Jon Chamberlain, Managing Director at Marshall-Tufflex, thinks it’s good to talk. Here, he explains why we should be talking about cable management products made from recycled materials, and why they are a game changer when it comes to reducing environmental impact.
Nobody needs to be told the planet is in trouble. The majority of us are more mindful of this in our everyday lives, looking at the positive steps we can take to be just that little bit more environmentally friendly. The same should be said when it comes to approaching our work – particularly when working in construction. Our sector is a major contributor to both carbon emissions and waste – but there are seemingly small changes that really can make a big difference.
Be aware – the products are there
Electrical wholesalers are in an ideal position to highlight commonly purchased products where a more sustainable choice can be made. Cable management systems are one such example because products are available that have been manufactured using recycled content.
At Marshall-Tufflex, we have been using reclaimed PVC-U from windows to help manufacture our products for over 25 years. In fact, in 2020, we’re incredibly proud that this figure was an average of 74% across our PVC-U product range – and that our white conduit and white mini and maxi trunking lengths were manufactured using 100% recycled material. Our aim is to reach 80% recycled content across all of our PVC-U manufactured portfolio by the end of this year.
Why all the fuss?
Well to put it into context – what we’re doing right now at Marshall-Tufflex is saving the equivalent in weight of 300 double decker buses going to landfill each year. This really is a huge achievement. The construction sector as a whole is the biggest contributor to UK waste – creating 120 million tonnes per year. So, the more we can avoid sending to landfill – the better.
The issue of waste is also closely linked to carbon emissions, which is a complex issue. For construction projects, the two key areas are embodied carbon (the amount of CO2 arising from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance and disposal of building materials) and operational carbon (the on-going emissions associated with the day-to-day use of the building).
In the world of cable management products, it’s embodied carbon where we can make a positive difference. Put simply, recycling and reusing plastic requires far less energy (and therefore less embodied carbon) than primary plastic production. This is a real advantage for the end client who wants to lower the environmental impact of their building.
Champion the sustainable option
Let’s face it, in every facet of the construction sector – we’re all risk adverse. Sticking with what you know, and trust is something we’re all guilty of, but it’s important to highlight when a simple change can bring a wealth of benefits.
This is where we need electrical wholesalers to fly the flag. Firstly, to help highlight that the products are there. Secondly, we know that hesitations around product quality and potentially higher product costs have meant some electricians are reluctant to make the switch to products made from recycled content.
However, the reality is that because our recycled material is waste PVC-U from windows – it is therefore already high quality, robust and designed to withstand external elements. So actually, the quality of the product is improved. Of course, as with any product it’s important to choose solutions from a reputable manufacturer. Thanks to our long heritage in extruding PVC and injection moulding techniques, we offer superior products with recycled content that retain their high quality and outstanding finish. Finally, the cost of cable management products made with recycled content is usually in line with those that are made without – meaning it is a simple and cost neutral switch.
Our sustainability commitment
At Marshall-Tufflex we truly believe we can make a difference. That’s why we continue to maximise the recycled content of our products to lower carbon emissions and divert waste from landfill. We believe that there should be a requirement on specifications for PVC-U systems to be manufactured from a minimum of 50% recycled material. Eventually, by 2028 we’d like PVC-U cable management products manufactured from recycled content to be the accepted industry norm and main contractors driving this through the supply chain.
But we’re not there yet and we need help getting there. We want to work side by side with wholesalers ensuring counter teams are equipped with the knowledge that can support customers to make an informed decision. By switching to a cable management product made with recycled content – and one that doesn’t impact quality or cost – we can lower environmental impact through our day-to- day product choices.
So, whether it’s selecting conduits, perimeter trunking, channels, cable trays or accessories, wholesalers can help electricians to make a truly informed choice and one that ultimately helps the planet.
For more information on Marshall-Tufflex’s sustainability and 2028 vision, click here