In 2021, East Midlands manufacturer TDP prevented 350 tonnes of plastic waste from reaching our rivers and oceans. The business, which makes outdoor furniture from 100% recycled plastic, is now sharing best practice and spreading the word about the value of the circular economy. It’s using a recent expedition to Antarctica to highlight the plight of Earth’s precious ecosystems and encourage others to find sustainable solutions.
TDP is a pioneer in sustainable production. Its Derbyshire factory uses plastic waste collected in the nation’s recycling bins to manufacture products ranging from chairs, tables and benches to beehive stands, bird boxes and hedgehog boxes. In 2021, TDP’s commitment to the circular economy redirected 8,029 cubic metres of plastic waste and prevented 2.1m tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.
The family business is passionate about putting plastic waste to good use and preventing it from damaging the environment. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), a staggering eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year. As highlighted by David Attenborough’s The Blue Planet TV series, the consequences for marine life are devastating.
The team at TDP was keen to see for themselves the impact human activity is having on marine ecosystems and in February joined 23 scientists on a fact-finding expedition to Antarctica. The vessel they travelled on is a designated weather station with specialist equipment on board to analyse sea water and measure levels of microplastics. The impact of these particles is felt across the world’s oceans, and they are broken down so small that they even make their way into the water cycle through evaporation.
The manufacture is now doubling efforts to reduce its environmental impact and commit to the triple bottom line of People, Profit and Planet. In 2022, it is forecast to bring 500 tonnes of plastic waste back into the value chain. It has taken the net zero pledge and has been working with sustainability consultancy Wylde Connections to develop its sustainability strategy and roadmap.
TDP’s Managing Director Rob Barlow said: “We have to find more sustainable ways of doing business. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved in recycling plastic and keeping it out of our oceans but our recent trip to Antarctica highlighted just how much more there is to be done to protect our precious planet.”
Rob is using the lessons learnt from the trip to raise awareness about environment issues. He is working with his supply chain to keep more materials within the value chain and engaging with key stakeholders about the importance of combating climate change.
On 11 March, TDP was invited to attend the Midlands Engine Young Peoples Green Growth Assembly in Nottingham. The event gave the manufacturer chance to share its sustainability journey with young environmentalists committed to shaping a greener future. The manufacturer will continue with its educational outreach programme in the coming months, sharing its experience and expertise to encourage more sustainable thinking.