and reduce environmental impact by recycling and reusing secondary raw material.
What about you? What are some ways your business or industry is recycling secondary raw material or reducing their carbon footprint by localizing manufacturing operations?